CBS’s new drama Wisdom of the Crowd took on the controversial topics of racism, illegal immigration and violent protests in Sunday, October 22’s episode, “User Bias.”
The show centers around tech inventor Jeffrey Tanner (Jeremy Piven) who develops a widely-successful crowdsourcing app, “Sophe,” to help solve his daughter’s murder. In the process, he ends up helping to solve other crimes with the public’s help, via their input on Sophe.
Sunday’s show opened with protests in Tanner’s home of San Francisco, where white supremacists held a rally to fight against the sanctuary city policy that looked like a recreation of the protests in Charlottesville. The rally gets out of hand and white supremacist leader Brandt Davis (Jeff Newburg), who appears to be based on real-life supremacist Richard Spencer, ends up dead from gunshot wounds in an alley:
The police make a secret deal with Tanner to use Sophe to help find the killer.Tanner sees it as a perfect opportunity to see how Sophe handles user bias:
Tanner’s assistant Sara (Natalia Tena) is right when she says there’s a right and there’s a wrong and racists are wrong. But to say that either side is to blame when the other is violent is a bit of a stretch. Violence is wrong, too, no matter who it’s committed by. Excusing violence from anti-racist/Antifa protestors by saying it was warranted because racists were “itching for it” sets up a dangerous precedent. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
There were also a couple of apparent digs at President Trump, one outright and one a bit veiled. In a discussion about a story on Tanner’s daughter that went viral on the Internet, Tanner’s employee tells him, “You know how this works. In five minutes, the president's gonna tweet, and they're gonna be onto something else. Just let it go.”
Later, when they’re interrogating a person of interest, who happens to be a Latino illegal immigrant, there’s another apparent dig at Trump as well as the “right-wing media.” There’s also an implication that viewers of right-wing media are violent and racist:
What follows is a disturbing clip of an innocent Latino man on a bicycle being assaulted by a white racist. Too disturbing to post. But what about the many conservatives who have been attacked by the left just for being conservative and/or white? Shouldn’t those be pointed out too? Apparently, those don’t matter as much to Hollywood.
In a side storyline about Tanner’s daughter Mia having been hospitalized briefly in a psychiatric facility for depression, Mia’s mother, Alex Hale (Monica Potter) has been trying to keep it out of the press. But Tanner’s use of Sophe to bring Mia’s case to the spotlight leads to the story being leaked and going viral.
Hale is a powerful congresswoman with a lot of money. As a reporter is in her office questioning her about the story on Mia, she asks about the “new rumors” going around and plays a clip of someone who seems to be conservative and looks and sounds an awful lot like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones’s show Infowars is mentioned separately, however.
One user on Twitter thought the character was supposed to represent Rush Limbaugh. But an account from someone stating that they are a writer for Wisdom of the Crowd responded by claiming they were not imitating Rush:
Honesty didn't mean to offend - as it wasn't a take on him at all. Honest. #WisdomOfTheCrowd— Patrick Moss (@MrPatrickMoss) October 23, 2017
Despite jabs at Trump and conservatives, and ignoring the many incidents of violence against the right, the show did have some balance to it, showing what appeared to be Antifa protestors bashing in a car window that had a Confederate flag beneath it, and when Tanner tries to clear Sophe of submissions by extremists on the left and right, you clearly see a leftist poster disappearing from the system that reads, “We are immigrants, not criminals.” One would assume they are referring to illegal immigrants, which means they are criminals, because no one on the left or right is arguing against legal immigration.
The wisdom of the conservative crowd on Twitter still gave a big thumbs down to the show, feeling that it was lumping all who disagree with “liberal public policy” in with “racists morons” among other sentiments.
They may be on to something, considering this tweet from actress Ion Overmann (who plays Lt. Ruiz) which seems to imply the show had a political agenda from the start:
As it turned out at the end of the show, rather than being killed by an illegal immigrant as first suspected, Davis was found to have had terminal pancreatic cancer with only 4 months to live, so he planned out his “murder” in order to appear as a martyr for his racist, white supremacist cause.
In other words, even though the show appeared to be fair in a few parts, they took the easy way out in the end, lest they offend the left. Not that anyone with a good conscience was rooting for the white supremacist, but a truly new narrative in Hollywood would have had someone from the left be guilty of the crime for once.
Which makes this last bit of wisdom from the conservative crowd on Twitter all the more accurate: