Inspired by the New York Times Magazine article “Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans,” by David Amsden, APB is a new police drama with a high-tech twist from executive producer/director Len Wiseman and executive producers and writers Matt Nix and Trey Callaway.
After billionaire engineer Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) witnesses his best friend’s murder, he takes charge of Chicago’s troubled 13th District and reboots it as a technically innovative police force, challenging the district to rethink everything about the way they fight crime. Gideon finds help from Detective Theresa Murphy (Natalie Martinez), an ambitious, street-smart cop who is willing to give Gideon’s technological changes a chance. With the help of Gideon’s gifted tech officer, Ada Hamilton (Caitlin Stasey), he and Murphy embark on a mission to turn the 13th District – including a skeptical Captain Ned Conrad (Ernie Hudson), and determined officers Nicholas Brandt (Taylor Handley) and Tasha Goss (Tamberla Perry) – into a dedicated crime-fighting force of the 21st century.
After spending a whole day on the production set of APB, I met with the the main stars of this fantastic production who had a lot to say about filming in Chicago, the script, their characters and life itself.
Tamberla Perry who is originally from Chicago was wearing a cop-like jacket filled with awesome gadgets and was extremely enthusiastic to share her experience on the set. “Tasha is a tough cop, compassionate, wants to get the job done, wants to fight crime, and make neighbourhoods as safe as they can be. Playing this has been extraordinary. APB is like an uber for crime – we respond within three minutes. The technology in this show will bring the viewers back week after week. It is amazing to be back in my hometown. ”
As I took a photo with Perry and said goodbye, I was joined by Taylor Handley was also wearing a super cool cop-like jacket: “We started shooting in August. The show is action packed with car chases, stunts, fire, underwater. I get to get real sweaty and bloody and it’s a great part of the job. My character is an ex military and now he works for District 13. He doesn’t embrace technology right of the bat. He thinks that too much technology can ruin a good thing. Brandt likes to get stuff done and I can relate to that. When I read the script at first I was like that never happens but when I turned on the local news I saw it, which made crimes in APB seem not so crazy. What I love about Chicago is how easy it is to get around here and I haven’t gotten lost (laughs). Great city!”
Legendary actor Ernie Hudson (“Ghostbusters”) joined the discussion but on a bit more personal note sharing his thoughts on the African-American communities for the first time in public: “I had a niece who was killed three weeks ago in Chicago. She had a three month old baby. I don’t know her but when it came time for the funeral (pauses)…everyone hears about the problems in Chicago that affect the whole country. I have never said that in public before, my feelings are we as humans have our tribes. We all embraced integration in the African-American community but we gave up our communities. We need to support them, go home. I grew up in Michigan in the projects. Everybody was forced to live in the communities and when integration came everyone who had resources left. People who were left behind were the ones who couldn’t get out and they became desperate. After a couple of generations I am afraid to go back. I have a cousin who is in rehab for drug use here in Chicago. She is trying to pull herself together. But what happens when she gets out? Poor people don’t demand they just survive. I think that we made such an effort to be inclusive as we are that we let go of everything that was of a value to us. When you are so far behind like some of this communities are it’s very hard to turn around. I grew up believing in the American dream and that I can do anything. You have to care about your tribe. It’s time for a change and we have the ability to make these changes. We can do a lot more than we have done. I want to make sure that as a positive figure I have said anything that I have to say. My character is not politically correct. He makes mistakes, more wins then loses. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a policeman in real life, that kind of pressure but when you takes the job personally I would like to see change.”
I was fortunate enough to see a bit behind the scenes of APB – the smoky atmosphere, big screens and tons of cops. There I met sitting on their actor chairs, Justin Kirk and Natalie Martinez who were chit chatting and getting ready before their scene. “There is a smokey blue look to our show. At the end of the day my right eye starts to give out from all that smoke,” laughed Kirk. “My character is used to solving problems with money. I think he is a great character, thoughtful and smart and a combination of socially awkward and confident; a lot of different things with the best intentions,” continued Kirk. “We are an entertaining cop show with drones and chasing bad guys. Tune the fuck in!” Martinez joined in the conversation briefly before she was called in for her scene: “It is one of those things where technology makes things complicated and fun. It is a fun way to see what would happen if someone approached it at a different angle.”
Every good cop show needs a good tech intelligence team. This is where the tech brain of Caitlin Stasey’s character steps in. Dressed in a cozy, warm, almost blanket like grey coat she joined us to discuss her odd character and the show. “Ada was a hacker but now she is using her powers for money. She is monitoring the technology and has a team of hackers and nerds. She is in charge of tracking cops, crime, and the main connections. I say a lot of complicated words and people do them. Ada could be a communist in a Stalin regime (laughs). She is trying to be a force for good. Initially David Stack, the creator of the show, and I had a long conversation about this complicated concept, the idea of privatize law enforcement, but from a benevolent dictatorship. I liked the idea of being part of it. We use drones to track people. There is no right answer in this show. I think people will be excited to see it. My husband is from Chicago originally. LA is great but doesn’t have an aquarium or museums like Chicago,” said Stacey and left us with a warm, charming smile.
APB premiers Feb 6 at 9/8 Central on FOX. Like APB on Facebook at facebook.com/APBonFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @APBonFOX and join the discussion at #APBonFOX. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @APBonFOX.