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Why You Don't Need to See the Movie to Watch Minority Report

In fact, the sequel has little in common with the movie

Adam Bryant

The brains behind Fox's Minority Reportwant you to know that you can still watch their show even if you never saw the film of the same name starring Tom Cruise.

"We tell you everything you need to know, and you'll enjoy the show without ever seeing the movie," executive producer Max Borenstein tells But when you see the movie, it fills in all this rich backstory... that is invaluable and really tells the story."Indeed, the new Fox drama (premiering Monday at 9/8c) is a sequel to the film and, despite the exposition dump that explains how the two properties share a timeline and some characters, really has very little relation to the movie. Instead, in 2065, the PreCrime program that was at the center of the film has now been abolished and the three child pre-cogs, people who get visions of the future, that powered the program have since grown up in hiding.

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However, when one of those kids, Dash (Stark Sands), can no longer tolerate standing aside and watching people die, he turns to a cop named Vega (Meagan Good) to try to use his fragmented visions to save lives. "Vega provides that extra piece of the puzzle," Borenstein says. "She has both the access that a police person will have, but also the sort of wit and the investigative ability and the tools to put pieces together. So, they make a kind of perfect complementary team."

But accomplishing their goals is anything but a perfect science. "Vega is operating inside the lines and so they're doing [this] in the margins," Borenstein says. "That makes it a challenge. How do you prosecute? You can't go in there with an arrest warrant. You have to figure out creative ways to stop crimes, which makes the show really fresh because we don't start with a dead body. We start with a vision of a dead body. So you have this great ticking clock which is built in the show."
In many ways, the show seems more like a sibling to Person of Interest than the child of a Spielberg movie. Like the CBS procedural, Minority Report is ultimately an exercise in vigilantes racing against the clock to save lives. And just like Person of Interest, the heroes won't always see eye to eye on how to use their special skills.

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"They're going to be partners, but there's always an unease about it," Borenstein says. "It's this very, very uneasy alliance. Their perspectives on the world are totally different. She wants to catch the bad guys. He wants to save lives. Well, sometimes in order to catch the bad guy you may need to wait to catch them in the act, which means you're putting lives at risk. So, that argument is going to always be there. No matter how close they get, that argument is at the center of the show."
Complicating matters is Dash's strained relationships with his siblings and fellow pre-cogs, foster sister Agatha (Laura Regan) and twin Arthur (Nick Zano). While Agatha repeatedly warns Dash that his abilities will once again be exploited if he shares them with the world, Arthur takes a much more cynical approach. "Arthur knows that the only thing these people have in their lives is their visions," Borenstein says. "That's their gift. It's a curse, but that's their gift. He knows that the only thing that will keep them from being exploited ... is leveraging that gift for their own power. So, he is not evil; he has a vision of society that's a lot more realistic frankly."

However, it's the contrast between the two twins that perhaps suggests the true heroism the show hopes to explore. "The superhero archetype is that someone is gifted with a power that allows them to act," Borenstein says. "In this case, [Dash's] power is only to know, and he actually is limited because he doesn't have that social understanding and he hasn't had a healthy, normal life. So the fact that he acts makes him that much more heroic.

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"He's seen murders every day all of his life," Borenstein continues. "You would think that he would have a cynical outlook towards the world. You would think that he would say because society imprisoned him for all those years, society be damned. The fact that he doesn't speaks to this part of his character that's heroic and fundamentally optimistic about people."

But could that heroism have a dark side? "If by enslaving three people who could see the future you could prevent every murder in the city, how many people do you think would immediately vote to enslave those three people?" Borenstein says. "Morality and ethics would go out the door, and maybe that's the right decision. It's very difficult to say, and we want to lean into that. There is no black and white there."
And if it meant saving the world, would Dash ever willingly let himself once again be put into the milk bath? "When that moment comes to pass, you can bet that's going to be a question he would ask," Borenstein says.

Minority Report premieres Monday at 9/8c on Fox.