Tonight TNT premieres a new entry into their set of crime drama series – Perception  – starring Eric “My Name is Not Will” McCormack. And while it fits into an ever expanding niche of the crime drama, it has the chance to stand out on its own.

Yes, the basic premise seems familiar – socially awkward individual with a super mind helps the cops/Feds solve crimes. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one version of this over the past decade. Whether it is the not-psychic psychic detectives on Psych or The Mentalist, the woman who remembers every single thing on Unforgettable, the possibly autistic genius forensic anthropologist on Bones, or going back to the overly OCD Monk and the lady who talks to ghosts on Medium – the crime drama has a expanded what it takes to solve crimes. You just need a special skill in the head, and if that skill makes you all the more difficult to be around, even better!

So what does Perception bring to the table? Well, Eric McCormack’s lead character, Dr. Daniel Pierce is a brilliant neuroscientist (Are there non-brilliant ones? Maybe just not-as-brilliant?) who is an esteemed professor by day and, as the show begins, a consultant who helps the FBI solve cases. His understanding of how the mind works helps him to see things about the cases that those silly mentally stable Feds can’t see.

Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention, Daniel isn’t mentally stable. Like, at all. He can’t deal with very crowded setting and plays classical music, which he then conducts with broad strokes of his arms, in order to settle himself. His student aid, Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith) helps Daniel with the little things, like getting him his herbal tea and telling him whether or not he’s hallucinating. But those hallucinations are often part of what helps Daniel solve these crimes. Daniel now works with a former student, current FBI agent, Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook). The pair seem to have good chemistry and I’m curious as to where the show will take that. There’s the obvious route, by the premiere seems to indicate that maybe romance isn’t the best bet at the moment.

There are some other familiar faces on the show – Levar Burton plays Daniel’s friend and boss, Paul Haley. And Kelly Rowan (aka Kirsten Cohen!) is Daniel’s friend, Natalie Vincent. And for TNT watchers, the premiere guest stars Pope from Falling Skies (Colin Cunnigham). But he’s all clean cut so it took a few minutes for me to place him.

Overall, I enjoyed the hour. There were a few bits that made my eyes roll and a few “surprises” I saw coming a mile away. But it was fun. I enjoyed the cast immensely and thought McCormack was fantastic. He is clearly embracing playing this very unique individual all the quirks that come along with him. I’ll be interested to see how the handles itself as a procedural, combined with what was an interesting backstory set up in the pilot.

Perception premieres tonight on TNT

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae where she often discusses her love of the crazy people. Not that she is one….

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