Normally the sight of Kiefer Sutherland talking on a cell phone on FOX would lead to explosions, gunfire, and/or punching. There are still mysteries to watch unfold but TOUCH gives us a very different Kiefer in a very intriguing show.
As a fair warning, I’ll be discussing generalities of plot and character but I won’t reveal any major spoilers. Good? Good.
Sutherland plays Martin Bohn, the stressed out single father of 11-year-old Jake (David Mazouz) who never speaks and displays symptoms of Autism. Things don’t get much easier when social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw – DOCTOR WHO, UNDERCOVERS, LARRY CROWNE) comes on the scene to evaluate the family’s home life. Searching for a way to connect and communicate with his son, Martin encounters Arthur Teller (Danny Gloves) and discovers that the numbers Jake obsesses with are more than meets the eye.
The word “connect” is an important one because it’s the very heart of the show. Martin and Jake are definitely the main characters but there are several different people and storylines that you see at the very beginning that play out in interesting, interlocking ways. I was extremely impressed at the way they balanced all the story threads and how they got me invested in them. That is a testament to both the writing and execution – a great job by the actors, director, editors, bascially everybody who put the show together. It’s a tough concept as I assume there’ll be a new set of strangers introduced in every episode but, if they can deliver at or near this level every episode, there will be lots of accolades/awards in everyone’s future.
Sutherland does an exemplary job as the harried Martin. Stressed out parents can be difficult to play but he displays every emotion with skill (naturally – he’s Kiefer Sutherland). And to say that he’s different from Jack Bauer is easy but Kiefer makes it very obvious from the first moment he’s on screen just in the way he moves and stands. Mbatha-Raw, who I’ve missed since UNDERCOVERS was sadly cancelled, also delievers as Clea. Her American accent is great and she has great chemistry with Sutherland. There’s a moment early in the episode right before she meets Jake where her reaction is just perfect and she didn’t even utter a word. Mazouz shouldn’t be overlooked as Jake. It could be easily dismissed but playing this type of character isn’t easy and I believe everything that Mazouz is doing. He’s not overstating anything and he’s very deliberate in his actions. I look forward to seeing more of Danny Glover’s Arthur in the future. I feel like there’s a lot more there to see. I’d also like to give major props to Shak Ghacha who plays Abdul Kozari, a teenager in the Middle East. He was most excellent. I’d say more but don’t want to give anything away. Keep an eye on who appears in prominent roles on this show – I predict lots of big actors to come out of the supplementary cast (David de Lautour will probably get a lot of work after the pilot airs, and deservedly so).
If you like mysteries or anthologies, TOUCH is definitely the show for you. If you like good acting and writing, TOUCH is definitely for you. If you like quality television, TOUCH if for you. Basically, just watch the show. I think it’s very good and deserves a chance to win your attention.
“Touch” premieres on FOX on Wednesday, January 25th at 9/8c