Can “Knowledge of the Crowd” actually resolve crimes?

We dwell in an age of cameras. They’re mounted on road corners, posted on buildings, and planted on us, in our smartphones.

That is how we get to see so many as-they-happened photographs of real-life crimes, pure disasters, dramatic rescues and what-were-they-thinking moments. However what occurs when a father or mother, mourning his kid’s homicide, builds a crowdsourcing platform and asks the general public to assist observe down proof to resolve the crime?

That is the premise of “Knowledge of the Crowd,” a brand new CBS drama airing Oct. 1. (Disclosure: CNET is a division of CBS Interactive.) Jeremy Piven, best-known for his position as Hollywood agent Ari Gold on the HBO sequence “Entourage,” stars as wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeffrey Tanner, who’s grieving over the demise of his daughter. The present opens with him quitting his profitable tech firm to launch “Sophe,” an internet platform designed to collect new proof from the general public so he can discover her killer. Veteran actor Richard T. Jones performs Tommy Cavanaugh, a San Francisco police detective who investigated the homicide and should have put the flawed man behind bars.

“It is one thing that sort of exists as we speak in numerous types,” Piven says of the crowdsourcing service. “Persons are actually responding to that concept as a result of it is each inspiring and scary as a result of it might incite vigilante conduct. So I feel it is a hot-button subject.”

Piven and Jones visited CNET’s workplaces in San Francisco on Sept. 19. We sat down collectively for a question-and-answer session about Silicon Valley, tech tradition and the professionals and cons of crowdsourcing for fixing crimes. This is an edited transcript of our dialog.

Richard T. Jones stars as Detective Tommy Cavanaugh, Blake Lee performs Josh Novak and Jeremy Piven is tech entrepreneur Jeffrey Tanner within the new CBS crime drama “Knowledge of the Crowd.”

Robert Voets/CBS

Q: What do you know or take into consideration Silicon Valley and tech tradition earlier than you signed on to “Knowledge of the Crowd”?
Piven: We have no idea so much about tech — let’s be sincere. I did my analysis and I’ve realized concerning the Steve Jobses of the world and the Elon Musks and all these innovators. However we’re from a era the place we did not develop up with all of those apps. So we’re sort of cavemen in that approach. I am making an attempt to catch up as a lot as potential. From what I’ve realized, it is this attention-grabbing mixture of know-how and creativity, and it is the place they each come collectively — you see Steve Jobs actually realizing that the most important variable to his success was not limiting himself and his concepts. And that is a extremely lovely factor. We have been intimidated by the tech world as a result of we do not communicate that language, however we have been embracing it.

Richard performs a cop whom we staff up collectively, however he’s the antithesis of anybody who’s embracing the world of know-how, particularly in terms of crime fixing.

Jones: I play like an actual one who does not get it. I do have a cellphone. So that is what I learn about know-how.

You’ve got mentioned this can be a controversial subject — utilizing crowdsourcing to collect data. Within the pilot, the thought of vigilantism comes up. What do you consider the professionals and cons of all this?
Piven: It’s harmful. We clarify in layman’s phrases that 90 p.c of crowdsourcing you’ll be able to simply kinda toss away, after which 10 p.c of the knowledge you should use. And so, it is harmful, but it surely’s additionally sort of fascinating. I feel, as you guys know, we’re crowdsourcing every part as we speak with out it being labeled — from the eating places we go to, to the routes that we take. All this stuff are crowdsourcing, and it is principally utilizing the thought of collaboration, which artistically I like. Anytime you get a bunch collectively and you place everybody’s head collectively, you’ll be able to provide you with higher concepts. So you are going to need to take the nice and the ailing, and it will be attention-grabbing to see how the present is obtained. That is one factor we won’t fear about. We go to the stage and we do our factor, after which now we have to place it out into the world. I feel there’s been some hesitation initially with a number of the folks — how we will deal with sure issues, like when it does go flawed. In order that’s going to be fascinating.

Jones: Like Jeremy simply mentioned, it’s a must to take the nice with the unhealthy. However what’s attention-grabbing about my character [is], How can we use this platform and sort of hold it managed? And as everyone knows, as soon as you place it on the market [on the internet], we’ll lose management of it. It has a lifetime of its personal and that is clearly the scary half, but it surely’s additionally exhilarating as a result of you do not know precisely what yow will discover from that. So I feel you get a little bit little bit of either side. My character may be very pessimistic concerning the management of it, the place Jeremy’s character believes within the good of individuals.

Let’s discuss the way you method the characters. Richard, you’ve got performed cops earlier than. What makes this position completely different?
Jones: That is a more durable query than it appears. I imagine it is about his relationship with the opposite folks within the present. My character occurs to have a son. He divorced a beautiful chef who’s on her method to turning into a zillionaire and a I am a cop in San Francisco making no cash. After which I run into this mogul who is understood within the space and sort of worshiped by all folks, individuals who love know-how. And now we’re turning into pleasant with one another and we’re working collectively. How I approached it was actually like how I might method a brand new friendship or an introduction into a brand new space. I sort of simply let it occur. So after studying the script, I used to be like, “OK, that is attention-grabbing as a result of I do not know something about know-how and this can be a method to be taught with out actually having to review about it.” I might be taught by means of asking questions, like my character would naturally and truthfully do. He could possibly be organically silly. [Laughs.]

Piven: Precisely. [Laughs.]

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Jeremy, once you have been on “Entourage,” you talked about approaching that character as commedia dell’arte — the place you are sincerely believing who you might be, in order that It appears excessive.
Piven: Commedia dell’arte was one of many first types of performing earlier than there was electrical energy, they usually had kerosene lamps and also you needed to placed on white face so folks might see you. And also you needed to be in one in every of 4 emotional states — happiness, unhappiness, anger, worry — always. For those who weren’t in a kind of states, you have been requested to depart the stage. So that you have been in a heightened state of emotion always. And my trainer was Tim Robbins, who’s a really nice actor and director. That was the primary type of performing I studied, and it simply set me free. I by no means bought an opportunity to make use of it, however once I was enjoying Ari Gold — he is an insane human being. So all I did was play him in that fixed heightened state of emotion. I largely performed the anger; he was largely offended. [Laughs.] Nevertheless it was heightened, it was full-blown, and hopefully it is honest. Irrespective of how huge you make it, it’s a must to make it actual and truthful. That is the best way I performed that character, and the results of enjoying an genuine character was that folks thought I used to be truly him, which was each confirming and tragic. [Laughs.]

It was a blast to play. It was unbelievable. The lifetime of an actor is nice since you get to play all these completely different roles. And now I am enjoying a man who’s heartbroken as a result of his daughter’s been murdered and he thinks that his grief will go away if he catches the killer. Your grief won’t go away, but it surely’s an excellent premise in the best way that it could actually result in any kind of conduct on his half. It was only a position that I could not stroll away from — the thought of enjoying an actual human being that’s emotionally out there and loves his daughter.

Let me ask you some questions on tech. What’s your favourite tech?
Jones: Cellular phone — would that be a very good reply?


“We’re crowdsourcing every part as we speak with out it being labeled — from the eating places we go to, to the routes that we take,” says Jeremy Piven (left).

James Martin/CNET

It is a legitimate reply, yeah.
Jones: Yeah, as a result of I am like consistently on it, sadly. Each type of communication is thru it. I do not know what I might do with out my cellphone now.

Piven: I just like the app Waze. And I bought the — you’ll be able to choose a star voice now, so I chosen Owen Wilson and he does his character Lightning McQueen.

[Starts doing an Owen Wilson impersonation.] Flip proper. Cha-chow. So flip left, it is a little bit awkward, however hold going. I do know you are in your method to Dwelling Depot, however for those who can cease, take a left proper there. There is a pretty — it is a Entire Meals. They usually have a Reishi cappuccino. It is great. I’m going in there in my pajamas. And my nickname is the Butterscotch Cowboy, and I prefer to, , play this position in each film. And I simply sound like this it doesn’t matter what. And Jennifer Aniston’s a good friend. I prefer to go go-carting.

I might actually do this without end. [The whole audience laughs.]

What piece of tech would you prefer to be invented only for you?
Piven: I need an app that may assist me make higher selections. [Laughs.] You understand what I imply? That may be superb, you can simply present it the state of affairs. You say “What do I do about this? She feels loopy and self-consumed and delusional. Ought to I proceed?”

And the app solutions.

“No, you should not. You’re extra developed than that.

Please cease going for low-hanging fruit.

You’re the oldest man on this membership. Please depart.

Cease going to golf equipment. You’re too outdated.”

That may be a tremendous app.

Jones: A flying automobile. Or let’s go additional: a time machine. Sure. A teleporter or one thing. There you go. That is what I would like. A teleporter.

So you do not have to get on planes?
Jones: Precisely. And no safety.

You are each TV stars now — what was your favourite TV present rising up?
Jones: Good Instances.” I might say “The Cosby Present,” however then I would get some appears. [Laughs.] However you guys know you’re keen on “The Cosby Present,” all of y’all.

Piven: I feel you’ve the flawed era.

Jones: They’ve watched it. They’ve seen it. [Points to laughing audience.]

Piven: Being Jewish, I wasn’t allowed to observe “Hogan’s Heroes” as a result of it was a comedy about Nazis. You understand, it was sort of like, “Effectively, that wasn’t humorous. They killed 6 million Jews.” As a toddler I did not know that, ? I watched — keep in mind these cartoons, that they had — the Jackson 5 and the Osmond Brothers. And “Welcome Again, Kotter.”

Jones: Now we’re actually courting ourselves … Everybody’s like, what are you speaking about?

Piven: Everyone is aware of “Welcome Again, Kotter,” man.

Final query. What would you prefer to be requested that you simply’re not requested in interviews?
Piven: I feel we’re residing in instances the place folks outwardly aren’t that interested in different folks, and I feel that is a disgrace. Typically persons are afraid to ask questions and that is too unhealthy, as a result of we might clearly be taught a lot about one another. What’s attention-grabbing is I spent the previous 4 years working in London [on the PBS series “Mr Selfridge”] and we communicate the identical language in another way. Like everybody is aware of in London the place they went to school. Right here nobody’s ever requested me what school I went to. Ever.

Jones [laughs]: What school did you go to?

Piven: None of what you are promoting, man. It is none of your rattling enterprise. That is why we do not ask. No, I went to NYU.

Jones: I realized that simply now, by the best way.  

Piven: Yeah, precisely. Individuals wanna know what automobile you drive, possibly, versus what college you went to, which I feel is bizarre.

Jones: I assume, the query that we by no means get is, “Will we all get alongside on the present?” — which all people actually needs to know, as a result of they like TMZ.

So do you?
Jones: Sure, we do. Have a look at that, I used to be gonna depart you hanging in case you requested. [Laughs.] All of us have a blast truly. Yeah, it is enjoyable.

Piven: All of us actually get alongside. It is nice. Individuals do not know, however our hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — and we’re filming all that point. We do 12-hour days, and that is when you do not go over. You do 12- to 14-hour days. I am not complaining. It is only a actuality.

Until you are on a sitcom, and you’re employed 14 minutes every week. 

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