One Good Computer Mastermind on Television

Lately, television has been filled with computer masterminds, and they are mostly entirely unbelievable.

I give Person of Interest a pass here since it is partly sci-fi; the existence of the machine by its very nature overrides certain assumptions. But other shows, like Bones, which are supposed to reside within the realm of reality, yet allow so-called masterminds to do things that reside entirely outside the realm of probability. 

Yes, we live in a world surrounded by technology, but despite A.I. fears, that technology has limits.

The one mystery/police procedural show with a computer mastermind that does it right? Major Crimes' finale.

What Major Crimes does right:


1. The computer mastermind is not the main bad guy. 

The bad guy, Stroh, hires a computer whiz-kid, who doesn't trust Stroh or even like him. In other words, the Big Bad can't do EVERYTHING.

2. The computer whiz-kid can't do everything either. He has a specific skill-set.

This is a point that comes up in Numb3rs. Charlie recognizes that the computer whiz-kid working for DARPA was lying to DARPA since his two lines of experimentation--A.I. for DARPA and robotic research at home--don't line up. Yes, people specialize, and the more genius or overly educated they are, the more likely they are to specialize.

3. What Stroh and the computer whiz-kid can do/see is limited by the actual technology. 

They have access to many of Major Crimes' cellphones (through Bluetooth) but NOT the cellphone belonging to Captain Adama-like Provenza. The villains have access to the Smartscreen but not to all of the LAPD because, intelligently, the Major Crimes' Smartscreen is not (like the computers on Star Trek) linked into every single computer in the known vicinity. It is isolated for research and safety purposes.

4. Stroh has a pragmatic mission. 

Don't get me wrong: Stroh is crazy and evil. But ultimately, he's just looking for "his" money. That's it. He wouldn't have come back into the country if the money hadn't been shut off.

And he can't simply hire some super-duper computer-whiz to hack into secure financial accounts. He is limited by other people's firewalls.

6. The hacker gets bored.

I think this is the most important point. Dylan, the hacker, has to keep watching the footage (live and taped), and he gets bored, sometimes mocking the Major Crimes squad (in a very juvenile way), often getting distracted by other stuff. Yes, technology is everywhere, but everywhere pulls in a lot of information. It's easy to sort through all that information on television because everybody knows what everybody is looking for. In real life, it is overwhelming and exhausting and entirely misleading.

The villains of Major Crimes are as susceptible to being overwhelmed by too much info as the rest of the world.

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