Created by Ronald D. Moore
Initial release 30 December 2011
Number of episodes 1
Program creator Ronald D. Moore
No. of episodes 1
Running time 44 minutes
Director Michael Rymer
Screenplay Ronald D. Moore
Starring Jamie Bamber James Callis Tricia Helfer Eamonn Walker Esai Morales Stockard Channing Matt Long Kristin Kreuk
Cast Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, James Callis, Stockard Channing, Eamonn Walker
Similar The Depths, Oldest Living Confeder, Promised Lands, Pure Coolness, A Man Called Blade
17th Precinct is a police procedural television program created by Ronald D. Moore. In a modern world where magic supplanted science, the unaired pilot featured two non-intersecting stories: the death of a city executive at the hands of a wrongful convict, and the introduction of terrorists who are devoted to the destruction of magic. Moore developed the series with Sony Pictures Television for NBCUniversal, bringing with him several of the stars of his reimagined Battlestar Galactica franchise as cast members. The series was pitched in September 2010, the pilot was ordered January 2011, NBC passed on the series in May 2011, and the unaired pilot was leaked in December 2011. Reviewers mostly liked 17th Precinct, commenting on its innovativeness despite its police procedural roots.
- Night out against crime 17th precinct dag hammarskjold plaza new york city august 2 2011
- Unaired pilot
Night out against crime 17th precinct dag hammarskjold plaza new york city august 2 2011
The series takes place in the American city of Excelsior (shot in Vancouver, modeled on San Francisco), in a world where science was never "invented", and instead of using "oil, electricity, [and] coal", mankind relies on plant- and fire-powered magic to run society. The police of Excelsior's 17th Precinct use spells to collect evidence and information, they defend themselves with "magic discs", and they psychically access "the stream" (a smokey light beam) for information, printouts, and newspapers.
Donald Pynchon, Excelsior's executive prophet (a city government official concerned with making and interpreting city-wide prophesies), is murdered in a North Beach back alley on September 23, 2011. Detectives Longstreet and Bosson (Bamber & Callis) are tasked with the case and determine that his murder was intentionally brutal, and it was unobserved due to a magical charm which deadened sound in the alley. It turns out that fifteen years previously, Pynchon was in Mendocino, California when, relying on a prophetic vision, testified against Lionel Dixon on charges of rape and murder. Dixon received a life sentence of magically reliving his victim's final experiences. After Dixon was acquitted thirteen years later, he was magically given a new life as a child (Quinn Lord) in an effort to make up for the mistaken identity; Dixon instead was driven to murder both Pynchon and the acquitting judge.
Unconnected with the Pynchon case, DCI Wilder Blanks (Walker) begins seeing visions related to the Stoics, "a group dedicated to the destruction of magic" in favor of "reason, rationality, and [...] science"—a laughable prospect, but one about which they are deadly serious. Twelve years previously (1999), the Stoics committed a series of murders to further their cause, but have neither been seen nor heard of since. Blanks retrieves DS Mira Barkley (Channing) from her dissatisfying work in another precinct to help with the Stoics; Barkley was his partner during the previous Stoics case. Blanks partners Barkley with rookie detective Jimmy Travers (Long) due to the latter's potential as an intuitive savant. Investigating a nuisance case in an apartment building, Barkley and Travers unwittingly allow the Stoics access to murder an otherwise protected tenant, a college professor of "advanced magical engineering and biology with an emphasis on power plant design." In the dénouement, it is revealed that the Stoics use "mechanical, rather than 'true' magic" which nothing in their world can defend against; the professor was killed using the Stoics' means, something called a bullet.
17th Precinct was created by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television. Moore's development of 17th Precinct was part of a two-year deal with Sony Pictures Television to "create and executive produce series projects for broadcast and cable through his production company Tall Ship Prods." When Moore pitched the show to NBCUniversal in September 2010, it carried with it an approximate $2 million price tag for the pilot and penalties. In January 2011, NBC ordered a pilot for the series from Moore and Sony.
Moore brought several actors with whom he'd worked before into 17th Precinct, particularly from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica franchise.
On May 12, 2011, NBC announced that they had passed on 17th Precinct for their fall 2011 season of shows. NBC instead ordered a full season of another program featuring a supernatural angle on the traditional police procedural genre, Universal Television's Grimm.
The unnamed pilot episode of 17th Precinct was leaked online at Vimeo in the last days of December 2011.
Science fiction blog io9 called Moore a "master of world-building", describing Excelsior as a richly described setting. They lauded its freshness in spite of its police procedural genre, saying that it was "bursting with new ideas" and "[r]ejuvenated a whole new genre". Airlock Alpha also commended 17th Precinct for incorporating a fresh take on the police procedural genre, though also felt the pilot introduced too many characters and concepts. TG Daily thought the concept was cool, though they felt "the execution could use a little polish". They also specifically lauded Bamber, Helfer, and Callis, while not being overly impressed by the supporting cast. In the end, they would have preferred 17th Precinct over Grimm.