‘Instinct’ is an Enjoyable Whodunit

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If you had a passing interest in the television show Hannibal, but have a more James Patterson taste in books, Instinct is an enjoyable crime drama on CBS you’re going to want to check out. Former CIA investigator turned abnormal psych professor and writer, Dylan Reinhart accidentally finds himself as a consultant to the homicide department of the NYPD.  The premise of an abnormal psychology professor assisting a detective is not entirely unknown to television crime shows, but in this case, the cast is what makes Instinct.

Alan Cumming, a fabulous star of Broadway, plays the highly enjoyable Dr. Dylan Reinhart. Though a professor of abnormal psychology, he isn’t a stranger to solving crimes. Reinhart is a best-selling author who wants nothing more than to teach and remain happily married to his partner. Unfortunately, the popular book inspires a wannabee serial killer. Enter Detective Lizzie Needham, played by Bojana Novakovic. She is a no-nonsense member of the NYPD who does not work well with others.  Lizzie seeks out Reinhart to find out where the serial killer could go with his crimes, and in the process Reinhart ends up a consultant.

The majority of the cast is female, LGBT, or people of color, all well appreciated. There are even multiple episodes with Whoopie Goldberg. Characters deal with alcoholism, fertility issues, and loneliness without it being the whole plot of an episode. I’ve got to say, it is so fun watching a show where we know that the main characters’ banter is not going to lead to a romantic relationship. Reinhart and his husband are adorable. Lizzie has the ability to grow and change as a single woman who has lost the love of her life, without a romantic subplot being forced down our throats. The show regularly uses pretty cliche plot points and if you watch a fair bit of crime dramas you’re going to probably figure out the killer’s identity about halfway through and episode. The show is based on works of author James Patterson, who is known to be pretty formulaic. However, there is something comforting about piecing it together and seeing amazing representation in television.

Instinct Season One is now available on DVD.

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