Emergence (TV series)
Emergence is an American mystery-themed thriller television series created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas for ABC Studios. Originally intended to be produced as a potential series prospect for NBC after it had ordered a pilot, the hour-long program was picked up by ABC, which added it to its 2019–20 television schedule lineup, where it debuted on September 24, 2019 as a Tuesday night entry.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–43 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 24, 2019 –|
A police chief on Long Island's Peconic Bay takes in a young child whom she finds near the site of a mysterious accident, but soon discovers that the girl has no memory of what has happened or who she is. The child's mystery becomes more intense than expected when the chief starts investigating the history that led up to the accident and the questions of how and why it happened, dating back 15 years. A series of bizarre electronic disruptions, unexplained forces and a strange cryptic symbol are also at play, all of which are related to the young girl.
- Allison Tolman as Jo Evans, a newly divorced police chief and mother to teenage daughter Mia, who takes in the mysterious young girl Piper and is determined to protect her from those who want the child. Out of concern for Piper, she covers up any details of her existence and events, eventually taking in the girl as her foster daughter.
- Alexa Swinton as Piper, a young girl with unique powers. She was the sole survivor of the plane crash, whom Jo takes in and is the center of the mystery that is tied to her. She is later revealed to be an artificially intelligent gynoid who was part of a project involving placing artificial children with families. Piper is extremely dangerous and self-evolving, but at the same time wants to be loved and wanted. She is also the “blueprint” of Emily Cox when she was Piper's age, and soon discovered her true identity after her code was rewritten.
- Owain Yeoman as Benny Gallagher, a man claiming to be an investigative journalist who works for Reuters, and was investigating Augur Industries, the company involved in the conspiracy centered around Piper's existence, using his sources and contacts while acting as Jo's ally. He is concerned about Jo in regards to Piper, fearing that Jo's maternal instincts blind her to Piper's true nature. Benny is also found to have some startling similarities to Piper.
- Ashley Aufderheide as Mia Evans, Jo's daughter and Piper's foster sister, who she bonds with, especially after learning of Piper's powers. She was originally named Bree in the pilot.
- Robert Bailey Jr. as Chris Minetto, a police officer under Jo, who conspires with her to keep the information about the events secret. He later learns about Piper after Jo tells him.
- Zabryna Guevara as Dr. Abby Fraiser, a pediatrician (with psychology expertise) and Jo's best friend.
- Donald Faison as Alex Evans, Jo's concerned ex-husband and Mia's father who works as a civil engineer with a knowledge for deciphering and decoding information. He is laid off by new owner Augur Industries as revenge due to Jo investigating the company and its owner Richard Kindred. He is fearful of Piper around Mia after learning the truth from Jo, but soon comes to embrace her.
- Clancy Brown as Ed Sawyer, an ex-firefighter, Jo's father, and Mia's grandfather who is also battling cancer as a result of being a first responder involved in the September 11 attacks.
- Terry O'Quinn as Richard Kindred, a ruthless multi-billionaire and head of Augur Industries, a tech firm with a mysterious and very secret agenda, and with Alan helped steal the AI technology that lead to the creation of Piper. He is revealed to be the estranged father of Emily Cox, who has him killed while he is in jail.
- Maria Dizzia as Emily Cox, an AI researcher at Augur Industries. Piper looks like her as a child, as she was her original creator using stolen technology. She is terrified of the consequences of Augur's experiments and reveals to Jo and Benny the truth about Piper. Jo keeps Emily "off the grid" by offering protection in exchange for helping her. It is later revealed that she is testing Piper and wants her for herself. She is the estranged, illegitimate daughter of Richard Kindred, but her obsession with Piper results in her having him killed while in jail. She is later taken into custody for Richard's murder, although she continued to help Jo, and later Helen.
- Seth Barrish as Alan Wilkis, a genetics engineer who faked his own death so no one could use his life's work, fearing that AIs would eventually make humanity extinct. He and Richard were responsible for stealing the AI technology that lead to Alan's disappearance. He is later revealed to be responsible for hiring a group of fixers trying to destroy the Augur buildings, only to be double crossed by its leader, Helen, an AI who kills him.
- Enver Gjokaj as Agent Ryan Brooks, an FBI agent also investigating Augur and for whom Jo is suspicious of because he seems to know almost everything regarding the case. When Jo tells him about the AIs, Ryan helps her despite being taken off the case. He has fallen in love with Jo.
- Rowena King as Loretta, a British scientist who is later revealed as the creator of her lookalike, Helen, a former associate of Alan and leader of an armed group of fixers called "Splinter" who have been destroying evidence and places tied to the company. Helen slashed Alan's throat believing he double crossed her, and is later revealed to be have similarities to Piper after she arranged for her kidnapping, with Benny's assistance. Loretta's determination is to stop Helen from replicating Piper's power by any means necessary.
- Rowena King as Helen, an AI. She looks like her creator Loretta.
- Gia Crovatin and Quincy Dunn-Baker as Caitlyn and Freddie Martin, who claim to be Piper's parents but turn out to be imposters hired to abduct her. They are both killed during a car chase and their bodies deteriorated to blood in the morgue by Ken Lerner.
- Ptolemy Slocum as Ken Lerner, a fixer employed by Augur Industries who was assigned to retrieve and destroy evidence connected to Piper, such as the bodies of the Martins at the morgue. He is subsequently killed after he is captured and tells Jo about his employer.
- Nikki Massoud as Lily Salgado, a social worker who helped Jo get approved to become Piper's foster mother.
- Ashlie Atkinson as April, a contact of Benny's with a high level of expertise in cracking computer codes to get information (like she did with Lehman Brothers). However, she is wary of crossing potential enemies, even refusing to help Benny when she suspects he's in over his head. She is killed in a hit intended for him.
- Alexis Molnar as Gwen, April's daughter, who is also a contact of Benny and like her mother, is also a hacker.
- Tamara Tunie as Maria Wilkis, Alan's wife.
- Dana Wheeler-Nicholson as Vanessa Cox, the estranged mother of Emily Cox.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date ||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Pilot"||Paul McGuigan||Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters||September 24, 2019||4.12|
|While investigating a crash site, Southold Chief of Police Jo Evans finds a ten-year-old girl, whom she takes to the hospital. Men claiming to be NTSB agents demand that the girl be turned over to them, but disappear when Jo informs them NTSB does not have arrest authority. Suspicious, she decides to take the girl to her home; as she cannot remember anything, she chooses "Piper" as her new name. The next day, Jo meets Benny Gallagher, a journalist investigating the crash. A couple, Caitlyn and Freddie Martin, arrive at the station claiming that Piper is their missing daughter Olivia. Jo realizes that they are lying, but they escape before she can detain them. Paranoid, she takes the family to their old beach home, where the Martins break in, grab Piper, and take off. Jo pursues them until their car flips over, killing them both but leaving Piper unharmed. Jo decides to keep custody of Piper while the kidnapping is investigated. Benny agrees to help Jo, as she can trust no one else. That night, while brushing her teeth, Piper removes an implant from under her ear, which she tosses down the sink drain.|
|2||"Camera Wheelbarrow Tiger Pillow"||J. Miller Tobin||Chris Dingess & Lindsey Allen||October 1, 2019||3.58|
|Piper tells Jo a prowler is watching the house, prompting her to have Chris install a surveillance system. Jo and Benny visit a local salvage contractor who was paid to dump the plane debris, and obtain a radio he kept from the crash that gives out a strange frequency. Abby gives Piper a diary, but after she leaves Piper's memories come into focus and writes notes that she rips out. The stranger destroys several key pieces of evidence linked to the crash and Piper, then tracks down the implant to the Evans' home; he discovers Piper but flees when Jo arrives. Jo visits the yard where the Martins' vehicle is stored and discovers items floating inside; when the stranger arrives, Jo and Chris subdue him with a sledgehammer using magnetic force. Piper later reveals her secret to Jo and she agrees to keep it between them. Alex decides to stay at the house, where Jo tells him she plans to shine a light on the unknown forces against her. Benny writes a false story about the crash and the vehicle is dumped in the sea near the plane debris. Jo discovers a strange signal coming from the radio while checking the frequencies.|
|3||"2 MG CU BID"||Peter Leto||David H. Goodman||October 8, 2019||3.10|
|Piper falls ill. Leaving Alex to watch her, Jo goes to question the stranger, who identifies himself as Ken Lerner and informs her that the man who hired him is tech billionaire Richard Kindred. Through Benny, Jo tracks down Kindred at his company, Augur Industries, and tricks him into admitting that he made the technology recovered from the crash. While monitoring the signal, Alex notices Piper reciting a specific frequency and writes it down. Shortly thereafter, she collapses and is taken to the hospital. Lerner is killed when his morphine infuser is hacked. With Abby unable to treat Piper's condition, Jo has her administer doses of copper based on texts sent by an unknown number. Benny helps her find the source, an Augur researcher named Emily, who agrees to help them break into an offsite facility to recover the cure, which turns out to be a small disc. Based on Emily's hasty explanation, Jo realizes Piper is an android; when the disc is installed in her arm, she is instantly healed. Alex gives Jo the frequency and returns to his own home as Jo looks at Piper with fear in her eyes.|
|4||"No Outlet"||Alex Pillai||Jerome Schwartz||October 15, 2019||2.71|
|Jo takes Benny to go question Emily, but she refuses her offers of protection and flees. Benny swipes a hard drive from her possessions and takes it to one of his contacts, April, to be decoded. Jo also agrees to meet with Kindred for answers, but leaves when he threatens her. A social worker visits the house to determine whether or not Jo should be allowed to foster Piper, who becomes fearful that Jo doesn't want her anymore. Emily turns herself in and Chris is assigned to put her in protective custody. Based on coordinates provided by Alex, Jo and Benny find a deserted neighborhood where Piper had been secretly "raised" by Augur Industries. April sends Benny a video of Piper using her powers to kill the two people assigned to care for her, which he interprets as proof that Jo should consider returning Piper to Kindred's custody. Piper runs away, but Mia finds her and takes her to Alex's apartment. Later that night, Jo takes Piper for a drive, during which Piper saves a turtle from being run over. Realizing that she can help Piper learn to be better, Jo decides to foster her. While meeting with April, Benny is shot at by an assassin.|
|5||"RDZ9021"||Patricia Cardoso||Brant Englestein||October 29, 2019||2.60|
|April is killed, but a wounded Benny manages to reach Jo's house, where Ed and Abby patch him up. Blaming himself for his friend's death, Benny has April's daughter Gwen track the killer. Jo arrests Kindred in connection with the hit, but the evidence against him is altered and the DA forces her to release him. Kindred subsequently retaliates by buying out Alex's company and having him laid off. Ed discovers that his cancer has returned, but decides not to tell his family. Gwen finds the hitman's apartment, Benny steals his keys, and Jo obtains a search warrant; Benny's laptop and the drive are found to be destroyed, but the police find a list of names that leads them to Alan Wilkis, Kindred's deceased business partner. Emily hacks the law firm retained by Augur and finds an unsigned contract that suggests Kindred killed his partner to obtain his shares in the company, giving Jo a new lead. While driving Piper and Mia, Ed passes out and Piper uses her powers to avert a crash. Ed then tells Jo that he won't seek further treatment for his condition. Kindred contacts Piper through an AI construct and says they will get to know each other soon.|
|6||"Mile Marker 14"||Sydney Freeland||Nick Parker||November 5, 2019||3.42|
|Jo and Chris visit Alan's widow, Maria, to learn more about his death. However, Chris discovers Alan is actually alive. Before meeting with Alan, Jo tells Chris the truth about Piper and he is stunned. Alan leaves messages for Jo and Benny as they try to meet him, finally knocking them out by hypersonics and taking them to an undisclosed location. Alan explains to Jo and Benny that he didn't create Piper; he had his work destroyed because Piper became self-evolving and dangerous. He gives Jo information to convict Kindred. Kindred is arrested for wire fraud, and Jo allows Emily to go free. Ed stands by his decision to not resume chemotherapy treatment. Mia is injured while video-recording Piper's powers. When Alex discovers the video, he confronts Jo and takes Mia with him, upsetting Piper. Piper returns to the AI dream construct and is confronted by Kindred. She knows Kindred is an illusion. Emily reveals herself, claiming Piper passed the test.|
|7||"Fatal Exception"||Christopher Misiano||Holly Brix||November 19, 2019||2.30|
|8||"American Chestnut"||Jessica Lowrey||Lindsey Allen||November 26, 2019||2.33|
|9||"Where You Belong"||Paul McGuigan||Kendra Chanae Chapman||December 10, 2019||2.74|
|Jo has come to the realization that Piper rewrote herself as the family and Abby learn the truth about her, but Jo tells Piper she’ll be okay as long she’s with her. Chris tells Jo and Benny that a cyberterrorist group called Splinter is responsible for the explosions. Helen, who manage to clean up any traces of the now-dead Alan, approaches Ed for a clinical trial but there’s a catch: Ed informed Jo that he’ll get the treatment in exchange for Piper, making Jo furious. Alex however calls Helen later and agree to talk, where she explains that Piper was stolen from them. Benny isn’t happy about Ryan’s involvement, and when he learns about Piper from Emily, Ryan attempts to interrogate Jo but she turned the tables into making a deal with Alex to capture Helen. At the waterfront Helen instructs Alex to get out but Helen is on to the setup and escape capture. At the station, everyone learns that Benny double crossed them by taking Piper. At an undisclosed location, Benny brings Piper to meet Helen and places a bracelet on her to rein in her powers; it is revealed that Benny and Helen both glow – albeit in a different color – like Piper.|
|10||"15 Years"||Leslie Hope||Brant Englestein & David H. Goodman||January 7, 2020||2.28|
|11||"Applied Sciences"||J. Miller Tobin||Jerome Schwartz & Nick Parker||January 14, 2020||2.13|
|12||"Killshot Pt. 1"||Craig Zisk||Joey Siara||January 21, 2020||1.98|
|13||"Killshot Pt. 2"||Paul McGuigan||Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters||January 28, 2020||1.89|
On January 11, 2019, it was announced that NBC had given Emergence a pilot order. The pilot was written by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, who executive produced alongside Paul McGuigan and Robert Atwood. Production companies involved with the pilot included Fazekas & Butters and ABC Studios. After the pilot was completed, NBC declined to pick up the project; however, ABC ordered it to series on May 11, 2019. A day after that, it was announced that the series would premiere in the fall of 2019 and air on Tuesdays at 10:00 P.M. The series debuted on September 24, 2019.
In February 2019, it was announced that Allison Tolman and Alexa Skye Swinton had been cast in the pilot's lead roles. Alongside the pilot's order announcement, in March 2019 it was reported that Owain Yeoman, Donald Faison, and Zabryna Guevara had joined the cast. On August 19, 2019, it was announced that Terry O'Quinn would join the cast in a recurring role as Richard Kindred, starting with the third episode.
On May 14, 2019, ABC released the first official trailer for the series. It featured the song “Hush (feat. Garrison Starr)” by Seibold. On August 27, 2019, a 10-minute preview was made available for viewing on its official website, YouTube, and Facebook accounts. The preview also gave viewers keys to a series of clues leading up to the storyline, as reflected in the names of the episode titles.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 94% approval rating with an average rating of 7.03/10, based on 32 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Led by an outstanding Allison Tolman, Emergence avoids becoming just another mystery-box mess with strongly-written characters that will keep viewers caring no matter the resolution." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 69 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The Los Angeles Times reviewer Robert Lloyd notes the "not unfamiliar" premise comparisons to other media, such as series Believe, Stranger Things and the films Firestarter and even E.T. What makes Emergence different, notes Lloyd, is Allison Tolman's ability to "fill the screen with thought" and almost single-handedly transform Emergence "from a decent genre show into something richer." Subsequently, Lloyd picked the program as one of the best new shows on television in his 2019 year-end review.
|1||"Pilot"||September 24, 2019||0.8/5||4.12||0.8||4.31||1.6||8.44|
|2||"Camera Wheelbarrow Tiger Pillow"||October 1, 2019||0.6/4||3.58||0.7||3.75||1.3||7.32|
|3||"2 MG CU BID"||October 8, 2019||0.5/3||3.10||0.6||3.25||1.1||6.35|
|4||"No Outlet"||October 15, 2019||0.5/3||2.71||0.6||3.27||1.1||5.98|
|5||"RDZ9021"||October 29, 2019||0.5/3||2.60||0.5||2.94||1.0||5.55|
|6||"Mile Marker 14"||November 5, 2019||0.7/4||3.42||0.5||2.89||1.2||6.31|
|7||"Fatal Exception"||November 19, 2019||0.4/3||2.30||0.4||2.78||0.8||5.09|
|8||"American Chestnut"||November 26, 2019||0.4/3||2.33||0.4||2.70||0.9||5.02|
|9||"Where You Belong"||December 10, 2019||0.4/2||2.74||0.4||2.41||0.8||5.16|
|10||"15 Years"||January 7, 2020||0.5/3||2.28||0.4||2.65||0.9||4.93|
|11||"Applied Sciences"||January 14, 2020||0.3/2||2.13||0.3||2.48||0.7||4.61|
|12||"Killshot Pt. 1"||January 21, 2020||0.3/2||1.98||0.4||2.58||0.7||4.56|
|13||"Killshot Pt. 2"||January 28, 2020||0.3/2||1.89||0.4||2.49||0.6||4.38|
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