Unaired pilot (2007)
Lee Tergesen was cast in the lead role as Detective Brian
Spicer in the pilot for a show called "AMPED" for cable network
Production of the pilot occurred during October
2006 in Vancouver. However, Spike did not pick up "AMPED" as a
The cable network's press release on Oct. 2,
2006, had described the show as follows: "Set in present-day Minneapolis,
'AMPED' centers on a group of police detectives and officers as they deal with a small-but-growing percentage of the population that is falling prey to strange genetic mutations, causing them to do destructive things to the city and those around them."
The release also described Lee's character:
"Lee Tergesen has been cast in the lead role of Detective Brian Spicer, a sensitive and quick-thinking homicide officer who is legendary in the Department for being fearless and level-headed."
Lee's co-star was Tony Curran, as Detective Mark
Jacocks, who is described as a tough cop who imparts his own special brand of survival philosophy onto rookies and whose method clashes with
Sarah Joy Brown, a three-time Daytime Emmy
Award winner, played Detective Katrina Cabrera -- Spicer's
partner. Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Josh Biton and Troy Winbush round out the cast.
"AMPED" seemed like it had a good
chance because of the showrunners' terrific pedigree. Co-creators Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan were longtime executive producers on "The X-Files"
and wrote many episodes of that long-running science fiction series.
In an interview with Hollywood North Report, Spotnitz
had described "AMPED" as scary, yet funny.
"The idea is that the world has changed," Spotnitz said. "It's a very dangerous world. A certain percentage of the population are mutating and turning into monsters. And it depends on your specific DNA what type of monster you become. So the cops who work in this precinct go out
every day and they literally don't know what they're going to encounter."
SNEAK PEEK FROM THE SCRIPT (SEE
"AMPED" is a cop show with the added dimension of
having to deal with mutated people who are completely unpredictable
in their behavior -- and their appearance.
Based on an early script, here's the
description of one that a pair of patrolmen pick up: "He was
human once, but now ... he's got yellow eyes. Blue-black gums. The
skin around his eyes has some kind of disturbing high-speed twitch
A mutated woman is described: She looks
different, but she does share the traits of yellow eyes and black
gums. "She's a wild, howling creature, fighting the two uniform
cops the entire way. She's as strong as a man, and scary."
The mutated people are known by a whole host of
derogatory names: Amp Heads, Boilers, Cob Mouths, Klingons, Piss
Eyes, Prune Heads, Screaming Yellow Monkeys, etc. The PC term is
"mutated individuals" or "mutational
Lee's character, Detective Brian Spicer, is
first introduced while speaking to a group of school children. He is
described in the script like so: "He's mid-30s, handsome and
substantial. Soft-spoken. Not hard-edged like Detective Jacocks,
he'd nonetheless be an even match for the man."
Here's what he tells the kids about mutated
They're not all violent. Even the ones
who are don't always mean to be. They're not thinking straight.
They're confused. That doesn't make them bad people. It's just
what the mutation does. ... That's the way it is with this
disease, AMP. A-M-P, it stands for Aggressive Mutagenic
Pathogen. ... That's a lot of big words to say nobody knows what
we're dealing with.
Spicer's partner is Detective Katrina Cabrera
(played by actress Sarah Joy Brown). Here's how she's described in
the script: "She's a bit younger than Spicer and just as
professional. Though she dresses to downplay it, the letters H, O
and T spring to mind." The script also indicates that she
respects Spicer greatly.
A scene between a rookie cop and her training
officer describes how Spicer earned the respect of everyone. The
incident is legendary, apparently. It was two years ago, before most
people had even seen an "active" yet. Spicer was still a
He and his partner got a call that a home alarm
went off. It seemed routine, but it was an ambush. As soon as the
partner stepped out of the car, two of the "things"
attacked and killed him instantly -- sliced him open right through
his vest. A third monster attacked Spicer and ripped a chunk out of his
shoulder. Spicer managed to draw his gun with his weak hand and
fired a bullet into the mutant's eye.
Meanwhile, as the training officer tells it:
The other two AMPs are dragging his partner
away. So Spicer, bleeding like a spigot, pops loose the shotgun
and goes after 'em. Chases 'em up a steep hillside, weeds like
out of a Tarzan movie. Chases 'em a half a mile. Kills both of
them -- but not before they do another 40 stitches' worth of
damage to him. Air unit finally finds him, half dead, guarding
his partner's body.
Both the trainee and the training officer are
respectful. "This is a cop's cop."
From there, the trainee arrests an
"active" who is suspected of a killing. The rest of the
show is devoted to solving the crime -- much like any detective/cop
show. It's a good mystery, with solid characters. The edginess
between Spicer and Detective Jacocks is apparent. They are civil to
one another, but it's clear they have a different attitude toward
the mutants. Jacocks is much more calloused and aggressive. Spicer,
despite his initial violent run-in with them, is compassionate.
Later, after the crime is solved, we learn a
major reason why. Spicer visits a halfway house -- kind of a nursing
home for actives. He enters one particular room...
Spicer silently pulls up a chair, sits down
beside an "active female patient" asleep in her bed.
We stay at a distance -- we can't see much of the young woman's
face. Her wrists are strapped to the steel bedframe. Spicer puts
a hand atop her hand and just sits with her. In the foreground a
staffer softly closes the door, not wishing to disturb. As she
does, a name card swings into view: "Cynthia Spicer."