The premise of the show centered around a brilliant neuroscientist Daniel Pierce, who splits his time between his duties as a college professor and as an FBI consultant, while straddling the fragile line between reality and his own battle with paranoid schizophrenia.
Another important aspect of the show was the lead female character, FBI agent Kate Moretti, who preferred advancing her career to getting married and did not want to have children. She also was a lapsed Catholic who was not enthused about getting reacquainted with the narrow-minded rules of the church. Aside from the adamantly atheist Temperance Brennan on “Bones”, not enough characters — much less, female characters — question the institutionalized misogyny and patriarchy of religion.
Which brings me to another reason the Daniel Pierce character was such a refreshing persona — he was never afraid to call “Bullshit!” on any social, cultural, political, governmental, or religious roadblock thrown in his way during an investigation.
Where “Perception” truly shined was in its portrayal of mental illness when Daniel would experience hallucinations of past loves or family members or even random people that helped him solve cases. The spot-on writing combined with the wonderful acting of Eric McCormack humanized the misunderstood condition of schizophrenia. In fact, the opener for Season 3 was one of the best-written episodes on television that I have seen IN YEARS. It was an incredible example of suspenseful and meaningful storytelling while further exploring the often-stigmatized issues of mental health.
For me personally, I appreciated that “Perception” was a mostly intellectual show that left the grisly aspect of murders to other shows that sensationalize gore and violence for ratings. And there’s the rub — I bet “Perception” was not hitting the numbers of the ratings game, and so, a great show got the axe.
As a nerd, I grew up watching the arts, literature, and science programming of channels such as A&E, TLC, Discovery, et al., which have now mostly sold-out to reality show drivel. Now, the cancellation of TNT’s “Perception” is another death knell for quality programming that stimulates the mind. There really isn’t enough mind candy on television anymore.