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Touch and go

Fox drama puts gifted boy, his father in danger

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The numbers don't lie. But the truth they're offering adds up to some pretty dark and dangerous stuff.

Unfortunately for Martin Bohm, a head-on collision with the most perilous of permutations and numerical combinations is inevitable as he seeks to understand what his gifted son, Jake, knows about numbers and patterns while at the same time protecting him from evil entities that seek to exploit the boy's extraordinary knowledge.

Yes, the stakes have been raised as the Fox drama Touch begins its second season, with Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) on the run as various factions of an international corporate conglomerate called Aster Corp. increase their efforts to locate, abduct and perhaps kill Jake (David Mazouz).

As Touch's long-delayed sophomore campaign finally begins, Martin's flight from danger has taken him and Jake all the way across the continental U.S. to California, where at last season's end they encountered Lucy Robbins (Maria Bello), whose daughter, Amelia (Saxon Sharbino), has been missing for three years and was apparently targeted because she possesses gifts similar to Jake's.

Lucy has been told that her daughter is dead; she doesn't believe it, and her not-so-chance meeting with Martin and Jake on the Santa Monica Pier strengthens her belief that Amelia is alive and can be found.

Martin, Jake and Lucy form an uneasy alliance with their main focus being an all-out effort to find Amelia. Martin has a friend -- a former colleague from his days as a newspaper reporter -- whose connections and online resources could help them turn a few numerical clues into a solid lead regarding the missing girl's location.

Meanwhile, over at the evil empire known as Aster Corp., a genius mathematician named Calvin Norburg (Lukas Haas) is on the verge of a career-defining algorithmic discovery, but he's having second thoughts about turning its results over to a for-profit company that might use the information for nefarious purposes.

When he tries to extricate himself from his Aster Corp. contract, Calvin is told in no uncertain terms that there's really no way out. Frustrated, he uses a scheduled speech before the company's shareholders to lambaste his employers for their less-than-noble motives.

Across the pond in Brussels, a mysterious man named Guillermo Ortiz (Said Taghmaoui) is searching for a uniquely gifted composer who wrote one perfect piece of music and then quit, going underground and working as a baker. When he finds the musician, a discussion of the divine beauty of art has rather distressing results.

As is always the case in Touch, these events -- indeed, all events -- are connected by patterns and paths toward destiny that only Jake and his ilk can understand. And the fun of the storyline is watching as non-gifted types such as Martin and Lucy struggle to make sense of the complexities their offspring have forced them to consider.

Equally entertaining, still, is watching Sutherland in a post-Jack Bauer role in which dangerous encounters and physical confrontations (which become more frequent as Jake is drawn closer to his version of the truth) don't always end with the good guy winning.

Touch isn't ever going to be a big, mainstream hit, because the appeal of its numbers-based narrative is sure to elude a big slice of the couchbound crowd. But for those who are drawn to this show's labyrinthian logic and ethereal imaginings about the order of all things, Touch continues to be a drama that can satisfy its followers while providing Fox with ratings numbers that meet modest Friday-night expectations and could justify a sustained prime-time run. Twitter: @BradOswald



Starring Kiefer Sutherland, David Mazouz and Maria Bello

Friday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m.

Fox and Global

3 1/2 stars out of 5

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2013 C3

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