The odd thing about “Limitless” is that it seems intent on limiting its own potential by morphing into a semi-standard crime procedural instead of something more adventurous.
Based on the 2011 movie starring Bradley Cooper, who reprises his character in a cameo here and serves as one of the show’s many producers, “Limitless” is built around Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), a musician who finds himself basically washed up in his late 20s.
Brian is working a temp job in some corporate office when he runs into an old bandmate who has become super successful. His friend offers him a pill that he says will transform Brian’s life. Brian, not having much of a life, takes the pill.
The next thing he knows his brain has been transformed: He can remember everything he’s ever seen or known, he can instantly analyze situations, he’s a full-on mega-genius. Only problem is, the pill wears off. So Brian goes to visit his old friend again and encounters an even bigger problem: His friend has been murdered.
Which leads to Brian needing another pill so he can solve the murder. Luckily, a charismatic U.S. Senator (Cooper) steps in and sets Brian on a path that will keep him popping pills. All he has to do is team up with an F.B.I. agent (Jennifer Carpenter) and solve complicated crimes.
So, basically, this is a drug-fueled Sherlock Holmes situation, although Brian does something so monumentally stupid while supposedly in his smart state at the show’s beginning that it comes close to undermining the show’s premise.
Luckily McDorman, who appeared in “American Sniper” with Cooper, has an easygoing charm that helps right the boat. But let’s hope that boat sails somewhere more interesting than crime-of-the-week waters.
10 p.m. Tuesdays
CBS (Channel 62)