The pilot starts with Kirsten Clark (Emma Ishta) already inside the memories of a dead bomber’s brain. She goes from a memory of the guy with his girlfriend to another memory where the same man sets off a bomb. The bomb explodes while Kirsten is still in the memory.
Flashback to ten hours earlier. Kirsten has been called in to a meeting with Caltech’s Dean Jerome Hardwyck. Kirsten’s roommate, Camille (Allison Scagliotti), accuses her of sabotaging her research project in order to get published first. She wants Kirsten put on full academic suspension while the university investigates her claim. Kirsten doesn’t see any reason why should would sabotage Camille’s research, since she considers Camille’s work shoddy. (Ouch).
Clearly Camille and Kirsten’s issues go beyond academic rivalry. Camille is sick of Kirsten leaving dirty dishes in the sink and Kirsten is annoyed about the time she walked in on Camille getting busy with a guy. Basically, they both hate each other.
Kirsten suggests that Camille sabotaged her own work as a way to get Kirsten suspended. Camille offers to take a polygraph. Kirsten, however, would fail a polygraph because of her temporal dysplasia.
Kirsten uses her hacking skills to fix Camille’s project. However, that’s not enough to reverse Caltech’s decision to temporarily suspend Kirsten from the PhD program.
As Kirsten is leaving, Detective Fisher from the LAPD breaks the news to Kirsten that her father is dead. While identifying the body of Ed Clark, we get a flashback of a man leaving a house. A young Kirsten begs him to turn around. Ed Clark is with Kirsten while they watch the man leave.
Detective Fisher is confident that it was a suicide, but Kirsten thinks he was murdered. Kirsten brings up some good questions. Why would Ed Clark shot himself in the chest instead of the head? Why shoot himself with his right hand when he was left-handed? Kirsten demands copies of the crime scene photos.
Detective Fisher starts interrogating Kirsten. He doesn’t think Kirsten killed her dad, but he wants to know why they weren’t close. He’s disturbed by her lack of emotion after seeing the man who raised her dead on a gurney.
While Detective Fisher is distracted by news footage of a bomb explosion at the company Applied Holographics, Kirsten snaps a photo of Detective Fisher’s computer screen. (He’s got the crime scene pictures displayed on his computer).
Kirsten comes home to find her roommate Camille packing up Kirsten’s stuff. Camille plans to sue Kirsten for academic sabotage. Despite getting kicked out of her house, Kirsten once again doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction.
She is upset, however, when she find herself locked out of Caltech’s university computer system. Did she forget she’s on academic suspension? Kirsten insults Camille by suggesting that she sleep with Dean Hardwyck to increase her GPA. She follows up that insult with a request. She wants to borrow Camille’s laptop to hack into the LAPD data server and gain access to the police files. Camille refuses. Kirsten would have a better chance of breaking into Hardwyck’s office and using his computer than getting Camille to hand over hers. Kirsten takes that suggestion literally.
Kirsten successfully breaks in the Dean’s office and hacks into the LAPD server. She notices one of Ed Clark’s books missing in the crime scene photos. Suddenly, armed government agents swoop in and kidnap Kirsten.
Kirsten is taking to a downtown LA Chinese restaurant where she meets Maggie (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), head of the Stitchers Program. Kirsten explains that the dead man, Ed Clark, wasn’t really her father. She stayed with Ed when her real father abandoned her after the death of Kirsten’s mother. Kirsten was eight years old at the time. Ed and Kirsten weren’t close and Ed never formally adopted her.
Kirsten didn’t feel anything when she saw Ed’s dead body because of her temporal dysplasia. She has no time perception, so a minute can feel like an hour. She can only use memory, logic and math to approximate a time difference. She doesn’t know what time feels like. She had no reaction to Ed’s death because the moment she saw his body, it was as though he had been dead forever. The moment she saw him dead was instantly familiar.
Maggie wants to recruit Kirsten into the Stitchers Program. They are investigating a time-sensitive crime and Kirsten’s temporal dysplasia makes her the perfect candidate for the job.
Kirsten isn’t interested, but Maggie points out the realities of Kirsten’s situation. She is on academic suspension and has nowhere to live. Her doctoral dreams are ruined. The only person who may have cared about her is now dead. With no money and nowhere to go, Kirsten’s only choice is to join the Stitchers program.
There’s a hidden elevator in the back of the Chinese restaurant, which takes them 200 meters underground to the headquarters of the Stitchers Program.
Kirsten meets Cameron (Kyle Harris), a neuroscientist working on the Stitchers Program. He wants Kirsten to get a psych evaluation, but Maggie doesn’t think there’s time. Cameron gives her his own psych evaluation, which consists of asking her why she doesn’t have any friends and calling her stupid.
Here’s how ‘stitching’ works. They slow down deterioration of the brain and then insert a living consciousness into the dead person’s memories. They want Kirsten to access and interpret those memories.
It doesn’t seem like stitching is a safe process. Only one person, Marta, has been stitched before. She couldn’t handle the process and is no longer with the program.
The bomb explosion that killed Peter Brandt in his apartment yesterday was an accident, but another bomb exploded later at a high tech firm (Applied Holographics) in Santa Monica. Peter purchased enough materials to make four bombs. They need Kirsten to go into Peter’s memories and find the two bombs that are unaccounted for.
While inside the memories, Kirsten’s mind will project an image of herself as if she were actually there. Kirsten isn’t too pleased with the Catwoman outfit she has to wear, but the outfit helps make a better connection between her skin and the sensors. Kirsten meets Linus (Ritesh Rajan), the bioelectrical engineer and communications technician who created the suit.
Kirsten will communicate with Cameron, who will be driving the memories. Once inside, she’ll be pulled into emotionally charged memories. During the stitch, Kirsten is submerged in ‘the fish tank’. There are keyboards she’ll use to bounce herself out of the memory.
She accesses Peter’s memory of his girlfriend, Julie. She hears cell phone tones in the background. When she touches Julie, the signal fails and her brain goes into overdrive. She sees that Julie Malarek was angry that someone stole something from her. As an agitated Julie tells Brandt about the theft, she gets hit by a bus and dies. Kirsten sees another memory of Peter at Julie’s funeral. Peter angrily blames a man for Julie’s death.
Kirsten then enters Peter’s memory of building a bomb in his apartment. Kirsten realizes that the bomb in Peter’s apartment wasn’t an accident. It was suicide. Peter’s brain starts collapsing and Kirsten has to bounce out of the memory.
Kirsten jumps out of the fish tank. Still affected by Peter’s memories, Kirsten kisses Cameron and says “I’m so sorry Julie”. Kirsten collapses in Cameron’s arms.
Kirsten wakes up in Cameron’s bed, no longer wearing the Catwoman suit. She mistakenly thinks Cameron took advantage of her while she was sleeping, so she slaps him. She also has no memory of kissing Cameron.
Back at the lab, Linus tells them that Peter’s girlfriend Julie studied applied holographics. They realize Peter set off the bombs to get revenge after Applied Holographics stole Julie’s research.
They can’t go back into Peter’s memories because his brain has already deteriorated. Kirsten remembers seeing an emotionally-charged memory of a blue door and Sepulveda Blvd in the stitch. Two teams have been searching for blue doors on Sepulveda Blvd without any luck. They have no idea when the next bomb will go off, so the clock is ticking.
Kirsten and Cameron decide to find the blue door themselves. First stop: Camille’s place. Kirsten asks for her help to stop a bomber. Of course, Camille thinks Kirsten is delusional and threatens to tase them. Kirsten wants to use Caltech’s computer system to run a search for blue doors on Sepulveda Blvd. Camille decides to help Kirsten, but only after Cameron calls them both stupid.
Camille suggests that the blue door is not a literal door. They realize the blue door in Peter’s memory symbolizes Blue Door Consulting. Blue Door Consulting sold Julie’s research to Applied Holographics.
Kirsten and Cameron head to Jane Pica’s house. Jane was the Dean of electrical engineering and the president of Blue Door Consulting. They arrive just in time. A moment after stopping Jane Pica from heading inside, her house explodes. Jane reluctantly gives them the name of the man Peter blamed for Julie’s death, Fred Castillano.
Kirsten and Cameron look for Fred Castillano at UC Santa Monica. They’ve finally pieced everything together. Fred funneled Julie’s research to Jane Pica. Jane sold the research to Applied Holographics. Jane got rich, Fred got a finder’s fee, Julie got screwed and Peter got revenge.
Cameron is about to head to Fred Castillano’s office, but Kirsten remembers that Peter planted the bomb in the basement. They find Fred tied up in the basement with the bomb attached to him. Any move he makes with detonate the bomb. Fred sobs, wracked with guilt over Julie’s death.
Kirsten tells Cameron to get out before the bomb explodes. Cameron may be a nerd, but he’s not a coward. He refuses to leave and reminds Kirsten of the cell phone tones she heard in Peter’s memories.
Kirsten recalls the tones and figures out the code to deactivate the bomb. The code, 58543, spelled ‘JULIE’.
Kirsten cries as she relives a memory of Brandt crying right before he killed himself. Surprised by her unprecedented display of emotion, she wipes a tear away.
Detective Fisher rushes in with his gun drawn. When Kirsten refuses to tell Detective Fisher what she was doing in the basement, he threatens to arrest them. Maggie shows up to rescue them, showing a NSA-ish badge to Detective Fisher.
Maggie is furious that Cameron and Kirsten almost got caught. The agency threatened to yank funding, but Maggie convinced them to give the Stitchers Program another chance.
Kirsten didn’t want to be a Stitcher anyway, so she has no problem quitting. Cameron tries to reason with her and Kirsten reveals that the emotions of the stitching process got to her.
Being stitched made Kirsten feel things she had never felt before. When Kirsten was little, she used flashcards of human faces to learn how to identify human emotions. After being stitched, Kirsten now knows what grief, anger and love feels like. She’s not a fan of feeling those emotions, so she’s out.
Maggie brings out the big guns in a last ditch attempt to keep Kirsten from walking out. She reveals that the Stitchers program will look into Ed Clark’s death. Turns out Ed Clark was a research scientist. He and his partner developed the stitchers technology. Maggie doesn’t believe Ed Clark killd himself. The kicker? Ed Clark’s partner was Dr. Daniel Stinger, Kirsten’s biological father.
With that bombshell reveal, Kirsten changes her mind. All she knows about her dad is that he abandoned her and didn’t want kids, but she’s ready to find out more. And the Stitchers program will be the perfect way to solve Ed Clark’s murder. She’s in.
The Stitchers pilot did a good job of explaining the sci-fi premise and introducing the Stitchers team. Looking forward to watching Kirsten solve crimes while also investigating the death of the man who raised her. The fast-paced banter, especially seen in Kirsten’s interactions with Cameron and Camille, added some humor. And there may be some interesting sexual tension developing between Cameron and Kirsten.
What do you think of ABC Family’s new original series Stitchers? Will you be tuning in?