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Series / Touch (2012)

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Left to right: David Mazouz as Jake Bohm and Kiefer Sutherland as Martin Bohm.

A 2012 series produced by Tim Kring and starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Since Martin Bohm's wife died in the September 11 New York attacks, he's been raising his mute, number-obsessed son Jacob as best he can. Jacob has a strange ability to see complex patterns in the world, and does his best to help people who need to connect one another for the better. Upon finding his son's ability, Martin tries to help, but since Jacob mostly communicates through scrawling numbers, wandering off into crowds, and apparently making a nuisance of himself, it's not easy for him to work out what he's doing, or why.

In addition to Martin's struggles with his son, the show has several characters who seem to be wound up in the patterns Jacob sees, such as two teenagers in occupied Iraq trying to achieve fame in the wartorn country and the fireman who attempted to save Martin's wife, trying to make up for his failure.

A severe ratings crash during the show's (delayed) second season led to Fox canceling it only one day before its finale in May 2013. As with Dollhouse, this means the show ended after only two half-length seasons of 13 episodes each.

Not to be confused with the manga Touch (1981).


  • 555: Generally averted, but the number 555-0101 appears in one episode.
  • Affably Evil: Nicole Farington, the CEO of Aster Corps
  • Anti-Villain: In a strange way, Guillermo, though he doesn't really fit into any of the four basic categories, probably coming closest to a type III. He'll stop at nothing to kill all of the 36—ending with himself—but when it became unavoidable for him to kill someone who wasn't one of the 36 in order for his mission to continue, it resulted in him having a severe crisis of faith that was only resolved when he saved the life of a man begging for death.
    • The Norberg family. They kidnapped Amelia and kept her away from her mother to study her brain in hopes of finding a cure for neurological diseases, like brain damage, which is the case of William, the younger son.
  • Arc Number: Each episode has a different Arc Number which Martin must follow. For example, the pilot episode has 318, which is both the time at which Martin encounters a former firefighter and inadvertently fights with (causing him to miss his train) AND the number on the bus whose passengers said ex-firefighter saves because he happened to miss his train.
    • There seems to be an arc number for every episode, given how Jake sees things in numbers. However, the arc numbers seem to be becoming more than just numbers, but also symbols and names associated with the numbers.
    • Something about Room 6 has definitely caught Jake's attention. It looks like somebody is in there, despite a statement from the intstitute's director saying otherwise - though whether that's a lie or something far more sinister remains to be seen.
      • It turns out the room was where Amelia, a child who has abilities similar to Jake, was being kept by the sinister organization that's trying to exploit her and Jake's abilities.
    • The Arc Numbers are revealed to all be part of a sequence that governs the connection between people's lives.
  • Arranged Marriage: In the episode "Entanglement", Norah and Sami are arranged to be married. Neither is too thrilled about the prospect; Norah wants the independence to study abroad, and Sami is already in love with a different girl. The engagement is called off when Sami works up the nerve to ask his coworker out, and Norah's father accepts his daughter is too intelligent and brave to not expand her horizons.
  • The Atoner: Many of the characters have this as their main motive, particularly Randall, a fireman who ended up leaving Martin's wife behind when trying to carry her out of one of the World Trade Center buildings.
    • Season 2 gives us Calvin Norberg, who's trying to atone for accidentally putting his brother in a vegetative state by using Amelia and trying to use Jake to fix the brain damage. Ironically, this turns him into a Well-Intentioned Extremist, causing him to do even worse things to accomplish his goal.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting Jake, for Martin. Unfortunately, his ability to act on it is compromised, given that he's not Jack Bauer.
  • Call-Back: The finale of Season one has a lot of these towards the first several episodes, such as a Fibonacci spiral and the return of Arnie, the Invisible Prince, and Randall.
    • One of the 36 turns out to be the wife of the salesman introduced in one of the pilot's storyline.
  • Catchphrase: It's no surprise that Martin says "Damn it!" a lot, given that his actor played in another hit series with the same catch phrase...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Too many to count
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The cell phone in the pilot.
  • Chinese Mythology: Jake narrates about the string of the gods.
  • The Chosen One: Jake is one of 36 individuals who can see the pattern of the whole life (The pattern of God) in numbers. A legend says that this 36 persons' presence prevents God from destroying the Earth, a direct reference to the Jewish concept of the Tzadikim Nistarim).
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Jake is mostly looking down.
  • Continuity Nod: In the episode "Gyre: Part 2", several characters Martin and Jake have encountered and helped make reappearances.
  • Contrived Coincidence: At least once an episode
  • Cute Mute: Jake. He speaks only in narration.
    • As of "Two of a Kind," not anymore.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first two episodes of season 2 are moving in this direction, particularly during scenes involving Guillermo, the religious zealot who appears to be on a mission to hunt down and kill all those who, like Jake, can see the patterns in the numbers.
  • De-power: Happens to Amelia in the series finale.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The pawn shop owner, Arnie, in the first episode.
    • Guillermo Ortiz.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Russian Mafia in Episode 2 has his son Pavel. He is clearly affected when his son asks his father if he hurts people for a living.
    • Season 2 gives us Calvin Norberg, for a given value of "evil". Everything he's doing he does to cure his brother, and the death of his mother devastates him
  • Evolutionary Levels: The Teller institute website says mutism might be an evolutionary step.
  • Expy: Amelia is one of River Tam. Had the show continued, she may well have developed psychic kick-ass powers...
    • Calvin Norberg's mother resembles the mother of a certain regenerating cheerleader from another Tim Kring series.
  • Failure Knight: The "Invisible Prince." He seeks to stop an insurance company from getting away with a billion dollar scam, but because he believes he must remain "invisible," he won't confront or talk to anyone. It's not until Martin uses his journalism connections that the company is exposed.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The plot circling around the cell phone.
  • Genki Girl: Soleil, who practically vibrates in every scene she appears in
  • Gold Burier: Martin refuses to take money from his wife's wealthy family.
  • Hates Being Touched: Jake. Martin recommends the CPS worker not touch him unless she wants to "spend the next three hours peeling him off the ceiling." He hugs Martin when they begin to understand each other.
    • In the first episode Martin is forced to scoop Jake up and carry him to a taxi to escape another man who figured out Martin was tricking him. Jake screams and writhes the whole way, and the first thing Martin says to him after tossing him in the taxi is, "I'm sorry, Jake, I had to! I'm sorry!"
  • Hope Spot: Jake and Amelia contact each other and both managed to escape from their guardians to meet. Martin and Lucy, following Jake's messages to Amelia and viceversa, found the meeting point. Lucy starts looking for Amelia and then she saw her at the distance, starts running to her...and then Amelia's taken away again in front of her.
    • Reunions contains 2 instances.
      • Calvin, with Jake's willing help (though in Jake's case, he plugged himself into Calvin's rig without consent in order to communicate with Amelia), manages to unlock the key to finally begin the healing process of his vegetative brother, William. When he tries it, the treatment appears to work, and the two brothers get to talk with each other for the first time in years. After Calvin decides to get a bit of rest, he's woken up by the volunteer nurse and discovers, to his horror, that all his work was undone, as his brother had regressed back into a vegetative state while he was sleeping.
      • In return for Jake's help, Calvin gave Martin and Lucy the location where Amelia was being held. They manage to rescue her from that place later that night , and mother and daughter are finally re-united. As Lucy and Amelia drive off to parts unknown, ready to make a fresh start, they see a trio of Aster Corp. SUVs bearing down on them at high speed, their occupants hell bent on getting Amelia back at whatever the cost. When Amelia figures out that there is absolutely no possibility of both her and Lucy escaping together, Lucy ends up making the hard decision and sacrifices herself to ensure Amelia escapes.
  • Irony: Guillermo's weapon of choice is a knife concealed in a pendant bearing the symbol of the Tree of Life.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Everybody who sees Lucy and Jake together, think she's his mother.
  • Knight Templar: Guillermo Ortiz. AND HOW!
  • Left Hanging: Most plot threads were neatly wrapped up in the second season (and by extension, series) finale - Aster Corps is brought down as Nicole Farington's plot is leaked to the world, and Amelia loses her powers. However, there were some mild Sequel Hooks left in place - Avram telling Martin that he is now the protector of the 36 as long as Jake is still a child, the final shot showing the cipher clicking all by itself.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Jake knows exactly how long he's been alive, to the hour.
  • Made of Iron: Guillermo, apparently, as of "Ghosts." He gets shot by Martin repeatedly and, despite wearing a bulletproof vest, he still got knocked off the edge of the roof, onto a car several stories below - and he still walked away anyway. Bear in mind, too, that he'd already had his leg slashed by Lucy.
  • The Mafiya: The Russian mob boss from Episode 2
  • Mama Bear: Lucy, Amelia's mother. She finds out an evil corporation kidnapped her daughter and faked her death. Lucy is desperate and not going to let anyone come between her and her daughter. This culminates with her hitting Calvin Norberg with her car.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Natalie gets a version of this, trying to reunite two people who have already met but who have been separated. It becomes clearly fairly early on that she's fallen in love with Paolo, the man in the pair, but she still soldiers on to reunite him with Celeste. she is unsuccessful in reuniting Paolo and Celeste, but in the intervening time Paolo has discovered her videos about her quest to do so and fallen in love with her
  • Meaningful Name: Bohm, arguably. David Bohm was a physicist who came up with the Hidden Variable interpretation of quantum physics, which sort of fits the premise of the show.
  • Mental World: In Ghosts, Amelia is revealed to be in one. In the next episode, Jake meets her there and she reveals it is the result of an experiment Calvin does on her and that Jake does on himself.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The details are sketchy, but it is heavily implied that Guillermo Ortiz's crusade against his fellow 35 Righteous Ones was born of self-hatred he experienced because, despite awesome mental abilities, he couldn't prevent the death of his wife and child.
  • Missing Mom: Died on 9/11.
  • Mr. Exposition: Avram. Doubles as As You Know on occasion, usually when talking to Jake about things that Jake should already know
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Into the second season, it's discovered that the 36 can psychically communicate with each other and recognize each others presence, which would have been helpful to the previous 36ers when Guillermo was after them...
  • Obfuscating Disability: Jake obviously understands more about the world than his surface actions might indicate.
  • Once an Episode: A pair of Japanese teenage girls in the first season are shown in numerous spots as they travel the world and vlog about their experiences. They rarely affect or are affected by the long-running plot but are shown either in locations for that episode or interacting with characters from that episode.
  • Pac Man Fever: A variant. Episode 2x01 has Jake playing Donkey Kong, with actual sound effects from the game. However, in the next scene of him playing, the sound is the death sound, followed by the level start music, which doesn't match what's happening on the screen (Mario completing the stage). Also, the "Bonus" number, which in the game counts down and serves as the timer, is here counting up so that an Arc Number can be seen.
  • Parents Are Wrong: One episode involves a Saudi teenager who aspires to be a doctor, but whose parents have earmarked her for an Arranged Marriage. After she runs away from home with a friend and they end up delivering a woman's baby in the middle of the desert, her dad decides to let her go to medical school after all. It probably helps that in the same episode, her betrothed ends up marrying a woman overseas, making the arranged marriage moot anyway.
  • Pride: Martin had all money from his wife and her family put into a trust for Jake to stop them from thinking him a Gold Digger.
  • Red String of Fate: Jake references a Chinese variant where your red string is attached to everyone you will affect in your life.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Lucy.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The friendship between Soleil and Jake.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the pilot. Understandable, given that the pilot aired two months before the first episode.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Vikash Nayar, the entrepreneur who offers to partner with Calvin, and Trevor, the mysterious old friend who shelters the Bohm's for most of season Two.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Subverted. Lucy, Martin, and Jake all succeed in rescuing Amelia from Aster Corps after spending half of Season 2 looking for her, but shortly afterwards, Lucy is killed, not Amelia.
  • Telepathy: As of "Ghosts", the 36 display the ability to communicate with each other this way.
  • The Spock: Jake shows traits of this.
  • The Stoic: Jake barely shows emotion on his face.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Orange soda for Jake. It keeps showing up elsewhere, too.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Jake regularly wanders away, climbs phone towers(!), and takes apart phones.
  • Tzadikim Nistarim: They make up a large part of the show's mythology.
  • Unbelievable Source Plot: Jake communicates through numbers, and Martin has to follow up on his son's prescient abilities to prevent bad things from happening, or to make good things happen. In order to accomplish this, he needs help from various contacts and allies but in order to protect his son, he has to lie to them to cover up how he knows things.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: One episode has two Saudi girls, Norah and Shada, cross-dressing as boys to go on a road trip. In their travels, they come across a woman going into labor and decide to help her. When the woman discovers that her saviors are, in fact, girls, she berates them for their poor behavior.
  • The Voiceless: Jake, unless he's screaming or doing the beginning or end narration of an episode.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Calvin Norberg and his associates, who stole Amelia from AsterCorps, whose interest in her stem from financial and political gain, and are trying to use her to teach computers how to predict the future and understand the human brain.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Ghosts". Guillermo finally finds Jake, kills quite a few people in order to get to him, gets in a fight with Martin, and is shot off a roof (but lives). Also, we find out that Jake can communicate telepathically.
    • "Reunions". Lucy is finally reunited with her daughter Amelia, and Jake and Martin decide to part ways. As soon as they drive off, Aster Corps agents show up. Lucy sacrifices herself in order to give her daughter time to escape.
    • "Accused" Avram is (seemingly) kidnapped by Aster Corp. when he tries to make contact with one of 36.
  • Wham Line
    • The first thing Amelia says during her recorded interview with Teller, though it isn't so much the line itself as what the line implies: That people with Jake's abilities are, in fact, capable of speech. In fact, some of the TV spots for season 2 have Jake narrate that he's going to talk and that doing so will be Wham-y.
      • In fact, during the season 2 premiere, Jake's opening narration reiterates that he's never spoken a single word, "but that's about to change." During Reunions, Jake ends up speaking with Amelia face-to-face in the latter dream garden.
    • "Eye to Eye" confirms what had merely been implied about Guillermo in prior episodes: "I'm one of the 36!"
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: Norah and Shada, two Saudi girls who dress up as boys so that they can go out and have some fun.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Martin is acrophobic.
  • Would Hurt a Child
    • AsterCorps, oh so very much. The season 2 premiere reveals that they've created a death certificate for Jake, and the date is blank.
    • Guillermo also has Jake marked for death. At one point, he reads a map on which he has drawn a large phi spiral - which happens to go right through Los Angeles, suggesting that Guillermo is heading there eventually to kill him.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Yay! Lucy finally found her daughter! Now they can finally drive away and live in pea—oh shit, are those Aster Corps vehicles coming their way...?

Alternative Title(s): Touch