Fox's latest crime drama, Alert, follows Nikki Parker (Dania Ramirez) as she joins the LAPD's Missing Persons Unit. But as if her life won't be emotional or complicated enough given the nature of such work and the conflicting feelings around law enforcement today, she ends up partnered with her ex-husband Devon (Scott Caan). And the two are not only working through just a drastic change in their relationship, but also still struggling with the fact that their son is one of the city's missing persons.
Is it a conflict of interest for them to work together, let alone work in such a high stakes environment? Maybe, but that's the least of the LAPD's problems.
"When you first meet us, having our son be missing for that long has connected us in ways that you can't connect with anyone else. And I think we have a very authentic way of wanting to deal with the cases because of it, we have a very authentic way of how we relate to each other because of it, [and] we also have a daughter that we co-parent," Ramirez revealed during a press conference for the forthcoming series.
Throughout the season, of course, their relationship will grow and evolve as they work alongside each other and are tested not only by differences in their work styles, but also by feeling personally connected to so many of the cases.
"Co-parenting together and then having to deal with the loss of their child, I think, opens up a lot of moments for connection between both of us, but also allows us to really feel like we're there for one another. I love that part of the show, as well, because we meet each other with love and understanding," Ramirez continued.
Showrunner John Eisendrath confirmed that many of the cases of the week that the show explores were specifically selected and crafted in the writers' room to relate to what Nikki and Devon are going through. Some of those cases are solely from the writers' minds, but others are "ripped from the headlines," in a way.
The second episode, for example, he said, features a story about the "scourge and overuse" of fentanyl and puts a character in a situation where she has to confront what she would do if she was in the same room as the person who killed her son. That case, he said, comes from reality in the sense of how prevalent fentanyl abuse has become. The writers wanted to tap into something the audience was already "thinking about, talking about, and, as parents, worried about for their kids."
The goal, Eisendrath said, was to find write "would make for just the most urgent, heart-pounding case that we can think of and the ones that would have the highest stakes."
Each episode also has a multi-layered mystery element as detectives in the Missing Persons Unit may be looking for people who don't always want to be found. So, there is the mystery of where the person is, of course, but also how and why they disappeared.
Alert premieres Jan. 8 after the NFL game on Fox. Watch a trailer for the series below.