This is the CRISPR-inspired bio-terror drama we deserve, but not the one we need

CRISPR is like graphene. It’s one of those exciting new technologies science nerds will invariably invoke as a sort of game changer for every industry imaginable. And indeed, the gene-editing tool has already been unleashed on an impressive range of life-altering tasks, from the removal of malaria from mosquitos to a potential treatment for HIV.

But there’s one job even those egghead scientists couldn’t have possibly foreseen: inspiration for a Jennifer Lopez-produced NBC futuristic bio-terror drama procedural.

I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do such a project the proper justice, so I’m going to go ahead and quote from The Hollywood Reporter’s synopsis of the upcoming NBC series CRISPR, which derives its dystopian plot points from the world-changing technology of the same name,

The show’s central character is a scientist with the CDC who is paired with an FBI agent. In the same vein of Castle, romance will blossom between the scientist and the FBI agent as they team to bring down a diabolical genius with a twisted God complex: her former boss.

Oh, and apparently the two, “battle for control over the human genome in a game of cat and mouse in which the future of our species may rest and all disease could one day be eradicated.”


The show will be penned by Bates Motel scribe Anthony Cipriano, and is set to do for genetic research what that series has done for the hospitality industry.

On the upside, CRISPR is about to become water cooler fodder for millions of Americans. On the downside, there seems to be a significant risk it will be treated with the same sort of delicacy Hollywood applies to that thing Mr. Burns used to block out the sun in Springfield and sharks with laser beams.

It’s no Nobel Prize, but it’s something.