Saturday, September 3, 2016

Whiz Kids

Richie Adler (Matthew Laborteaux) is a tenth-grader who lives with his mother, Irene (Madelyn Cain) and younger sister, Cheryl (Melanie Gaffin). His parents are divorced, and his father works overseas as a telecommunications engineer to several firms. Richie is an advanced computer user and receives most of his equipment from his father, who acquires obsolete equipment that is scheduled to be scrapped. Richie collects this equipment and assembles it to form "Ralf", his pet name for his computer system. Ralf has multiple components and capabilities, including a camera which produces a facial identification system.

Richie and his teenage friends, Hamilton "Ham" Parker (Todd Porter), Jeremy Saldino (Jeffrey Jacquet) and Alice Tyler (Andrea Elson) routinely encounter mysteries which they attempt to solve using Richie's computer skills and Ralf's power, often tapping into other computer systems, corporate, governmental and private. The cases often involve money-hungry criminals working inside business corporations or government. Guidance is provided by Llewellen Farley (Max Gail), a reporter for the fictional newspaper the LA Gazette, whose stories are often exposés of crime and corruption. Farley has a cantankerous but mutually beneficial relationship with Lieutenant Neal Quinn (A Martinez) who is head of the local detective unit.

In most episodes, the three groups — the police (mostly led by Quinn), the media (usually Farley), and the Whiz Kids — all contribute to cracking a case and in bringing the criminals to justice. Their relationship is often conflicted, as Quinn must keep Farley from getting too much insider information, while Farley and Quinn both attempt to keep the teens out of danger. However, each case is never solved by one group alone, and they are all usually forced by circumstance to work together, each drawing from their own particular strengths and fields of expertise.

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