I am fascinated by the story line of a new TV show this year. The story concerns an ex-journalist and single father Martin Bohm, a widower, and his mute son named Jacob. The father is played by Kiefer Sutherland in a role that is significantly different from his role in ‘24’. His son, played by David Mazouz, is an 11–year-old challenged child yet gifted. The story is not explicit about the possibility that Jacob is autistic, but some viewers with sympathy for autism want to believe this. Jacob sees the world in numbers, and seems to have a special ability to predict future events and make sure that people who are destined to meet, do so. His obsession with numbers - 318 in particular - turns out to be the way he communicates with others, mainly his father. Though he has received no formal training in complex mathematics, he has discovered the Fibonacci sequence on his own simply through observation and his unique perception of the world around him. The autism spectrum indicators are his aversion to being touched, little exhibition of emotion and he does not speak.
What makes this show so intriguing is the fact that Jacob’s gift permits him to see things that no one else see because he sees the patterns that connect everything in life and his way of communicating is through numbers. Martin must decipher the meaning of the numbers and find the people whose lives they affect. In each episode, there are always several standalone yet interconnected storylines to which Jacob’s gift and Martin’s timely intersections with these people bring about resolutions of long standing issues and often healing of one kind or another.
What makes the autism premise of Jacob’s condition more plausible is the fact that the show’s creator, Tim Kring, has experiences of his own son who has autism. For this reason there is some assurance that as the episodes continue, he will insure that the fictional aspects are based upon scientific fact. It would appear that Jacob represents a side of the spectrum on which the misdiagnosed individuals may have the ability for more advanced forms of communication than we understand.
You can watch the first ten episodes at this FOX website