The MPD vs. Mutant Ninja Citizens

class=img_thumbleft>Last fall, one of the former producers for The X Files shot a pilot for A.M.P.E.D., a present-day sci-fi drama centering on the Minneapolis Police Department that was to begin airing on Spike TV this year. The premise: MPD homicide detectives battle violence and destruction caused by city residents suffering genetic mutations caused by a virus. Lee Tergesen was cast as Detective Brian Spicer, a sensitive, levelheaded sleuth and Tony Curran as Mark Jacocks, the tough cop he clashes with. Tergesen, left, is best known for his portrayal of prisoner Tobias Beecher on HBO's Oz and, more recently, Peter McMillan on Desperate Housewives. Curran has appeared in a number of films, including Gladiator and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The pilot was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the story was originally to take place in Los Angeles. Just how did that become Minneapolis? We've got a theory: A.M.P.E.D. is the creation of Fox 21, a division of Twentieth Century Fox, that focuses on keeping production costs down. Vancouver is an inexpensive place to shoot TV shows and movies, but it doesn't look much like Los Angeles. Of course, it doesn't look a whole lot like Minneapolis, either. Except, maybe, a genetically mutated Minneapolis?

Spike TV spokeswoman Jenni Runyan declined to comment, or to say whether in fact Spike picked up the show. "We don't comment on pilots," she says. Maybe the skyline was the least of the problems with A.M.P.E.D.