Day Break: Stuck in Reruns

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This is Associated Press TV writer Frazier Moore watching television for KCRW, and asking you to please forgive me if I repeat myself. Also please forgive me if I repeat myself.

I've got repetition on the brain after witnessing the plight of L.A. police detective Brett Hopper, hero of ABC's new thriller Day Break, who keeps reliving the same day -- a really bad day -- day after live-long day.

But it isn't just that Hopper is stuck in repeat cycle. While he confronts this inconvenience, he also has a sinister conspiracy to deal with: Though he's a clean cop with an alibi, he's being framed for murdering an assistant district attorney. Let's call this a recurring nightmare while wide awake.

Now in some respects it's hard to sympathize. For one thing, Hopper is played by Taye Diggs, who's a real hunk, buff the way a dedicated couch potato can only dream about with envy. Besides, when he awakens (as we see in the very first scene of Day Break), he's always in the sack with his lovely girlfriend Rita. Only after that do things go downhill, reminding us that some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Of course, Day Break, which premieres Wednesday at 9 pm, inevitably recalls the 1993 romantic comedy Groundhog Day. But Hopper has more on his mind than heightened self-awareness in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He's on the run while stuck in time.

Granted, he has a head start on everyone else: With each fresh repetition of the day, he -- unlike those around him, even the bad guys -- is able to carry forward his experience from past trips through this day, accumulating and acting on knowledge no one else is privy to yet.

Watch Hopper learn from experience: The first morning in Rita's bathroom, he breaks a soap dish. The second morning he again knocks it off the lavatory, but catches it before it shatters on the floor.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it won't end up broken the next time. He can't rely on this loopy day to repeat itself by rote. Instead, it has a way of throwing him surprises.

At one point, we see Hopper getting shot up by the bad guys, and, with Rita's help, making his escape. Then, when 6:18am comes round again, he's back in Rita's bedroom as usual. But this time he's bleeding on her sheets from his wound.

You think that's easy to explain? Here's one of Hopper's attempts: "The day is the same, but different things happen. It all depends."

Here's another stab: "It's complicated."

Complicated, all right. Day Breakmakes a strong case that, while ignorance may not be bliss, knowing is a drag.

For example, after leaving Rita's apartment each morning, Hopper is hounded by the knowledge that, not far away, a city bus will veer out of control, and if he doesn't intercede, seriously injure a young woman in its path.

How bothersome to have to deal with that every day, or else live with the consequences -- at least, till the day starts all over again.

Viewers impatient with open-ended storylines should be happy to learn that, after just 13 episodes, this sticky wicket will be sorted out. The conspiracy will be cracked, the real killer exposed, and Hopper released from his state of do-over limbo.

But be advised: Neither he, nor we, will ever understand why it happened. And if Day Breakcatches on and comes back for more, poor Hopper will be day-tripping again, stuck in yet another jam. You know, Day Breakcould turn into some recycling program!

Watching television for KCRW and saying, "Let's do this again, but not until next week," I'm Associated Press TV writer Frazier Moore.