The Minority Report

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First published in Fantastic Universe Jan 1956

With the help of three precog mutants, a precrime police agency eliminates major crimes in society by arresting people before they actually break any laws.

When precrime commissioner John Anderton is tagged by the precogs for killing a man he doesn’t know, he assumes he is being framed by the newcomer Ed Witwer who wants his job. What he doesn’t know is that the Army, rendered toothless by the precrime division, wants to return to power.

The precogs saw a future where Anderton kills the Army General Kaplan after their power grab. We find out that the precrime system relies on a majority report from two precogs who agree on an outcome in the future, which means the remaining precog generates a minority report where no crime is committed. When Anderton doesn’t kill Kaplan, Kaplan uses this to try to shut precrime down under the assumption that Anderton was about to be arrested based on a minority report that won’t come true. Anderton then chooses to kill Kaplan after all to renew public trust in precrime by proving that it does work after all.

It’s a great twisting story, and Spielberg’s 2002 movie is probably Dick’s most well-known adaptation. It alters the plot somewhat with a result that is a bit too convoluted and contrived, although it is second only to Blade Runner in its groundbreaking vision of a future based on Dick’s work.

A sequel to the movie aired as a TV adaptation on Fox for one season in 2015. I can’t say much about it other than it had poor reviews and I barely even remembered it existed.

Cast of characters

  • John Anderton – precrime commissioner
  • Ed Witwer – Anderton’s new associate
  • Lisa Anderton – Andertons wife and an official executive of precrime
  • Leopold Kaplan – an Army general and the man Anderton is supposed to kill
  • Fleming – an Army major working for Kaplan
  • Jerry, Donna, Mike – the three precogs
  • Wally Page – Anderton’s assistant