Although I am no more excited by the prospect of watching another police drama than I am by the prospect of writing about another police drama, there are things to like about "Flashpoint," a new, has-to-be-over-by-fall series from CBS. Its subject is a SWAT-style team called the Strategic Response Unit, based on Toronto's real-world Emergency Task Force.
That the show -- a product of Canada to which CBS signed on during pre-production -- may owe its presence on American TV in part or whole to last winter's writers strike should not be held against it. (How you may feel about CBS cutting deals in Canada as an end run around an U.S. labor dispute is another matter entirely, although a network exec told Variety last January that "Flashpoint" was merely part of an already expanding international business plan.) Indeed, some of its better qualities I see as somehow distinctly foreign.
Written and created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern (who are better known, though not below the 49th parallel, as actors), it has an appealing modesty that survives its bouts of aesthetic overexcitement -- the occasionally lurching camera, hammering soundtrack, the sentimental pop song laid over the last couple of minutes as the principals silently end a long, hard day. However extravagant the production becomes, the actors stay grounded. That it stars Enrico Colantoni (born in Toronto), of "Veronica Mars" and "Don't Shoot Me," as the team sergeant, is also a good thing; he gives crisis handling a nice workaday feel, as does Hugh Dillon (born in Kingston, Canada) as a crack shot. Domestic viewers may also recognize Pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson ("Felicity") back in action mode. The first time we see her character, she is rappelling down the side of spiffy Unit headquarters. For fun.
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