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Reviewed by Will Harris
he Canadian-produced police drama “Flashpoint” is a perfect series to serve as a regular mid-season replacement: the format is familiar and the emphasis is on the crime of the week rather than the recurring characters, thereby allowing viewers to tune in – no matter how many episodes they may or may not have seen before – and still enjoy the proceedings. Sure, it’s a series method that was perfected by NBC’s “Law & Order,” but hey, it’s CBS’s right to take the style and run with it, and so they have with “Flashpoint.”
If this is your first introduction to the series, which focuses on a Strategic Response Unit and its cases, then you’ll want a quick run-through of the members of the team. Greg Parker (Enrico Colantoni) is still in charge, serving as the primary crisis negotiator for the unit’s cases. Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon) is still the team’s lead sniper, but with Jules Callaghan (Amy Jo Johnson) still out on medical leave after an incident last season, his secondary sniper at the beginning of Season Two is the new girl: Donna Sabine, played by Jessica Steen. Also on board is the no-longer-new Sam Braddock (David Paetkau), weapons operator Lew Young (Mark Taylor), demolitions expert Spike Scarlatti (Sergio Di Zio), and CQB expert Kevin "Wordy" Wordsworth (Michael Cram).
Since we’ve already established that the crimes are designed to be more important on “Flashpoint” than the regular characters, then it stands to reason that we should discuss some of the activities that the SRU finds itself caught up in this season. There are a lot of scenarios that you’d expect hostage negotiators to deal with, including a couple of episodes involving disgruntled teens, but it’s the twists that make for the best viewing. “Last Dance” is arguably the best of the season, focusing on a young couple whose criminal activities are being done for a reason which you almost certainly won’t expect, and in “Clean Hands,” attempts to bring a serial killer back across the Canadian border seem to be thwarted by the father of one of the killer’s victims. But is there more to the situation?
All nine episodes of “Flashpoint: The Second Season” are reasonably well done and unquestionably full of action, but while the average viewer probably isn’t bothered by it, personally, I still find it highly distracting for “Flashpoint” to have so many regular characters and yet leave us feeling as though we know almost nothing about them. Indeed, we may learn even less about them in Season Two than we did in Season One. As noted earlier, it makes it very easy to slot the series into the line-up without a preface, but it also results in a very strange dynamic – one which makes the show gripping to watch but far too easy to forget afterwards.
Special Features: No commentaries, unfortunately, but there are three featurettes. The first two are your standard backstage looks (“Stunts” and “Weapons”), but the third – entitled “Hugh Dillon: Works Well with Others” – provides a nice bit of background into the life and times of an actor who’s not nearly as well known outside of Canada as he ought to be.