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Published: Saturday, 7/5/2008

CBS s interest in Flashpoint questionable

BY ROB OWEN
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE

During the writers strike, there was a lot of talk about networks importing shows from other countries to serve as original programming for their prime-time schedules. CBS brought Dexter over from Showtime and announced it would pick up the Canadian police drama Flashpoint.

But it now appears CBS s interest in the show was a passing fancy. If the network thought more highly of it, surely it would air sometime other than 10 p.m. EDT Friday in the summer, where it premieres this week. I m sure the network is hoping to gain viewers by promoting it in Thursday-night episodes of Swingtown, but still, it s low-rated Friday night, which is even lower-rated in summer.

Not that I can blame CBS executives for their ambivalence about Flashpoint. It s not terrible, not great, just sort of so-so. Flashpoint may have some appeal to CBS s crime-drama-loving audience, but it is a more traditional police show as it follows a Strategic Response Unit, inspired by Toronto s Emergency Task Force. The show is filmed in Toronto.

Enrico Colantoni ( Veronica Mars, Just Shoot Me ) stars as Sgt. Gregory Parker, the supportive leader of these cops who rescue hostages, disrupt gangs, defuse bombs, etc. Amy Jo Johnson ( Felicity ) plays the most prominent woman on the team and David Paetkau ( LAX, Whistler ) is introduced as stubbly, mysterious newcomer Sam Braddock.

Friday s episode begins with Parker and his team trying to talk down a man who s holding a gun to a woman s head in front of a skyscraper. Snipers race to the rooftops, including Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon), who s also shown at home trying to juggle work and family obligations.

Flashpoint takes pains to show the emotional toll the job has on Ed, but it s not anything we ve haven t seen on other police dramas.

After his role as the hammy guy on Just Shoot Me, Colantoni has reinvented himself as a nurturer, first on Veronica Mars and now in Flashpoint. He s a likable lead.

Too bad Flashpoint doesn t have more to recommend it.



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