At this point, the undying love yours truly has for the Canadian cop drama Flashpoint is more than known. The dynamics of its three-dimensional characters, the quality of its episode to episode stories as well as its season/series long arcs, the high standard of acting employed by both its regular and episode specific cast, all these things make for one of the best television experiences anyone can have. This week’s episode was especially important as it’s Flashpoint‘s first go around in the U.S. since leaving the airwaves of CBS for ION.
The episode did not dissapoint.
Written by series creators Mark Ellis & Stephanie Morgenstern and directed by pilot director David Frazee (arguably the best of all the directors the series has had to date), “Grounded” follows the story of a group of hijackers who take control and forcibly ground an aircraft in an attempt to free a prison inmate via hostage negotation.
What’s nice about this episode is that it’s a very back-to-basics Flashpoint episode that perfectly represents what the series is to a new viewer (that’s sure to come with the jump to a new network). For example, something that Frazee does best is making Team One feel like a single entity rather than a group of individual parts and people.
During a scene where the hijackers agree to release fifty of the hostages, tactical leader Ed Lane (Hugh Dillion) is making sure everyone is where they need to be. Within three seconds every team member is accounted for and operating on the same wave length, and that’s what every Flashpoint episode always comes down to.
Many episodes of Flashpoint deal with exhausting every option before going to a tactical operation. Enrico Colantoni, who always brings his A game to the series, brought his A+ game in “Grounded,” especially during one scene in particular. After the leader of the hijackers dies from an accidental gun shot at the hands of his sister, Parker tries desperately to re-establish contact with the group. When told to stop trying to re-establish communications as his “peaceful surrender” scenario is no longer an option, Parker goes off on a short, but very calm and oh so sweet tear “it is an option, until it isn’t! And when it isn’t, we’ll be ready.” You are with Colantoni, but more importantly you are with Parker in that moment of desperation. It’s the kind of moment that new viewers can look at and see that the show means business.
But none of that compares to one dialogue exchange that occurs at the end of the episode that serves as both a linchpin for new viewers and a satisfying conclusion to old ones. After the critical incident leads to a tactical solution, the newest officer on the team, Raf is forced to take lethal action on the group leader. This is the first lethal of this career.
While heading towards SIU (the Canadian agency in charge of instigating matters involving the police force), Sam and Ed start giving Raf a breakdown of everything that’s about to happen to him on both an administrative and a personal/emotional level. It takes a mere fifteen seconds, but it’s fifteen seconds where so much is conveyed.
- The effect someone’s first “lethal” has on them.
- How a vet handles the situation.
- The graduation of the former “new guy” to veteran.
“Grounded” is a superb episode of Flashpoint and one that not only serves the purpose of delivering some great television, but also attracting some new viewers. And the ratings only stand to back that up.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.