Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flashpoint: Episode 1x01 - Scorpio (2008)

Created by: Mark Ellis & Stephanie Morgenstern

Network: CTV

Cast: Enrico Colantoni (1), Hugh Dillon (2), Amy Jo Johnson (3), Sergio Di Zio (4), David Paetkau (5), Michael Cram, and Mark Taylor.

Did you know? - Majority of the cast members of Flashpoint are Canadians. Of the main cast, only Amy Jo Johnson is American.

Last year in September when the new season was about to begin for American television series, I was itching to get the season started and was eyeing new pilots to watch and looking forward to the returning series I enjoy. That was when I discovered Flashpoint. Unfortunately, before I can fully enjoy the hype of the show, I find out that 2012's Season 5 was to be their last season. 

I stumbled upon this series when I was checking out the filmography of Amy Jo Johnson who played the Pink Power Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a television series that I really enjoyed during my childhood. I went to Wikipedia and checked out the synopsis of the series and it was a procedural cop show, which you might know by now is something I really enjoy. So yay! It's right up my alley! So I went and watched the pilot of the series. 

Now if you don't already know, I tend to give a series at least 5 episodes to hook and keep my attention, with Flashpoint. I was hooked from the get go. I love the premise of the show and I fell in love with the characters right from the start. Now all that's left is to see if they can continue, for at least 5 episodes, to keep me hooked on the series through its "case of the week" stories. 

Let's just say from episode 1 of Season 1, I was so taken by this series that I consumed all 4 Seasons' episodes even before Season 5 began, and in a span of just under a week. Now what's so great about Flashpoint you ask? Well, I've always been fascinated by psychology, and the 'why' not just the 'how'. I think that life is never just black or white, and I believe in cause and effect. 

Now before I go off course rattling on and on about why I like it, first let's look at the basics. Flashpoint is about an elite team of sharpshooters and negotiators who 'keep the peace' in the city. They get called in if someone is threatening to kill himself or herself or others by whatever means. It could be a bomb, a knife, a gun. They first try to talk the person down and if all else fails, should they not be able to apprehend the person or resolve the situation, they will shoot to kill to save the victim(s). 

Why I love Flashpoint? Because each episode makes you ask serious questions about what or who is right and wrong, and what could have been done differently so that it didn't have to get to the point where violence was "required". But as with any series that I really enjoy, I love Flashpoint because the series focus isn't just about the case of the week, it's about the men and women who have the very difficult job of shooting to kill, if necessary, and how do they handle that. I am drawn to each character in the team and I have a great interest in following their growth, both in their personal and professional lives on the show. In fact, even the case of the week characters make me care about whether they survive the ordeal. And that is why I am so in love with this series. 

So let's get right to it. Let me take you on the journey I took while watching the series starting first with Season 1. But before we proceed let's go through the list of characters for Season 1.

Gregory "Greg" Parker - Sergent aka boss (Leader & crisis negotiator of the SRU - Strategic Response Unit)
Edward "Ed" Tucker Lane - Team Leader (Tactical leader, secondary negotiator & sniper for SRU Team 1)
Julianna "Jules" Callaghan - Constable (Intel gatherer, secondary negiotiator & sniper for SRU Team 1)
Samuel "Sam" Braddock - Constable (Sniper & new kid on the block for SRU Team 1)
Michelangelo "Spike" Scarlatti - Constable (Demolitions and tech expert for SRU Team 1)
Kevin "Wordy" James Wordsworth - Constable (Entry Tactics, close quarters combat expert & less-leathal weapons specialist for SRU Team 1)
Lewis "Lou" Young - Constable (Less-leathal weapons specialist for SRU Team 1)

Episode 1 -  Scorpio

With any television pilot you need to establish its premise and its main characters. I think that Flashpoint did an excellent job with their pilot. The show is about the top team in the Strategic Response Unit in Canada (However, it doesn't outright say its set in Canada.) It may be a case of the week type of series, but as with any good series, it should be about its characters. This first episode doesn't elaborate on the case of the week very much but it does a great job of explaining the gist of the series and showcasing the personalities of each main character. When a life is threatened, the SRU dispatches a team to the scene to diffuse the situation or eliminate the shooter, if all negotiations fail. In this first episode, there is little talk because the shooter doesn't speak English to them and we get the chance to see what happens in a worst-case-scenario situation. The Constable who takes the shot will be investigated and will have to talk to the unit psychologist Dr Luria. But more importantly, the audience is shown the ill effects of the job. And the focus is that these men who have very tough jobs and decisions to make every day are only human and that shooting a man to save another, despite it being for the good of others, is something very difficult to face up to after the fact. This makes me want to learn more about each character in the series and how each of them face the difficulties of the job. We also get properly introduced to the entire team because of the new kid on the block Sam Braddock. We saw a glimpse of how the job affects the policemen as well as his or her family and personal life.

He's our POV. As he observes, we observe too.
Great way to set up Sam's backstory and a great way
 to let us see the bigger picture & nature of the job.
Ed: What am I supposed to do?
Greg: Well, maybe what you do is you get the big picture.
Ed: What big picture?
Greg: It's your in-laws, 40th anniversary.
Ed: Come on!
Greg: I'm just saying.
Ed: Did she pay you to say that?
Greg: Hey! Hey, you know what? There's a cop who retires every week. And one day it's gonna be you, so who you gonna come home to when the day comes?

I love the way these two characters first meet. Their first meeting really
 got me rooting for them to be together right from the first episode.
Sam: Hey. I saw the whole thing. I'm Sam. Sam Braddock.
Jules: Good for you.
Sam: You don't see lady snipers too often, that's kind of sexy.

It's relatively easy to pull the trigger...
.... but what comes after that, that is the tough part of the job.
Ed: Look...
Dr Luria: I know. You're fine. You did a great job out there but you need somebody to talk to. It's strictly confidential.
Ed: Doc, if you want a date just ask.
Dr Luria: Oh you know what, screw it. I forgot who I was talking to for a minute. You're not that guy. You're not going to wonder if you did the right thing. You're not gonna have any sleepless night, flashbacks, memory loss, time distortions, you're not gonna feel alone, feel guilty, feel guilty about not feeling guilty. That's what happens to other people. You'll be fine. You know where to find me. Not that you'll need to.

"Nice post-incident reflexes guys"
This so aptly sets up Sam's personality as well as the
 relationships between the SRU members of Team 1 for Season 1.

My favourite quotes - "You know why we're all here? It's about helping you. Do you understand? Help. But first, you have to put the gun down. Gun down.", "Let's keep the peace.", & "Nice post-incident reflexes guys."

Read about the other episodes in Season 1:

Episode 2 - ' First In Line'

Episode 3 - 'The Element Of Surprise'
Episode 4 - 'Asking For Flowers'
Episode 5 - 'Who's George?'
Episode 6 - 'Attention Shoppers'
Episode 7 - 'He Knows His Brother' 
Episode 8 - 'Never Kissed A Girl'

(1) Enrico Colantoni has acted in films like Stigmata (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999), and Contagion (2011). He has also played Veronica Mars' father Keith Mars in the television series Veronica Mars (2004-2007), and he has also guest starred in television series like Law & Order, NYPD Blue, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Monk, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Numb3rs, Brothers & Sisters, Bones, and Person Of Interest.

(2) Hugh Dillon has acted in films like Lone Hero (2002), and Assault On Precinct 13 (2005).

(3) Amy Jo Johnson has acted in films like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995), and Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997). She played the role of Pink Power Ranger Kimberly Hart in the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1995), and as Julie Emrick in the series Felicity (1998-2002). She also guest starred in television series like ER and Spin City.

(4) Sergio Di Zio has acted in films like National Lampoon's Senior Trip (1995), and Just Buried (2007). 

(5) David Paetkau has acted in films like Final Destination 2 (2003), I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006), Goon (2011), and Man Of Steel (2013). He has guest starred in television series like Smallville, Stargate SG-1, CSI: Miami, Supernatural, and Dexter.

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Flashpoint is all about looking at both sides of a story. Life is almost never black or white. And from the first episode of Flashpoint, you get the sense that nothing is ever going to be straightforward (read: black or white). Besides seeing people getting shot or blown up each week, this is a series that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. And what I love most about Flashpoint is the story and character growth of the main characters, as well as the wonderful character development and stories that you get each week through the cases. Flashpoint is definitely a must watch!

Posters are from the website TVpedia with screen grabs from the show.

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