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DVD Review: Flashpoint, The First Season

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The first season of the police drama Flashpoint t comes to DVD on October 13. Spanning thirteen episodes on three discs, this suspenseful show offers an interesting take on the traditional police television program.

Flashpoint is about an elite police force known as the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Each episode deals with a crisis of some sort that requires the SRU’s involvement. Not merely a bunch of gun-wielding goons, the SRU is comprised of highly intelligent tacticians and negotiators whose primary goal is to peacefully resolve the dispute.

Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me, Veronica Mars) plays the team’s sergeant and main crisis negotiator. Colantoni’s performance is fantastic throughout the entire season (See: “First In Line”). This show, while fast-paced and full of intense situations, is not necessarily right for you if you are looking for nonstop shoot-outs and high-octane explosions at every turn. In fact, many of the episodes end without the SRU ever firing a shot. This realistic tone is an appeal to quality, and comes as a welcome relief from certain shows where the body count mounts to laughable extremes. “False alarms are my favorite kind of alarms,” quips Colantoni in one episode. This mindset accurately captures that of real police officers who would rather not have to utilize lethal force if it can be avoided. Flashpoint takes a more cerebral approach to diffusing dangerous situations rather than a guns-blazing one.

Hugh Dillon (Hard Core Logo, Assault on Precinct 13) plays the team leader. Dillon really shines as he balances being a husband, a father, and a dedicated SRU member. Amy Jo Johnson was the original Pink Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and she plays the only female member of SRU. Despite the fact that Johnson was pregnant for some of the filming, she does a good job at playing a convincing elite police officer. David Paetkau (Final Destination 2, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) plays the brash young rookie on the team, but he manages to avoid being a caricature and actually steals a lot of scenes with his natural charisma.

One of the aspects of this program that really shows true depth is the deep humanization that the members of the SRU receive. An SRU member kills a hostage-taker early in the season. He has to deal with the emotional baggage that comes with this for the remainder of the season, and the season finale even ties back into this traumatic event.

Another facet of this program that helps separates it from its peers is the portrayal of “bad guys” of the episode. The motivations of the people involved in the situations that require SRU intervention are often fully explored, and many times they have a sympathetic back-story. Some poignant moments stand out in this first season as both SRU and the people they are called to apprehend deal with serious, fully-fleshed-out issues.

The special features are scarce but interesting. Two behind-the-scenes featurettes (“Flashpoint: Behind The Scenes—Season 1” and “The Human Cost of Heroism”) have some cast and crew interviews and offer some insight into production, but their combined running time is less than a half hour. The pilot features a commentary by director David Frazee. The commentary track is insightful, but Frazee goes long periods of time saying nothing at all. The set also features 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

In conclusion, this is a very well made show with sharp dialogue, intense situations, and very human characters. The pilot episode is actually one of my least favorite of the season, so watch at least two episodes and you will be hooked. Let’s keep the peace.

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