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TV Review: The Cleaner, A&E’s Newest Offering

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I guess I didn’t get the memo. I tuned in, somewhat by accident, somewhat out of curiosity, to the premier of The Cleaner, starring Benjamin Bratt, A&E’s new series about a former addict who spends (most of) his life trying to “persuade” other addicts (usually by kidnapping them and putting them in rehab) to give up the life. According to him, more than half the addicts slide back and he loses a huge bunch to death.

I liked the show a lot, despite the fact that the second most attractive character, Rick, (played by Gil Bellows, an actor I particularly like) dies of a suicidal overdose at the end of the premiere episode. Bratt is a professional, likable actor who is completely believable in the role; the supporting cast is interesting and different, and the writing is clever (I especially liked a scene where Bratt and his wife talk about how they quit smoking, and, of course, they haven’t. I even like the idea of an ex-addict smoking; it seems real). Bratt and his wife, played by Amy Price-Francis, have a difficult and complicated relationship, made all the more so by the end scene, which I shan’t give away for all of you who still wish to give the series a shot. The two kids are also far more interesting than other television kids.

But when I went online to find out more information about The Cleaner, I found the critics either hated the show or were pretty indifferent to it, almost universally dissing it. A real disconnect for me, because while I often disagree with critics about popular comedies, I am usually right there with them when it comes to good and serious drama.

The story is based on the real life addiction expert to the stars, William Boyd.

I put The Cleaner in the category of other good off-season drama openings, like last summer’s Damages, which I am still hoping will start again, and with indie channel offerings like The Shield (another series I am still waiting for). It may not be quite up to snuff in the writing department, but The Cleaner kept me watching, avidly, throughout its first episode and I'm already waiting for next Tuesday at ten p.m.

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About Lisa Solod

  • mary

    Dear listeners I just want to let you know that as far as I´m concerned the A&E series The Cleaner is one of the best shows that i´ve seen in some time most importantly is avery relistic show and helpful show that encourages people who are addicts of any kind seek help or people who have the courage to help,help. So bring back the show for a next season and keep on inspiring a new kind of audience

    Words and music by Edmond Leary c 1995

    One Day at a Time is a musical song of hope and inspiration to those who still suffer from the disease of addiction. It is a walk through a life of childhood innocence into the abyss of teenage self inflicted hardships, and onto the path of sincere change and a life of recovery.

    One Day at a Time is my personal story and I was inspired with the words and music to the song in my first rehab in 1995. For many years I struggled to move on and live these words and actions of change within my life. There are so many people from all walks of life who have been affected by this disease (entertainment, sports, politics) who are recovering.

    One Day at a Time is a song of encouragement for those who have years of recovery but more importantly a light of hope and inspiration to those who have achieved just one day of sobriety in this life long process. I truly thank God for this blessing and pray that my musical experience, strength and hope will help others to achieve the gift of sobriety and overcome the disease of addiction One Day at a Time.

    Edmond Leary

  • Chrystal

    I’m surprised at the critics too. I watched the first two episodes on demand and I can’t wait to watch more. There’s something about it that kept me hooked for the whole show. It helps that the lead man is very cute too!!