Flashpoint: The First Season

Flashpoint: The First Season
Flashpoint is a bit of a curiosity in the world of TV because it's one of those rare Canadian shows that has somehow made it onto a U.S. network. And it's doing rather well ― well enough to have had a third season commissioned recently. Yet it still feels very much like a Canadian production because there's more focus on plot and characters than the special effects and unnecessary twists that most American shows rely upon. Flashpoint focuses on the Strategic Response Unit, an elite police squad called in to deal with crisis situations in an unnamed large metropolitan city, although it's pretty obvious it's Toronto. Instead of blasting their way through every episode, there's a lot of talking, tenseness and waiting around for things to work themselves out. That also means that many episodes don't actually culminate in some kind of inevitable shootout but a peaceful resolution. Hugh Dillon shakes off the last ghosts of his time fronting the Headstones and pulls off the role of world-weary team leader Ed Lane remarkably well. Right from the first episode, where he takes out a hostage-taker, he's positioned as someone genuinely conflicted when he has to use lethal force in order to save others. Equally good is Enrico Colantoni (of Veronica Mars fame) as negotiator Greg Parker, the moral compass of the team who always tries to talk people down from the edge. Despite the fact that Flashpoint manages to avoid some of the usual police clichés, it doesn't escape them completely. In addition, the plots are sometimes too mundane and one-dimensional, making it pretty easy to see how things are going to end up, something that's very apparent when watching multiple episodes in one sitting. But as a show to dip into from time to time, it's a refreshing change from the other by-the-numbers cop shows. The series looks really good on Blu-Ray, something that might not be immediately obvious until viewing the extra material, which is just standard quality. The extras ― two short featurettes ― are inconsequential and hardly worth the bother. One looks at the making of the show, while the stronger of the two ("The Human Cost Of Heroism") has interviews with members of the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force that inspired Flashpoint, but it doesn't go into any kind of depth. Director David Frazee adds commentary to the pilot episode but isn't particularly chatty for much of the 45 minutes. (Phase 4)