Saving Grace: Season One

Saving Grace: Season One
With the down South, boot-heel clicking, buckle-up soundtrack of twanging garbage, another feisty female cop (not unlike Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer) and a guiding angel to boot, it would be easy to dismiss Saving Grace as just another morally conscious cop drama for rednecks and Baptists to masturbate to. That might be a mistake, as it features some strong writing and a career-topping performance from the irrepressible Holly Hunter. The God angle is used more as a crux to reveal the inner-turmoil of a woman who is guarded and distrustful of the world around her, rather than any sort of sermon on Judeo-Christian ethics. The show follows Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter), an irreverent and licentious Oklahoma detective, as she gradually spins out of control with alcoholism, promiscuity and a general disregard for her own self-preservation. While sleeping with a married co-worker named Ham (Kenny Johnson), in addition to an emotionally unavailable cowboy detective (Bailey Chase), Grace is lectured by her brother Father John (Tom Irwin), as well as her lifetime best friend and forensics colleague Rhetta (Laura San Giacomo), to get her life back under control. It is only when she inadvertently kills a pedestrian (Bokeem Woodbine) while drunk driving and is given a second chance by a weathered angel named Earl (Leon Rippy) that Grace starts to look inside herself and discover where her pain and self-loathing stem from. Each episode is essentially a police procedural, which explores a crime that reveals some character traits in Grace and helps her grow while she and Rhetta collect various pieces of angel evidence from Earl to try and determine the existence of God. The season starts out with a bang as Grace runs about naked, flashing the neighbours and screwing any guy who looks reasonably decent in a pair of Levi’s while profusely drinking Jack Daniel’s, chain smoking and swearing like a sailor. As a character through and through with undeniably human characteristics and desires, her strength and determination are apparent, as is her melancholy. Around mid-season the show hits a bit of a lull, focusing less energy on Grace and the various relationships in her life and more energy on the bland and occasionally issue-based crime procedurals, which are reasonably well handled but not the strength of the show. Thankfully, after a couple of these episodes the show gets back on track, exploring the array of complex characters that don’t always make the right decisions. The first season is quite strong and complex, despite the occasional growing pains, leaving the door open for a potentially exciting season two. The DVD comes with actor and producer featurettes, where discussions of "dimensions” and "elements” inevitably come about, in addition to an "Everlast” video, which on a hipness scale of Hanson to Smashmouth is about a Tom Cochrane. (Fox)