Tell me that I wasn't alone in wiping away a tear or two by the end of tonight's season finale. What got me the most: Sammy getting closure on Nate's murder, or John finally admitting he needs help? Or was it the long-in-coming moment when Boot Ben finally stood up to his training officer and told him he was a hopeless addict?
All in all, a satisfying cap to a too-short season. We don't yet know if 'Southland' will be back for a fourth season and, if not, tonight's finale hit just the right emotional note. Ben graduated, John owned up to his addiction and Sammy paid tribute to Nate by naming his newborn son after him.
This last episode before the 'Southland' season finale felt like a bit of a placeholder. Yes, there was a shootout, and Ben got in John's face telling him flat out, "You have a problem," but you know they're holding the big stuff for next week's season ender.
'Failure Drill,' the episode title, was explained on the police shooting range where Lydia had gone to brush up on her skills.
Another officer explained it's a sequence of shots -- "two to the body, one to the head" -- designed to bring down a suspect. If the first two shots don't drop the suspect, he's wearing a vest and you've got to take him out with a head shot, advice that Lydia employed before the episode's end.
The Pinkett Smith family success story continues as Jada's medical drama series, 'HawthoRNe,' has been picked up by TNT for a third season.
Deadline.com reports that TNT will announce today that they've ordered ten more episodes of the medical drama, which aired this summer to generally strong ratings. The network used 'HawthoRNe' to successfully launch 'Memphis Beat', and the quirky cop drama, starring Jason Lee, was renewed at the beginning of September.
Now the only TNT drama waiting to hear its fate is the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced 'Dark Blue.' The gritty cop drama, starring Dylan McDermott, is now in its second season, but has struggled with ratings and reviews.
While viewers love the show, they're not fanatical enough to start letter writing campaigns or picket outside the network's headquarters. It's been a little over a week since the show's final episode, and it's fallen off everyone's radar. That's not a good sign.
(S02E15) "My job is to get your back, all the way down, but I need you to do your job." - Eliot to Nathan
"What's that?" - Nathan
"Be Nathan Ford, be the person we came back for." - Parker
My eyes have only seen a few episodes of 'Leverage,' and my brain is just now starting to understand its appeal. (My bodily organs don't work very well together. It's a long story. Words were said, tempers flared, pancreases made an off-color remark about someone else's mother. Enough said.)
Sure on the surface it appears to be a mid-adrenaline, action-adventure spy/mystery/crime show, but the season finale gave it an emotional depth and character progression that even most serious dramatic shows fail to accomplish. And it goes way beyond "not sucking."
(S02E14) "This is how we're going to take down the mayor...We're going to steal his ball park, and then the team. Not necessarily in that order." - Nathan to his team
Of course, that's what the show wants you to think. It has sprinkled that little tidbit on promos and commercials and even as a billboard opener in last night's episode. It turned out to be a great trick, a bit of slight of hand magic with a major cable network.
At one point, you think it's going to be a political mystery, a promising start since the story can literally go anywhere and make coherent sense. The plot could turn to S&M midgets selling pony meat on the black market and it would make a great twist as long it points back to the corrupt politician caught holding the riding crop.
But then it switches gears over and over into whole new mysteries and directions until your head becomes a revolving restaurant leaving you both confused but strangely satisfied.
(S02E13) "He who sells miracles will have the devil knocking at his door."/"What's that? A proverb?"/"A fortune cookie." - Alec to Parker
Probably the most interesting aspect of 'Leverage', other than Parker's wonderful taste in form fitting dresses, is the way it manages to top itself in small areas.
Not every episode is a home run in every category on the checklist, but it does find new ways to heighten the action, increase the twists and broaden their stories give or take an episode.
(S02E12) "[Nathan's] drinking is not a problem. It's a symptom." - Eliot to Tara
Action dramas don't have to be so layered. As long as the screen is filled with lots of explosions and tough guys with their backs to them, smirking at the camera as if to say, "Oh yeah, that's an explosion behind me and I caused it. I'm a badass, even if I would face federal charges for detonating an explosive device in a public area. So who out there wants to sleep with me?"
Even though this week's Leverage had a couple of moments like that, it still managed to be more layered in both its plot and characters than it has a right to be.
That's exactly what TNT did yesterday with the pickup of three new pilots: 'Delta Blues,' 'Rizzoli and Isles' and the still-untitled alien-invasion series from producer Steven Spielberg. Each show received 10-episode orders, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
'Delta Blues,' from producer George Clooney, stars Jason Lee as a Memphis cop who moonlights as a musician and still lives at home with his mother. The Boston-set 'Rizzoli,' based on a series of mystery novels by Tess Gerritsen, stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as detectives, with Lorraine Bracco playing Harmon's tough, but loyal mother.
The cable network has picked up a new science fiction series about aliens overtaking humanity starring Noah Wyle, a detective series starring Angie Harmon and (surprise!) a cop drama starring Jason Lee.
The "untitled alien invasion series" (wouldn't it be a big bowl of hilariousness if that were the actual title?) will star Wyle as the leader of a band of human resisters who aspire to take back the Earth from an alien race that has laid waste to humanity. Since this is being produced by Steven Speilberg, how about calling it Close Encounters of the Ass Kicking Kind?
How do you keep an audience interested in a show that they already know how it will end? The good guys always win and have so far for TNT's favorite scheming do-gooders.
The show runners must have a whole bag of plot tricks and devices they use to keep the show interesting and last night's was one of the most interesting diversions to keep our minds off the fact that good is about to triumph evil.
(S02E10) "Tara Cole is the best. I wouldn't have sent her if I didn't trust her and I know you're going to love her, so just give her a chance." - Sophie to Parker, Alec and Elliot/"Well, she is hot." - Elliot
No one makes for a better enemy than some kind of ruthless fashion designer. They are the epitome of bloodsucking evil. They want everything, produce nothing and expect to get even more than everything for even less. They are the real world equivalent of a James Bond villain, only not as tastefully dressed.
So it's a perfect way to reacquaint us with the wily antics of Nathan Ford and company as they permeate the seedy underbelly of the world's most powerful evil, even if the way they take them down does have a tiny number of noticeable holes.
My TV has been waiting for a show like Leverage. It's also been waiting for a new TV stand and a more slender, attractive person to look back at, but it's not getting either until it drops the attitude.
It's one of those few shows that blends together the things that make other TV shows so great. It's got the action packed, tense drama of an episode of 24, the wry and sharp wit of Frasier and the complex and twisted plot logic of any episode of Lost.
The only difference is unlike 24, the action doesn't overtake the front seat from the drama at gun point. Unlike Frasier, it doesn't find comedy by talking so far over the average audience's head that frost has to form on their forehead in order for them to appreciate it. And unlike Lost, your head doesn't explode by the end of every episode.
Wahlberg starred in the 2002 NBC drama, Boomtown, a highly touted series that never lived up to the network's expectations. That was the first time Donnie worked with Jon Avnet. More recently, in 2006, he was the star of Runaway for The CW. He received good notices for Spike's
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