is a drama which depicts the emotional journey into the tough, risk-filled lives of a group of cops in the SRU (inspired by Toronto's Emergency Task Force). It's a unique unit that rescues hostages, busts gangs, defuses bombs, climbs the sides of buildings and talks down suicidal teens. Members of a highly-skilled tactical team, they're also trained in negotiating, profiling and getting inside the suspect's head to diffuse the situation to try and save lives.
The Canadian police drama series Flashpoint
examines the day-to-day triumphs and tragedies of an elite tactical squad as it responds to an array of high-intensity situations in this first-season boxed set. Character actor Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars
) is the cool-headed leader of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU), a crack team of young officers skilled at handling dangerous situations beyond the ken of the police, including hostage situations, bomb threats, and robberies. The 13 cases covered in this set include a father holding a hospital staff at gunpoint when his daughter fails to receive a heart transplant ("First in Line"), a security guard turned bank robber ("Who's George?"), and a botched drug deal that turns deadly ("Element of Surprise"). At first blush, it's standard-issue cop show fare, with plenty of well-executed action sequences filmed in tight, often claustrophobic setups to ratchet up the tension. Thankfully, the producers of Flashpoint
are equally interested in the emotional and physical tolls experienced by the team. There isn't a lot of gung-ho behavior on display here; the exceptionally capable and underrated Colantoni sets the tone with his constant refrain of "Let's keep the peace"--for the SRU, the less bullets fired, the better. We also get to see how extreme moments have lasting effects: Lane is twice dragged into investigations over his use of force in the first season, while other officers deal with posttraumatic stress when situations go wrong and good people die, despite their best efforts. Such elements help to elevate Flashpoint
beyond the realm of TV shoot-'em-up, and if the end results aren't on par with The Wire
or Homicide: Life on the Street
, the show deserves some credit for aspiring to those levels of quality. Included in the three-disc set is commentary by director David Frazee on the series pilot, "Scorpio," which details the challenges of keeping the show visually exciting, while two brief featurettes offer conversations with Colantoni, his castmates, and crew members in regard to the show's production and its characters. --Paul Gaita