Grace Hanadarko (Hunter) is a top-notch, forceful investigator whose wild personal life translates into a no-holds-barred approach to her detective work. But when an unconventional angel is sent to save her from her wild ways, Grace is forced to tackle her biggest investigation yet. her own emotional crisis!
The first of the 14 episodes in this second season of TNT’s Saving Grace
certainly hits the ground running: Detective Grace Hanadarko, the character portrayed so vividly by Holly Hunter, has already had a beer, maybe two, for breakfast when she gets into a wild shootout with a wanted murderer on the streets of Oklahoma City, followed by a foot chase that ends with the bad guy leaping to his death. Clearly, Hanadarko’s life is anything but usual. As was the case last season, she still drinks and smokes too much, still lies way too often, and is still carrying on with a married fellow cop; she can also still be abrasive and off-putting in both her professional and personal life. But underneath Grace’s tough-chick facade and rock-hard bod (which Hunter again displays to the extent that basic cable will allow) beats a wounded heart. She remains haunted by her history of childhood molestation, as well as by the death of her sister Mary Francis in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (it doesn’t help that some, including family members, blame her for her sister’s being in the Murrah Federal Building on that fateful day). And she still loves, as her “last-chance angel” Earl (Leon Rippy) puts it, “with a fierce, white-hot, mighty love.”
Saving Grace is again largely about Hunter (no surprise there--the Oscar®-winning actress is also an executive producer); in fact, with the help of the plain-spoken, immensely appealing Earl, Grace may be on the verge of discovering just what God’s plan for her is. But there are also noteworthy developments involving other characters. Her lover, Ham Dewey (Kenny Johnson), is in the process of divorcing his wife, although whether that bodes well for him and Grace is uncertain. One of her brothers, her dead sister’s widower, is about to remarry. And the fates of the pervert priest Father Murphy (Rene Auberjonois) and Death Row convict Leon Cooley (Bokeem Woodbine), both of whom have something important in common with Grace, are resolved--the latter in the final episode, which is perhaps the most moving in the series so far. The weekly storylines (mostly involving homicides) aren’t nearly as memorable as the characters, but the latter easily separate this smart, well-written show from the rest of the cop-show crowd. The paltry bonus material includes two so-so featurettes. --Sam Graham
Stills from Saving Grace: Season Two (Click for larger image)