Cop shows. After watching Flashpoint, you'll be convinced that the old saw really is true: If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. Because the fact that this is a Canadian show imported to CBS doesn't freshen the formula much. It does, however, mean that you won't be watching CSI levels of content.
Set in Toronto, the elite Strategic Response Unit, or SRU, is modeled after the Toronto Police Service's Emergency Task Force. But with their smarts, toughness and courage, this specialized team might as well be a Navy SEAL unit. They tackle hostage situations, delusional gunmen, ticking bombs, terrorists, nerve gas, suicidal teens and sneaky criminals. It's all in a day's work for them.
On this close-knit team there's fatherly leader Sgt. Gregory Parker, his sniper with a conscience Ed Lane, Afghanistan tour vet Sam Braddock, wise and collected Julianna "Jules" Callaghan, demolitions expert Mike "Spike" Scarlatti and weapons specialist Kevin "Wordy" Wordsworth. And if there's anything fresh-ish about Flashpoint it's the fact that storylines take viewers into the psyches of these SRU members. As actor David Paetkau said in a CBS interview, "It's nice when the cops, the real cops are like, 'I like the show, it's great.' … [Cops are] not bulletproof, you know, they take these things home with them. We try to show that part, too, the cost of heroism. … We really hit our stride and it's a great balance between action and drama."
Well, maybe not so fast with that "hit our stride" comment. Paetkau may not know it, but he's exaggerating a bit. Most critics seem to agree with Boston Globe writer Matthew Gilbert when he says, "Flashpoint … is just going through the motions. It goes through the motions quite competently and respectably. But it is nonetheless merely re-creating crime-series moves we've all seen many times before, with only the faintest afterimage of originality."
Flurries of graphic violence are kept to a minimun for this genre, though. And profanities are few and far between.
While on a date with Jules, Steve (a paramedic) impetuously rushes to a restaurant where a shot has been fired. He and Jules are soon taken hostage by the gunman, Davis, a paranoid schizophrenic who believes that the restaurant owner, a Muslim, is part of a terrorist cell planning to attack the city. The SRU team immediately works to save the hostages while trying to spare Davis' life and investigate potential terror attacks. Steve performs a makeshift surgery on a man who's been shot in the chest. (We see a bit of blood.)
There's a twist, of course, involving Davis getting "used" to carry out someone else's vendetta. But it doesn't really matter. The end result is the hostage stand-off just mentioned and a detonated chemical bomb in a mosque. A dead man's body is shown, and at least one other person is shot. Characters misuse God's name a few times. Jules wears a low-cut dress.