Tuned In: No fizz in 'Flashpoint'

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During the 100-day writers' strike, there was a lot of talk about networks importing shows from other countries to serve as original programming for their prime-time schedules. CBS brought "Dexter" over from Showtime and announced it would pick up the Canadian police drama "Flashpoint."

But it now appears CBS's interest in the show was a passing fancy. If the network thought more highly of it, surely it would air sometime other than 10 p.m. Friday in the summer, where it premieres this week. I'm sure the network is hoping to gain viewers by promoting it in Thursday night episodes of "Swingtown," but still, it's low-rated Friday night, which is even lower-rated in summer.

Not that I can blame CBS executives for their ambivalence about "Flashpoint." It's not terrible, not great, just sort of so-so. "Flashpoint" may have some appeal to CBS's crime drama-loving audience but it is a more traditional police show as it follows a Strategic Response Unit, inspired by Toronto's Emergency Task Force. The show is filmed in Toronto.

Enrico Colantoni ("Veronica Mars," "Just Shoot Me") stars as Sgt. Gregory Parker, the supportive leader of these cops who rescue hostages, disrupt gangs, defuse bombs, etc. Amy Jo Johnson ("Felicity") plays the most prominent woman on the team and David Paetkau ("LAX," "Whistler") is introduced as stubbly, mysterious newcomer Sam Braddock.

Friday's episode begins with Parker and his team trying to talk down a man who's holding a gun to a woman's head in front of a skyscraper. Snipers race to the rooftops, including Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon), who's also shown at home trying to juggle work and family obligations.

"Flashpoint" takes pains to show the emotional toll the job has on Ed, but it's not anything we've haven't seen on other police dramas.

After his role as the hammy guy on "Just Shoot Me," Colantoni has reinvented himself as a nurturer, first on "Veronica Mars" and now in "Flashpoint." He's a likeable lead. Too bad "Flashpoint" doesn't have more to recommend it.

Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv .


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