“HUNTERS” SEEKS REVENGE ON NAZIS; “CHICAGO P.D.” REVISITED
A TV Review by Tim Riley
“HUNTERS” ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
A dark chapter in modern history, the Holocaust is a grim reminder of the unspeakable horror of the forced labor, torture and mass killings imposed on the Jewish people in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.Survivors of the Nazi genocide are a dwindling number these days 75 years after the liberation of the death camps, with Auschwitz probably the most notorious one. “Hunters” may serve, in an uncomfortable way, as a reminder of the Nazi regime’s cruel barbarism.
During the winter television press tour, show creator and executive producer David Weil reported that his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor whose stories about her time during the war “felt like the stuff of comic books and superheroes.”For the memories of a then-impressionable six-year-old, Weil may have formulated in his mind that donning a vigilante cap to fight antisemitism was a good premise for a group of Nazi hunters in 1977 to root out war criminals in our midst.
The premise of “Hunters” rests on the notion of a vengeance fantasy where philanthropist Holocaust survivor Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino) recruits and leads a diverse group of hunters based in New York City to pursue war criminals. In the first episode, teenager Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) deals drugs in Brooklyn to support his grandmother Ruth (Jeannie Berlin), who ends up brutally murdered. It turns out that Meyer and Ruth were together at Auschwitz.
The Holocaust history is news to Jonah and he longs for revenge, but Meyer is initially reluctant to recruit the young math whiz into the group until Jonah proves his value as a code-breaker.The show’s most jarring note is the introduction of Dylan Baker’s role of creepy Biff Simpson, an Undersecretary of State who turns out to be a high-level Nazi.
This revelation strains credulity in the obvious sense that one would expect a person appointed to an important federal post would have been vetted in a serious background check.
Interesting sidekicks in the hunter group include Josh Radnor’s Lonny Flash, a master of disguises with a sly sense of humor and Kate Mulvany’s Sister Harriet, a former MI6 operative dressed as a nun. Another standout is Jerrika Hinton’s Millie Morris, an African-American FBI agent who stumbles onto the Fourth Reich conspiracy.
“Hunters” is so often unnerving that it has caused me to wonder at the halfway point of ten episodes whether to hang in to the end. Curiosity may get the better of me.
“CHICAGO P.D.” REVISITED ON NBC
During this time of the seemingly eternal lockdown, is there a chance we will run out of programming on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to fill the void of entertainment that may not be enjoyed in public venues? While Netflix and Amazon appear primed to take care of our immediate needs for diversions, there is a world beyond the streaming services. Let’s take a look at what network television may have to offer.
You can count on producer Dick Wolf for successful network runs of must-see television. One that has no end in sight is the popular “Chicago” franchise series that began with “Chicago Fire.” The original series that focused on firefighters in the Windy City and Jason Beghe’s Hank Voight, suspected of being a dirty cop, was a recurring character involved in a feud with a fire station lieutenant.
Launched as a spinoff, “Chicago P.D.” turned Sergeant Voight into the central character running the Intelligence Unit to deal with major offenses such as high-profile murders, drug trafficking, organized crime and other sensational crimes. The tough-talking Voight can be as ruthless in enforcement as he is caring for the vulnerable. He always seems willing to make an extra effort to help young kids break free of criminal gangs.
Now in its seventh season, “Chicago P.D.” maintains consistency with Voight’s character willingness to bend the rules and ignore the admonitions of the brass often worried about an outfit that many want disbanded. Voight and his mainstays, Detective Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), Officers Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger, Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) and Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), and Desk Sgt. Trudy Platt (Amy Morton), have been around since day one.
Other characters come and go over the years. Sophia Bush’s Erin Lindsay was one that Voight took under his wing and who then joined the force, and later in the series decided to join the FBI, much to the disappointment of her mentor. The gravel-voiced Voight remains consistent in his tough-guy routine with operating techniques one would think that put him in the crosshairs of Internal Affairs with the frequency of daily meals.
The rough-and-tumble of policing by Voight and his team is unlikely to change. If Voight has a catchphrase, it’s most prone to be “Do what you gotta do.” As “Chicago P.D.” was recently extended for another three seasons, chances are that Voight’s maxim hangs around too.
“Chicago P.D.” continues to be a durable police procedural that fans of the genre will tend to enjoy for the mix of action and personal drama.