“TOMMY” NEW TWIST ON TV POLICE DRAMA; CABLE TV PREVIEW 4
A TV Review by Tim Riley
“TOMMY” ON CBS NETWORK Police procedural shows have been a staple of network and cable television for so long that it is difficult to imagine many new twists for the genre as so many series have the feeling of being inspired by shows that came before. If there is a new variation for “Tommy” on the CBS network, it could be executive producer Tom Szentgyorgi’s observation during the winter press tour that the new series was “inspired by the absence of somebody.”
He was referring to the fact the three largest cities in the country, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, have never had a female chief of police, and so why not rectify the situation with Edie Falco’s Abigail “Tommy” Thomas taking charge of the Los Angeles Police Department.As an actress who has made a strong presence in cable shows like “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie,” Edie Falco is an interesting yet effective choice for creating a cop show that Szentgyorgi describes as being less about action and more focused on relationships.
Falco’s Tommy, as she prefers to be called, has been hired by Mayor Buddy Gray (Thomas Sadoski) away from the NYPD as the result of pressure from a federal judge to appoint a woman to the post. The previous chief, Milt Leakey (Corbin Bernsen), though apparently still popular with the rank-and-file, was accused of sexual harassment by different women while a prostitution scandal that festered under his watch also figured into his dismissal.
As a New Yorker with the accent intact, Tommy is an outsider coming in to run a police department with no knowledge of the local culture. To cement the outsider status, she’s also a lesbian and seems to relish being identified as a “feminist icon.”Not unlike the pilot of FOX’s “Deputy,” also set in Los Angeles, the first episode of “Tommy” steps into the politics of immigration when an LAPD officer fakes a traffic stop of immigrants to thwart an arrest by ICE agents.
What follows is the most improbable involvement of a police chief of volunteering to take a minor child into her own custody even though she’s living temporarily in a hotel, a situation that stretches credibility.Moreover, when not struggling to reconnect with her estranged adult daughter Kate (Olivia Lucy Phillip), Tommy is such a hands-on chief that her appearance at every crime scene makes one wonder how she finds the time to exercise management of LAPD. Navigating the politics of City Hall and maneuvering through the culture of the police force offer Edie Falco a chance to shine but may not do much to elevate “Tommy” beyond the standard procedural.
“CABLE TV WINTER-SPRING PREVIEW – PART 4”
Al Pacino, an iconic thespian with a great career on the screen, stage and occasional forays into TV movies, has arguably been one of the greatest masters of intensity as a method actor in films such as “The Godfather” and “Scarface.”Pacino’s forceful personality is certain to follow his character of Meyer Offerman in the Amazon Prime Video series “Hunters,” in his role as a Nazi hunter in 1977 New York City. When a Holocaust survivor is brutally murdered in her own home, Offerman recruits her grandson into a secret organization that is determined to track down hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officials conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the United States.
The eclectic vigilante squad of hunters sets out on a bloody quest for revenge to bring the Nazis to justice and thwart their new genocidal plans.During the winter TV press tour, series creator David Weil, while acknowledging that Nazis who sought refuge after the war on our shores were hunted through legal action, observed that “Hunters” is “a piece about wish fulfillment” of Nazis being eliminated. That Pacino’s character brings intensity to his role of a hunter is powerfully brought home where he brutally nails the hand of his prey to a desk with the sharp blow of a big knife. The others are equally up to the task of violent retribution.
The setting of the series in the late Seventies allows for more Holocaust survivors to be among us. As it is, the last known World War II Nazi living in the United States, was deported to Germany in 2018 and died a year ago. Fans of “Downton Abbey,” of which there are many, may want to tune in to the new EPIX series “Belgravia,” a story of secrets and scandals amongst the upper echelon of London society in the 19th century. An invitation to the Duchess of Richmond’s ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo sets in motion a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come as secrets unravel.Not surprisingly, “Belgravia” is based on the bestselling novel of Julian Fellowes, who just so happens to be the creator, writer and executive producer of the award-winning “Downton Abbey” television series. Safe to say we likely know what to expect of another period drama.