Flashpoint – Season 1

I like cop shows, I’ve seen a lot of cop shows over the years. This one cold just be in my top 5 cop shows of all time. Flashpoint is a Canadian drama series started in 2009 and 4 seasons long and focuses on the lives of several operators working for an elite police tactical unit known as Strategic Response Unit (SRU),  based on the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force which is called in by regular police to resolve situations beyond their control. Although initially wanting to be an generic big city, the series is set in and acknowledges that it is set in Toronto. The series was created by husband & wife actor/scriptwriter duo Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and stars Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau and Enrico Colantoni.

The first season ran for 13 episodes (initially only 9 were shown in North America) but each are worth watching. The pilot episode is based on a real life incident in Toronto. The team is called to the case of a man holding a woman hostage, after having shot his estranged second wife at her place of work. The case becomes complicated when it turns out that the man doesn’t speak any English. The team tries to reason with the man by having a translator, but the man doesn’t seem to want to budge. It is unknown what the man wants, and when they think that he’s a danger to everyone, they decide to shoot him. Just before they are able to shoot him, a young man bursts towards the man, screaming “dada”—it is the gunman’s son, who tries to calm him down. It doesn’t work, however, and the team is forced to shoot him. Just as Greg Parker gives the order to shoot, the son runs in front of his father, but Ed Lane successfully shoots the father anyway. The woman he was holding hostage walks away in shock, not knowing why the man held her captive. This case would have repercussions for the team throughout the seasons.

A heartbreaking second episode is about a man who goes berserk when his young daughter receives notification that a donor heart is available only to discover that the heart is given to someone else because of a mix-up, he takes a hospital wing hostage, demanding that his daughter receive the transplant. He wants the heart for his daughter but in the end he is talked down by Sgt. Parker only for the older man who is to receive the heart say that he wants the little girl to receive the heart instead, sealing his own fate. The father must reconcile himself with the fact as he sits in jail. Next a group of undercover narcotics officers require the SRU’s assistance to help arrest a major drug dealer. The situation is complicated when an ex-junkie arrives in the dealer’s apartment, and an undercover officer at the scene is shot. The ex-junkie, a young man, shows a lot of courage when instead of taking the chance to run, he stays to help the cop and pays for it in the end with his own life, a victim of crossfire.

When an enraged family member takes a cop hostage, the team has to set aside its own feelings to resolve the situation. However, the tables turn when the hostage may not be who the team thinks. An infamous bank robber known as the Monday Morning Robber takes hostages in a bank when the police are alerted to his heist. Team One learns that he is not the Monday Morning Robber, but in fact a former employee who was laid off. Unable to care for his wife with Alzheimer’s disease, he seeks revenge against the person who fired him. Guest star Nicholas Campbell was nominated for a Gemini Award for this role. In the end the robber, George, chooses to trick a cop to shooting him so his death will pay off his life insurance to his wife. Tasha Redford is an awkward 16-year old with a chronically alcoholic mother, and who becomes the target of an intimidation campaign by a gang of local girls, led by Brianna Tulley, after she reports an attempted rape. When Brianna inflicts a vicious and humiliating “uglying-up” of Tasha at a local shopping mall, Tasha accidentally shoots one of the gang members. The SRU is called, and Jules chases Tasha to an outdoor advertising tower where she must talk Tasha down. A teenager escapes military school to save his younger brother from their abusive father, but when the father ends up being shot, the father’s reputation as a reputable lawyer may shift the blame to his son. The teenager uses survival tactics learned at military school to evade the SRU, and Parker must reach out to his brother before his increasingly dangerous methods kill someone.

A young man named Michael Jamison holds Ed and a courthouse employee hostage and demands to see the lead prosecutor who sent him for prison for rape and murder, a crime he insists he did not commit. SRU members try to safely rescue their colleague and arrest Michael without any losses by looking into the prosecutor’s conviction record, and discover that he had leaked details of high-profile cases to inmates in order to secure convictions. Team One is called in to lead the search for and rescue a young girl kidnapped from her home. While on the job they learn that one of the abductors is a teen girl who went missing herself eight years earlier and has been indoctrinated by her abductor not to trust the police. he SRU is assigned to a protective detail for a VIP and his wife at a business forum when a bomb is set off. They realize that the bomb is a distraction set off by a group of Chilean protestors so that they can kidnap the VIP’s wife. The kidnapping turns to horror when the wife is found alive with a remote-controlled collar bomb around her neck, with the Chileans demanding that the VIP confess to crimes at a mine in South America. A distraught wife (holds a woman hostage at knifepoint whom she suspects is having an affair with her husband in the couple’s suburban house. The hostage swears she is not involved with the husband, but the wife refuses to believe her and demands she tell her everything.

Danny Rangford, an SRU veteran locks himself in a room at SRU headquarters to commit suicide. Ed is called in to talk Danny down when it is discovered that he is Ed’s former teacher. Now retired from active duty, Danny feels guilty over the death of a young boy nearly 20 years earlier. The city is held hostage by a sharpshooter who takes control of city hall, and SRU is called in to end the stand-off. Team One learn that the shooter is deliberately missing his targets and that he has a grudge against Ed Lane. They learn the shooter is Petar Tomasic, the son of the man Ed shot at First York Plaza in episode 1, and who is a war-trained sniper in his own right. When Tomasic shoots Jules, Ed risks his life to capture him. The stand-off ends with Jules fighting for her life and Tomasic being shot by Sam.

Brilliantly shot, no over dramatics or over glamorization of the team. The series focuses on the lives of the 4 main characters – Parker, Lane, Jules & Sam – and the effects of being unable to save an innocent as well as post traumatic syndrome. Solid cast with both Enrico Colantoni and Hugh Dillion just amazing. Their guest stars are excellent too; some of the actors have played out career best performances in guest roles.

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