THE CLEANER Season 2 Premiere Review

Benjamin Bratt, Whoopi Goldberg - The Cleaner

Season 2 of A&E’s THE CLEANER premiers this Tuesday, June 23rd and I had the chance to check out the first couple episodes today. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about this guy William Banks (Benjamin Bratt) who struck up a deal with God where if he got off drugs he’d help others to do the same. It’s a true story actually (I know that sounds hard to believe). He’s got this little crew that he works with and they go on these missions to get people clean. Basically they are like cops, but instead of chasing down bad guys, they hunt down druggies. William also has plenty of personal drama, mostly involving his wife Melissa and his two kids. At the end of season 1 Melissa is looking for some space and decides to try a separation from William.

Season 2 picks up where Season 1 left off. In episode 1, William moves back in with Melissa for the week while her parents are in town (since they aren’t aware of the separation). Her parents don’t seem to understand the line of work that William has chosen for himself. A famous news anchor and old friend of William’s gets back into drugs and alcohol when his wife begins losing her battle with ovarian cancer. In episode 2, William and son Ben plan on having some father and son time when 2 unexpected cases come up. With no choice but to bring his son along, William tries to help a friend of his dad’s, Duren (Joe Don Baker). Through Duren, William learns of another addict that needs his help. Ben proves to be helpful in the case when he’s able to relate to the son of one of the addicts.

One thing you will love about Season 2 is that it’s packed with guest stars. Episode 1 features Whoopi Goldberg and Gary Cole, just to name a few. On a personal note, this show is a little too dark for my taste. I don’t think we see William smile more than a few times in each episode. This is probably fine for some, but I don’t like drama’s that don’t provide a little comic relief here and there. Also, William’s, rag-tag pose of helpers seems a little clichéd. First you have Akani, the hot chick, who wears skin tight clothing and a hard street wise attitude. Then there is the flawed, “Arnie” who always seems to be messing up. It may be a true story, but it’s not a unique one. I give it an ‘A’ for Bratt’s performance, and ‘A’ for guest star power, but a ‘C’ on originality.