FLASHPOINT “Coming to You Live” Review

Episode 5 of FLASHPOINT‘s third season, “Coming To You Live” featured a popular radio broadcaster conducting an interview with a politician vying to be elected mayor. This is Pat Cosgrove’s final day: his radio programme is to be replaced by `hipper’ shows. On his last day Pat takes the politician, Ryan Malone, hostage and illegally broadcasts from a hidden location promising to put a bullet in Malone’s head on air at the end of the hour unless Malone confesses to some dirty not-so-little secret tucked away in his proverbial closet. Talk about going out with a bang (tee hee). Our favourite Strategic Resistance Unit-slim pickings, granted-is called in to determine where Cosgrove is holding Malone and rescue him before the clock runs out.

Of course there are red herrings: Pat’s motive for holding Malone hostage isn’t because his show was cancelled, nor is it because he is an alcoholic (he just loves his bourbon). It is because on June 2nd 1999 Malone was in a car accident which killed the driver, Cody Ackerman. Cody’s mother? Janet. Janet’s one-time lover? The one and only Monsieur Cosgrove. Bubble, bubble, ooh how this plot thickens. Cosgrove thinks Malone lied about Cody being the driver of the vehicle to avoid trouble. Blah blah blah.

The thing about Flashpoint is…I don’t care. I don’t care that Cody Ackerman was, in fact, not driving the car when it crashed. I don’t care that there happened to be a third person in the car who happened to be Cody’s girlfriend who happens to be Malone’s assistant (hello plot device. Thy name is predictability). Do I care whether Ryan Malone lives or dies? Because I like my entertainment bloody, a bullet into the head of Mr Unremarkable Guest Star would’ve been a welcome shock. But no, Cosgrove only tries to kill himself. The SRU get there in the nick of time and all is well.

Sure, it would’ve sucked for them had Malone been shot, but the most the members of the SRU risked losing would have been a good night’s sleep. This case was just another job. Not one of the characters had something at stake, not one of them was emotionally involved and as a result, neither was I.

The cast and the chemistry between them is one of the best on television. I am frustrated by the writers who do not exploit the talents of their sublime cast. Instead they introduce mediocre characters who hang around the length of the episode then disappear forever into Guest Star Oblivion. Guest characters, when used well, create situations and dynamics which results in the main characters developing more depth and creating a home in our sappy hearts. Last night Flashpoint pivoted the entire show around these case-of-the-day characters and the result was frustration and boredom.

Watch this episode of Flashpoint if you wanted to see decent entertainment in the form of a well-directed, well-acted show with decent dialogue and absolutely zero substance in to its plot.

(Photo: Courtesy of CBS)