Saving Grace: A Retrospective and Commentary

by on May 29, 2010

in Entertainment

Saving Grace on TNT

Saving Grace on TNT starring Oscar winning actor Holly Hunter (The Piano, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Thirteen) as Grace Hanadarko has been a personal favorite since it first aired in 2007. It hooked me the moment the opening titles rolled and I heard the theme song Lonely Road by Everlast.

I was having a conversation the other day, via twitter, with fellow Cinema Static contributor, Lisa Scott. We both agreed that there are not enough good lead roles in television for women over forty. Unfortunately, when the third season finale of Saving Grace airs at the end of June there will be one less.

The show is edgy and deserves its 10PM Monday time slot on TNT. Detective Grace Hanardarko is a cigarette smoking, beer and whisky drinking, passionate woman who attacks life head on. In past episodes, she carried on an adulterous relationship with her partner Det. Ham Dewey (Kenneth Johnson [Blade, The Shield]). Grace is deep down a caring person and willingly risks her life for family, fellow officers, friends, and total strangers. As the series progressed, we learned what drives her sometimes to engage in self-destructive behavior.

Saving Grace - Leon Rippy as Earl

Saving Grace - Leon Rippy as Earl

Grace’s salvation comes in the form of an angel named Earl (Leon Rippy, [Deadwood, The Patriot, ]) wearing Levi’s and a T-shirt. Salvation does not come easy and Earl is only there to help her along. Earl finds Grace an angry tortured soul that will not be easily saved.

If you are a fan of the show, you know what tortures her soul. If you have not seen Saving Grace, I recommend that you get the DVD for seasons one and two and watch. I will not spoil your journey. This is not to say that you will not enjoy the remaining episodes. Each one seems to stand on its own even if you may not get a reference to a particular event in Grace’s past. In fact, the earlier episodes reveal her past slowly. It just adds to the mystery.

Saving Grace with Holly Hunter

Holly hunter as Grace Hanadarko in TNT's Saving Grace

Although, only an actor with Holly Hunter’s talents could play Grace Hanadarko, the show would not be the amazing drama that it is without its cast. In addition to Leon Rippy and Kenneth Johnson, the excellent ensemble consists of:

Laura San Giocomo as Criminalist Rhetta Rodriguez, Lorraine Toussaint as squad leader Captain Kate Perry, Bailey Chase as Det. Butch Ada, Gregory Cruz as Det. Bobby Stillwater, Dylan Minnette as Grace’s nephew Clay and Yanni King as Neeley a young girl that Grace and Earl are trying to save.

(Saving Grace store on Amazon)

TNT says, “We know Drama.” I have to agree they certainly do. I only hope that they find another series with another strong female lead. The only other drama on the commercial networks that I can think of with a strong female lead over forty is The Closer which is also on TNT. There is a plethora (yes, I used the word plethora) of talented women in the industry. Wake up network executives. You are ignoring a vast pool of talent and a whole group of consumers by not having more TV series like Saving Grace.

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