Line of Fire

Monday, February 16, 2004

As you may have heard, ABC recently announced that, despite previous announcements to the contrary, they have pulled Karen Sisco off the air. As a result, I almost decided not to review any more ABC shows. However, that's not a very mature thing to do, so instead I am only reviewing their show once it's off the air. Take that, Disney!

Anyway, Line of Fire is yet another hour long network drama that tries to replicate the success of HBO. Fortunately, unlike Kingpin, the producers of Line of Fire decided not to rip off The Sopranos and went instead for it's critically acclaimed, but largely unwatched cousin The Wire.

Like The Wire, Line of Fire concerns itself with a group of law enforcement officers (in this case the FBI) in a medium sized Southern city (in this case Richmond) and their ongoing attempts to bring down a local crime boss (played, in a truly inexplicable cast choice, by David Paymer).

Let's take a minute to look at that last parenthetical statement. David Paymer. As a crime boss.

It's such an odd casting choice that it really takes multiple episodes of the show before you can even begin to accept him in the role. David Paymer may be the least threatening actor in Hollywood. He's made a career of playing nebbishes with such success that it's pretty much impossible to accept him in any other role. I mean, from his perspective, this was probably a good move. It's always good, as far as the actor is concerned, to be given a chance to stretch one's dramatic chops. I just don't understand why a TV production company would feel the same. More than the movies, TV seems to be all about playing into your type. And yet, here we are with David Paymer as a crime boss. A crime boss with a horrible, horrible catch phrase as well. It's so bad I can't even repeat it.

So, once you've accepted Paymer in his wildly inappropriate role, the rest of the cast isn't bad, with the exception of Leslie Bibb as a young FBI agent. After the pilot, though, her screentime is cut down considerably, much to the benefit of the show.

Aside from those two dubious casting choices, the show only has one real problem. Instead of having the confidence to really just lay out the incredible detail of working to take out a large criminal operation over the course of multiple episodes, the show falls back into easy-to-digest one hour stories. If you're going to knock off The Wire, knock it off properly, or just knock it off in general.

Rating: B- (At least it's ripping off a good show)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides