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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE CLEANER- The First Season

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:   589minutes (13 episodes on 4 discs), two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, cast and crew interviews, featurettes, gag reel, promo

VIDEO:  1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Stereo, Spanish Stereo

Subtitles:  English, Spanish, Portuguese

 

STUDIO:   CBS DVD/ Paramount/ CBS Television Studios/ Once A Frog Productions/ A&E Network

RELEASE DATE:  6-9-2009

 

DISC 1- PILOT (cut and original broadcast)/ RAG DOLLS/ MEET THE JONESES

DISC 2- CHAOS THEORY/ HERE COMES THE BOOM/ TO CATCH A FED

DISC 3- HOUSE OF PAIN/ LET IT RIDE/ THE ELEVENTH HOUR

DISC 4- REBECCA/ BACK TO ONE/ FIVE LITTLE WORDS/ LIE WITH ME

William Banks (Benjamin Bratt) is a former drug addict who helps people with their addictions.   He believes he has made a pact with God and part of the deal of staying clean is to help other people get clean.   He has a team with him that includes Akani (Grace Park), Swenton, and Darnell.   William did slip in the past and he has even been in jail twice and rehab once.   During one of his splits with his wife, he had one wild weekend with Akani.   William’s life isn’t perfect as his wife Melissa tries to accept him back into her life and two kids coping with the mess William caused to his family (his daughter tries to be perfect while his son Ben doesn’t want to do the things his father wants him to do like play football).

 

THE CLEANER is inspired by the life of interventionist Warren Boyd.   The show draws from his stories and experiences.  The show looks at both side of the equation- how addiction affects the addict and the ones that love them.    William Banks repeatedly says beating addiction isn’t an easy battle.   Even one episode says only 25 percent of addicts are saved.  

 

It’s an uphill battle.  William Banks doesn’t always come out on top.   William and his team have all been there.  They had their own addictions that they have to fight every day.   Their job sometimes comes in the way of their personal lives (William’s family life is a prime example and Darnell’s love life is another).  Even one of the team slips back into addiction.   William often uses illegal methods to grab the addicts and get them into recovery.   It does lead to some dangerous situations (one team member is told to smoke meth or be shot).  THE CLEANER is the type of show you can relate to whether you’re a recovering addict, a person who lived with an addict, or knew someone who is/ was an addict.   The stories kept me glued to the lives of the characters and the people being helped.   The only misstep seems to be the season finale, but it might be due to something that seems to be working only to be hit by the news not all is well underneath the surface.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Two audio commentaries-

PILOT (Original Broadcast Version) by Robert Munic, Jonathan Prince, Benjamin Bratt

HERE COMES THE BOOM by Robert Munic, Jonathan Prince, Benjamin Bratt

The commentaries talk about the charcters, actors, and stories.   Benjamin Bratt points out why he wanted this role.  Grace Park even went undercover with Warren Boyd to get into the role of her charcter.

 

Disc One has the Alternate Version and Original Broadcast Version of the PILOT (the original version is five minutes longer), a featurette called THE MYSTERY OF WILLIAM BANKS as the main characters talk about who William Banks is, and three minute international promo that shows scenes from three early episodes (the promo does spoil those episodes a little too much).

 

Disc Two has 11 minutes of deleted scenes for CHAOS THEORY and a few more deleted scenes for HERE COMES THE BOOM in addition to a music excerpt from CHAOS THEORY.

Disc Three has a variety of alternate and deleted scenes for HOUSE OF PAIN in addition to another pointless music excerpt (this time from HOUSE OF PAIN).

 

Disc Four has deleted scenes for FIVE LITTLE WORDS and LIE WITH ME.   Also on the disc are cast and crew interviews in addition to a funny gag reel (which makes you think the cast would work together great on a sitcom) and an On Set With Esteban Powell featurette (the actor who plays Swenton interviews various guest actors and a look at the start of his day in addition to doing ADR).

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   THE CLEANER gripped me with its stories of a man trying to help people who had fallen into addictions they seem trapped by.  I can’t wait for the start of season 2 on June 23.

 

This DVD review is (c)6-5-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com