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Jim Profit works for a multinational company, and isn't above using any means necessary to get ahead, and that includes bribery, blackmail, intimidation, extortion, and even murder. Now everyone at the company, including the president, Charles Gracen are oblivious to his dark side, as a matter of fact, Gracen thinks of him as a golden boy. But Joanne Meltzer, the company's security chief looks into his eyes, she sees something sinister. And when her boss, Jack Walters is looking into some irregularities at the company, he asks Joanne to look into and initially, the person she cornered said it was Profit who was behind it, but when Profit learned of this, he convinced this person to change the story she told Joanne. But Joanne knows that Profit is evil and so she tries to get the goods on him, at the same time, Profit tries to find a way to neutralize her and anyone else who might believe her. Written by
Clever, sharp, multi-layered and dark. Superbly directed and acted
Profit poses many interesting questions, even before you watch the series. It was applauded by critics and failed when broadcast, so who got it wrong? The critics, the network, or perhaps it was the audience?
After watching the DVD, I'm convinced. This time the critics were spot on.
The creators looked to the corporate world and brought a complete sociopath into it, then layered style galore, and managed to keep the costs down and still produce some excellent drama which, although slightly dated in looks, could compete well with today's programming with its dark and edgy feel.
Series The series opens strongly in the first few episodes, the dating is apparent more in the quality of picture than anything else although some hairstyles do give away the years quite effectively as well as the phones they use, other than that you'd be forgiven for mistaking the release date.
There's a great sense of direction early on in the series and a real sense of Profit controlling and just how truly amoral he really is. The character is crafted so well and the events of each episode carefully orchestrated to show his slight and careful manipulation of other characters in order to manoeuvre them to his needs and his ultimate goal.
Unfortunately the careful crafting of the episode and the power of the character of Profit seems to dull towards the end of the series. His involvement in events becomes more direct, more obvious, much less clever. He actually feels much more like a henchman running to keep up with events around him than the opening sociopath.
That said, the first half of the series really does keep the focus on his power and manipulation, and to great effect. The whole premise of the show is superb, concentrating on the truly driven character at the centre, a character with no morals at all.
The episodes are multi-layered and complex, weaving multiple threads of the storyline together building them to a strong and very satisfying conclusion. They are dark and edgy yet it's not all serious and there is a far bit of comic value in the series ranging from the darkly comic to the odd moment of silliness. Neither overpowers the main feel of the movie though and these moments are well woven into the series.
One of the main devices used throughout the series is the voice-over of Profit, this is used to open and close each episode as well as providing insight throughout and some further exposition. Surprisingly this works really well as it does make you feel as though Profit is leading you through this journey as he does so many characters in the series. It's not so much used to say "Here's what's happening" but more "Here's what I'm going to make happen", it takes you right into his world from the opening moment.
Pasdar is superb as Profit, as is Szarabajka who plays the MD of G&G, there are some really strong performances from secondary characters throughout the series.
The two man team of David Greenwalt and John McNamara have done a wonderful job of developing this character and threading together the episodes, as well as the threads within each episode.
Sound: DDStereo The audio was clear and a very good soundtrack carried through the series. There was no real need for anything over Digital Stereo as there aren't any moments of loud action or explosions. The contrast of levels between shouts and whispers were good so that no volume adjustments were required.
Picture: 1.33:1 You can tell from the film style that this is from the nineties, it lacks the crispness of today's television, yet that's not a distraction. The picture does look really good, even on the then futuristic computer animation. The picture is good and clear with great colours and lighting particularly when visiting Profit's own private home. There's not an abundance of camera work and hand-held here, but there are some excellently filmed and framed scenes, with great use of crane and dolly shots.
Extras: Seven episodes including two hour pilot, Featurette with interviews and discussion from the creator and stars, Audio Commentaries on some episodes with Pasdar, Greenwalt and McNamara.
The Commentaries are interesting and entertaining, but perhaps the strongest and most revealing is that of the Pilot where the creators and main star give away most of the information you'll hear later on.
There's a lot of insightful discussion into the creation and development of the show and of the Profit character, as well as the story behind the sell of the series. It really does sound as though the show was developed around the character.
The discussions give us an impression of how much the actor was involved, how deep the character development of the series was, and how the relationships between the characters and the people on set developed and grew.
There's not many commentaries I can say this about, but this one really gets you excited about the show, the filming and the acting. Their passion for the character and the series really does get under your skin.
This passion extends into the other commentaries, all except the final episode which is surprisingly disappointing after the bar being raised so high on the first. There's little incisive examination of the episode, what was going to happen, and what could have been.
The featurette takes off where the commentaries left and builds more on the relationships of the characters and crew, as well as delving further into the darkness of Profit the series and the character.
Overall Profit is clever, sharp and superbly directed. It's a very clever and complex tale which when watched now, really does show that it heralded the dark and edgy television which we are now craving more and more of today. Who would have thought that watching someone this evil would be so enjoyable?
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