An accountant moves into an office formerly owned by a private investigator and begins picking up side work as a private eye, after clients looking for the office's previous occupant inquire about his services.
Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
After just two episodes, Denis Leary's "The Job" has become a must-see part of my Wednesday nights.
Perhaps the most remarkable element of the show is Leary's almost ego-free presence at the center. He co-produces, he co-writes, he stars, and yet the character he creates is, unquestionably, a jerk. He's a caustically funny and charismatic jerk, but he's a jerk nonetheless. Leary is quite aware of this, allowing the other characters to call him on his jerkiness; one actually slaps him.
In a strange way, this liberates the show. We know Leary as a star, and we already like him, so the show doesn't feel the need to prop him up as a fake hero. Leary finds all sorts of nuances, demonstrating that he's a much better actor than anyone gave him credit for being. He finds the laughs, of course -- many, many laughs -- but he also finds a measure of pathos and sympathy in this aggressively selfish and self-centered man.
If I have any complaint about the show, it's that it's too short. Half an hour isn't enough time to truly develop the policework, to set up and follow a complex, involving case. In this, the apotheosis of the television police program, "Homicide: Life on the Street," doesn't need to worry about being unseated from its throne as the best damn cop show ever. Leary's "The Job," though, has much of the same energy, the loosey-goosey character-centered approach and gritty realism of "Homicide," and that's high praise indeed.
That, of course, is ABC's cue to cancel the show as soon as possible, as they did with "Sports Night" and other quality programs. Tune into "The Job," and hope ABC lets it live.
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