Line of Fire (TV Series 2003–2005) Poster

(2003–2005)

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9/10
One of the best "law enforcement" shows out there.
sophieengberg25 May 2006
"Line of Fire" is a real quality TV show about the FBI department in Richmont. The characters are very realistic and the cast is spot-on! The viewers get a look into the "everyday" life of normal federal agents, but also a very good sense of the life for an FBI agent who is deep undercover. It is a show that not only depicts the work lives of the agents, but also their private lives and how difficult it can be to keep those two things separate. I would like to give an example of another show in order to compare the two, but I cannot think of another show that comes even remotely close to this on! There are a lot of TV shows about different law enforcement agencies, however this one is one of the best and most gripping. It had me glued to the TV. The only thing keeping me from giving it 10 out of 10 is that there is only one season, which is a huge let-down when you get "addicted" to a show. However, I cannot blame the network for canceling the show if the audience were not big enough. I just have to wonder what else the viewers could want in a show...
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Has the balls to try something different.
Paul Anthony Cassidy16 January 2004
This show is as good as anything on American TV at the moment. But alas it seems to be getting shot down for reasons that people don't worry about in shows like 'The Sopranos'. Yeah Cohen is out of control. But wait a minute don't we read about high ranking Law Enforcement officials screwing up all the time? Sampson has a family and is trying to balance FBI life with being a parent in an increasingly loveless marriage. But wait a minute. Isn't Tony Soprano trying to manage his family life and fragile marriage with his violent crime life? It is more likely to me that a leading FBI agent could have a sex and alcohol problem than it is that a Mob boss openly goes to see a shrink twice a week and has been doing so for years. And Malloy's muscle. Hell they are actually quietly sinister. Not like the Sopranos where everyone of Tony's crew are bad-a-bing stand up comedians from Bensonhurst.

And Paymer as Malloy is frickin' marvelous. Lets face it if you had never seen him in anything before you would be impressed. But like i predicted 'Car Pool' will always be held against him. I'm sorry but if a 5ft tall Joe Pesci can be a tough guy then so can Paymer. I think its called acting. Anyway so what if Malloy isn't hard. He's evil and real smart and to be a crime boss thats all you need.

I'm happy to see a new take on organized crime that offers a more modest look on the life than the wisecracking 'Sopranos'. Hopefully this show will be given the time and scope to reach the potential it undoubtedly has.

Will it reach the heights of the Sopranos? No chance. Infact its probably reaping the backlash of that show's popularity and dominance. But would Donovan Stubbins kick the $hit out of Tony Sope and his crew. NO doubt.
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cutting edge
legaleagles10 December 2003
Having now seen the first two episodes of Line of Fire, I'm convinced that this series will be a top drama this season. It pulls no punches and taps directly into the real life complex interplay between mob and FBI. The characters are well developed and the acting is as good as it gets. Brian Goodman, for one, has jumped into this role with a passion and his instinctive moves are just enough for his bad guy character. Kristin Snyder is compelling and compassionate as the First Lady of the mob. For me, the two best shows currently airing are 24 and Line of Fire.
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Quite an interesting pilot
mhoney-13 December 2003
I don't know what to really say about this show. I loved the adds for it, and I'm a sucker for gangster movies and the like. I never would have pictured David Paymer as a mob boss, but he does a fine job. I felt like--and this is just after watching one episode--the mob syndicate aspect of the show has yet to fully develop its characters into three-dimensional people, unlike the FBI, who seem much more real so far. I really hope this doesn't become a kind of cops-and-robbers thing, following two opposite sides, yet always making you want the "good guys" to win, and bring down the "bad guys."

I would have never figured Richmond, Virginia for the setting of a long, drawn-out mob sting operation, but I like the idea for a change. Rather than the cold streets of New York or Chicago, or flashy environs of, say, Miami, they put a bunch of syndicate crooks in one-time capital of the Confederate States.

So far, while in pursuit of a low-level mob affiliate, an FBI agent exchanges shots with the crook and both are killed, right in front of the agent's partner. A young widow has just graduated Quantico, all in an effort to eventually make it to anti-terrorism and avenge the death of her husband in the Pentagon of 9-11. She's about to fill the shoes left behind by the afore-mentioned dead agent. Two agents inform a petty crack dealer his life may be in danger because of a tape taken from four days prior, when Malloy (Paymer) interrogated a man, beating him savagely with a lead pipe, learned he worked for the crack dealer, "Crazy Jazz," dealing drugs to Malloy's nephew, Jimmy. (The scene is probably the reason there's a "Viewer Discretion Advised" on this show.) Later on, newly recruited ex-con Roy, in a mad dash, shoots Crazy Jazz, threatens his buddy, and kills an innocent bystander, much to the chagrin of Malloy, and his lieutenant, Donovan Stubbin, who stood by as his friend went nuts. But apparently Roy is actually undercover, and it was all just a way of getting the dealer into Witness Protection.

The show definitely has potential, but only time (and ratings) can tell.
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A dry, familiar crime drama but well acted; Paymer rocks
liquidcelluloid-12 June 2004
Network: ABC; Genre: Crime Drama; Content Rating: TV-MA (for strong language and violence); Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4)

Season Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

Rob Lurie's 'Line of Fire' follows a war that erupts between the Mob and the FBI. The show has an interesting set-up to this: a foot chase between an agent and a mobster ends when a member of each side gets off a shot at the same time, effectively killing each other. Lurie is the hack movie director of corny fluff such as 'The Last Castle' so at first I was pleasantly surprised with this offering.

The groundwork is set for this to be a great show. The formula is familiar but the characters are solid and well developed. That acting is outstanding. David Paymer, a longtime favorite of mine, is terrific as mob boss Jonah Malloy. Paymer is given a catch phrase that perfectly fits the character: "That's that with that". Thanks to the show's short life it will surely become a favorite among cult TV quotes.

Everyone else plays 2nd fiddle to Paymer, but the strongest of which is Leslie Hope. Hope got a lot of flack for her damsel-in-distress role in the first season of '24' but now she proves without question what a great and powerful actor she really is. Had the show focused more closely on her and Paymer that might have been the fuel it needed to strike a fire. Leslie Bibb (an intriguing post-9/11 character) and Julie Ann Emery (in a nice little domestic role reversal) also stand out. There's also the closeted homosexual agent in the mix, now requisite in this type of show to give it the appearance of "edge".

'Fire' looks good and has a classy, if slightly off kilter, intro. Finally, I though, a good, adult crime series. One where the emphasis is on characters and their struggles and not a jittery camera. But, as much as I want to love it, 'Fire' never seems to get off the ground. I waited until the very end for the writers to dig in and feast on all this show's juicy potential. Suck the lemon dry. What's the point in having such great characters and great performances if you aren't going to do anything with them? Each episode is like a microcosm of the series. It will start out with a gripping premise and then wander off, get lost in itself and end up going nowhere. It's rejection of the "gritty cop drama" school of cinematography is refreshing, I like the languishing '70s look, but it's often too slow and unfocused to stay interesting. It started out great, it had everyone in the palm of its hand with deliciously evil characters, noble questionable heroes and premium cable language and violence (Did you ever want to hear "s***" on network TV?) and then lost its grip. A more creative technical staff could have tightened up the mountain of technical problems that made this show so dry and monotonous.

The final episodes (aired by ABC as a 2-hour event movie in a shocking display of respect toward the show) where actually quite good. Great concept, well acted, but like all of them, it meandered in the long middle act into ground so familiar I lost interest. Fortunately, my patience was rewarded and it ended with a bang. Literally. A round of applause is deserved for pumping fresh and impressive life into the time-tested car crash set-piece.

Oh well, we'll always have the catch phrase. Thankfully, it wasn't shoved down our throat. NBC could learn a thing or two. In 5 years people will be saying it and it will be an obscure reference to a 1 season series called 'Line of Fire'. That's that with that.

* * ½
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Mishandled Series
jmorrison-22 January 2004
This show has alot going for it, and could have produced some very compelling television. But, it appears political correctness, and image enhancement are more important these days.

For one, the characters are unbelievable to the point of absurdity. In the most recent episode, the female special-agent-in-charge of the Richmond field office, visits a bar (which she, apparently, does every night), drinks herself silly, picks up a guy and takes him home and lets him tie her up during sex, without ever knowing what his name is.

The next morning, she cannot remember much about the encounter, including whether he used a condom or not. It turns out, the guy she picked up could have been somebody wanted for serial rape in Florida. She confesses all this to a high ranking official of the Richmond police department, himself a former lover. He tells her he needs her to recover the man's used condom in order to identify him. It turns out he wasn't the serial rapist.

Apparently, the high ranking official of the Richmond police department doesn't seem to be concerned that her behavior disqualifies her for her position, and could very well cause serious problems for the agents working for her. I watched all this, and felt she didn't deserve to carry an FBI agent's badge, let alone be placed in charge of a major metropolitan field office. She's a freaking barfly.

The absurdity goes on and on: A female agent physically accosting a guy on the street because her and her husband are late dropping their kids off - this agent cries at the drop of a hat, yet she's telling another female agent "I'd go through a door with you anytime" (what a ridiculous cliche to be dropped in here);, the "cute & plucky" little female agent disobeying orders at the academy to overcome her fears, and the all important victim-sympathy angle - her young husband was killed on 9/11 at the pentagon. I mean, nothing wrong with stuffing in as many 9/11 references to ensure success, huh?

My god, why don't you just hit us over the head with a sledgehammer and call it a day? What is the point here? The over-the-top machismo behavior exhibited by the females in this show is just laugh-out-loud ridiculous. What is someone trying to prove here? And why are they trying this hard? Television shows are supposed to entertain us. It seems as if someone here is trying to "educate" us. The whole premise with the female agents in this show is done based on someone's political agenda, and far too many television shows are taking this route.

And as for the undercover agent - "Roy"; any half-decent crime organization is understandably overly paranoid about being infiltrated by undercover agents. Yet, here we seem to have this guy pretty much just show up, with very little suspicion or distrust evident. Criminal types would have seen and smelled this guy a mile away. He seems to look and act suspiciously when he is caught in a difficult situation.

This had real possibilities; a great look and feel to it. There was some very entertaining and gritty television possible here. Yet this is all frittered away by horrendous writing ,laughable characters and an out-of-control, over-the-top political correctness.

Unless this shows undergoes a major overhaul, I'm pretty much done with this mess.

"That's that with that"
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What happened?
quincy-white14 January 2005
When this show came on it blew my mind. It was dark, gritty, and at first better even than 24. David Paymer was a classic cold-blooded villain and Leslie Hope was great against type of her 24 character, nail-tough.

In one episode, everything changed. It was when the FBI was pursuing a criminal pregnant woman, who ultimately abandoned her newborn in a dumpster. The baby was found alive and well and the episode had a warm, happy ending. No, I am no sadist who enjoys the sight of dead babies, but the whole point of a series like this is to show us what we do not want to see, along the lines of Saving Private Ryan.

With each successive episode it lost its edge, the fate of so many good shows. In less than a season, really half a season, it went on the journey NYPD Blue took over the course of a decade, throwing in curse words and partial nudity to appear gritty, but really becoming all too soft. I loved the show, then I was glad to see it canceled.
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I love this show
gezquester4 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a great show; I have always been interested in law enforcement. When I was a child, I wanted to be a cop. I used to play at cops and robbers all the time! I still dream about being a cop, or an agent of some kind.

FBI agents are fighting to stop the criminal ways of Mr Malloy and his people in Richmond, Virginia (I think that is where it's set).

I enjoyed every episode, the acting is good, the script is well written and the action is realistic.

Leslie Hope was good as the firm boss who seemed to be on top of everything but was having emotional problems and complications with her child.

Leslie Bibb was convincing as the rookie agent who really came into her own towards the end of the show.

Anson Mount played his character well. An Agent who spent 2 years undercover in jail so he could infiltrate Mr Malloy's gang and is dealing with some problems as a result of it.

Julie Ann Emery played an FBI agent who was also a mother of two and had marriage problems.

Jeffery D. Sams played another fresh outta training agent who was 100% confident in himself and seemed to pick things up straight away.

David Paymer plays his character brilliantly. He comes across nicely as a criminal with principals! LOL.

The show had some surprising concepts and ideas. I was not expecting the raping of Mrs Malloy, the dead baby in a dumpster, the ex-con trying to kill Agent Sampson's (Julie Ann Emery) children. The woman who found out her husband didn't die but ran away, and then turned up again and she shot him and how this affected Bibb's character because she lost her husband during a 9/11 attack. The most surprising thing was that this Agent (Anson Mount) had been undercover in JAIL for 2 years just to get close to Mr Malloy (David Paymer), wow...talk about commitment to your work!!

I can imagine though on the set someone calling 'Leslie' and both Bibb and Hope replying at the same time, that must of gotten confusing.

This is a great show and I am just upset that it only had one season.
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Finally Police in Richmond
62410 December 2003
This could develop into an interesting program. The use of Richmond as a backdrop is refreshing. The city offers locations more interesting than the housing projects of Baltimore. So far, the location scenes and the references to Richmond have been accurate. I hope this continues.

Believability suffers when you see an FBI killed while standing straight up in front of a bad guy with a gun instead of going for cover. And later when, a bunch of bad guys jump out of car with guns on what should be a busy dock, but there is no one to notice.

Leslie Hope as the SAC, could become one of the best female police characters currently on TV if given the chance. The female trainee agent is made to hate. I hope she becomes a more believeable character.
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Not bad but familiar
Miles-109 December 2003
It is like HBO's "The Wire," or past TV series about the intrigues of cops and robbers like "EZ Streets" (1996), "Wiseguy" (1987) or, to a lesser extent, "Big Apple" (2001). The trouble is that so far it looks better than "Big Apple" but not quite as good as "The Wire" (though it is probably easier to follow) and not as good and lyrical as "EZ Streets." The point is that, except for "Wiseguy" and the one on HBO, the most recent of these similar series have been canceled after very short runs. I would like to see more of this show before deciding, but the pilot seems fairly good. I just don't see why, if viewers didn't watch a show like "EZ Streets," they would watch this one. I agree that David Paymar is an unexpected choice to play a villain. I don't think he's played one before. He is a good actor, though, and seems to pull it off so far.
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On hiatus or is it history?
mstcyr23 February 2004
Now that February sweeps are upon us, it appears that "Line of Fire" has been put on the injured reserve list for awhile if not banished from the airways permanently. It's too bad, because its 9th episode, (broadcast on on Feb. 3) "The Senator," is the best in the series so far, in my opinion. All three of the major story lines were compelling, and it's nice to see Jonah be a part owner of a minor league baseball team. I guess good things happen to those that are bent on revenge, I guess. Maybe he will be the George Steinbrenner of the bush leagues. I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but another factor that made this episode so good was the near or complete absence of the show's most annoying characters: chain-smoker Lisa, mother-to-the-world-Paige, puncher of the heavy bag Jennifer, and the one FBI dude who's always mad about everything. Hopefully, we'll see a new and improved version of this show in the future.
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A Series Gone Wrong
mstcyr231 December 2003
Judging by the decline in ratings/shares after the first five shows, (from 6.2/10 on Dec. 2 to 4.1/7 on Dec. 30) I think "Line of Fire" needs an immediate change of direction in order to survive. For starters, I think the Lisa Cohen (Leslie Hope) character needs to go a near permanent hiatus. Her character in completely unbelievable, and she is about as qualified to lead the Richmond F.B.I. taskforce as I am to be the head of the U.N. She doesn't even 'fake smoke' in a convincing fashion.

Secondly, the Jennifer Sampson character should migrate over to "Dr. Phil" for a nightly cameo so she can get Phil's homespun advice on how to raise her bratty kid. Frankly, I'm a bit tired of watching her mismanage her son for fifteen minutes of eash episode each week. And what happened to the Jeffrey D. Sams character? Has he been written out of the script completely? Maybe he's leading a groudswell effort to reform the cast of "Breaking News" so he'll have a replacement series to fall back on once "Line of Fire" reaches its inevitable demise.

In order to save the series, the writers need to make Jonah (David Paymer) the main character and let his twistedness take over the direction of the show. He is the only character compelling enough to allow "Line of Fire" the luxury of a sustainable viewing audience. And from his secondary business, a little more brothel action would be nice, as well.

There are two more episodes scheduled to air and five more in the can. I have a suspiously sneaky feeling that A.B.C. will bump this show for another lame 'Fake/Reality' series or counter program "The Simple Life" with something equally dubious. As Sam Cooke would say, "Somebody Have Mercy."
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Ridiculous story line
dewars8123 January 2004
Why, why, why, why in hell do the writers have to engage in the homosexual story line. I've seen this before on a much better written and acted show, and I'm sure most will agree, "The Shield". I know it's the first episode but come on it's the same character. Agent Amiel Macarther is having sex with guys but doesn't want to admit he's gay. Hmmm certainly sounds like Julian from The Shield. So far the only difference is Amiel is white and has been in law enforcement for years, and Julian was black and a rookie. Personally I don't think this show needs to create this story line when they haven't really nailed down a main story line. I mean come on the fact that the FBI is out to get Malloy does not constitute a story line ok, that is a main theme. The only thing that they have is an undercover agent. It's been what 8 or 9 episode now and they haven't even gotten close to Malloy. So far 90% of the episodes have been far to predictable and I don't see this series last more than a year or two unless they really start to get down to brass tacks

"Thats my story and I'm sticking to it"
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Show That Misfires
pooh-2426 December 2003
ABC throws to the general viewing audience another show featuring the FBI in its' latest installment,Line Of Fire.Like another action show that ABC has in its' nighttime lineup,that features an law enforcement agency of the state,Threat Matrix,Line Of Fire is heavy-handed and poorly done.

Like Threat Matrix,Line Of Fire features an antagonist who,pretty much, is the centerpiece of the show in Leslie Bibb,who plays the soccer Mom/FBI agent in which the show goes out of its' way to prove that she is as tough as any male FBI agent out there.In TV land we have rough tough female FBI agents.In real life any FBI agents who are soccer moms aren't out on the field handling cases.The show goes overboard to show how tough Bibb's character can be.

Conversely the mob boss in this show is David Paymer,who is about as hard as a piece of bread.Do not get me wrong,Paymer is a great actor,he is just miscast here.He seems more like Fredo Corleone than Michael Corleone.Because of the characterizations of Bibb's and Paymer's roles,it is hard to take this show seriously.

If one wants to see an ABC series featuring the FBI,check out the old tv series that ABC ran back in the 1960's of the same name,that is somewhat better than this one and one is sure shall last a lot longer without a doubt.
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Pass on this one
Uxbridge20 December 2003
I tried to like this show but I just couldn't get into it. It's not for a lack of talent (Paymer and Bibb in particular are VERY good). It's just the same old mob family versus the Feds stuff that has been played 7 ways to Sunday by other shows. The scene where the FBI agent/Soccer Mom jumps out of her car to threaten an angry motorist (who's P.O.ed after getting into a fender-bender with Agent Mom's hubby) was a bit too much. Flashing her badge and screeching "FBI!" as she forces the motorist's face into the dirt to quell the situation was kind of an abuse of the badge and my believability. Strong female character? Yes! Over-the-top macho chick? Doesn't do any favours for anyone.Making her hubby feel like an impotent toad who can't even stand up for himself was sort of lame in itself.

The cast is great but this premise already feels old and worn. Wish I could get into it but that's just not going to happen.
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ODD
SuperBeca16 December 2003
Now, the advertisements for this show made me laugh. I am a college student in Richmond, Virginia. Although once the murder capital of the United States, and right now, we are currently the STD and AIDS capital, (something to really be proud of). Richmond has never experienced an underground mob, nor do we have many FBI agents wandering around. Richmond's life revolves around the three large state universities in the heart of the city. Nothing as interesting as Line Of Fire ever happens here. However, I do find myself watching each week in order to catch glimpses of places I recognize. Odd how the background of thier publicity photo is the same thing I see out of my window each day. This is my second year in Richmond and I've seen many large movies being filmed here. Never has a show stayed to be filmed in Richmond. I look forward to starsearching. ;)
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has possibilities
superslick16 December 2003
this show could be strong of ABC as long as they maintain the feud between the malloy crime family and the FBI. The main problem i have with this show is the plain stereotypical politically correct characters. The fact that one agent is a strong single mother and the other is a widow from 9-11 who constantly brings it up is kinda annoying. As long as this show maintains the fbi vs mafia storyline and does not begin to focus on the personal lives of the stereotypical agents it should be pretty good.
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Lame acting and story but I'll wait and see...
Jim31 December 2003
In general, the acting and story lines are below average. A lot of the roles/castings are not believable.

The best acting/role combination is by Brian Goodman as Donovan Stubbin (Malloy's right-hand man). He's very businesslike and believably violent. I think Leslie Hope is a great actress and is very intense, but the role she plays is not believable. Her character seems to be a little out of control to be in her position with the FBI. Still I think she's quite a good actress.

I like David Paymer as an actor, but as a mob boss? Sorry, I can't see it. He's no Tony Soprano. (Why is he the mob boss again?).

The rest look like the cast of a daytime soap opera...and the acting...also from a soap opera. Leslie Bibb (as Paige Van Doren) in particular, looks like a lost little girl. If you're going to play a cop, then act like a cop. I don't think she'll ever be able to pull it off. She is not a cop by any stretch. Anson Mount as Roy Ravelle looks like the leading man of the soap. He's really boring. He is not a cop by any stretch either.

I'm going to wait a while though. What else is there to watch on network TV?
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