This makes for uneasy viewing as one must ask should psychological or chemical addiction be turned into entertainment? This series skates close to trite clichés, but overall it does succeed in concentrating on the sufferers' problems. William Banks is 'The Cleaner'; himself a past drug addict, he now works as an interventionalist, trying to help others whose addictions have reached a point where they are no longer in control of their own lives. Banks is no paragon either as he is a very controlling individual and has swapped his chemical addiction for a spiritual relationship with God whom he talks to about his problems, and a career which gives him power over others. He is also trying to win back his family who mistrust him after fifteen years of hell, and while he has moved back in with them, he sleeps apart from his wife at the start of the series. Banks has three employees who have all had their own addictions in the past and work for him for their own reasons, he also runs a residential clinic where clients are detoxed. Background plot isn't too soapy as, if it were it, would detract from the message. Banks has teenage children who want to see him reunited with them and their mother. Problem is the job which means that he takes off at short notice day or night and so manages to alienate his family as they come a poor second when there is a client who needs help.
William Banks is a hard man to like though, and he has demons of his own. You cannot fault what he does, but he is abrasive and pushy and talks to his family and employees as if he is the only one who is capable of knowing what is right. Is he in fact a messianic megalomaniac or just an ordinary man trying to save his own soul? Just a man with a calling? There are those would would equate his conversations with the almighty as evidence that the men in white coats will not be far away. However if this helps him to keep on the straight and narrow then as therapy maybe he has found his own personal answer.
The ensemble cast is good, Benjamin Bratt has one of those voices you could listen to all day, and fills the William Banks role very well. His employees (played by the talented Grace Park, Esteban Powell, and Kevin Richardson) all bring depth to their parts, but, and this is a big but, the writing does not endear the characters to us. Hopefully if and when there is a season two there will be more character development, and we will come to understand and empathise with the characters. To date the series has failed spectacularly in that respect and the writers are to blame as there is real potential here.
My view is that this is a worthy effort to portray the nature and effect of addiction, on the addicts themselves and their family and friends, and goes some way to showing the physical spiritual and moral degradation that people fall into. Many, it is true, are beyond help and in spite of attempts to help will eventually succumb, only a quarter of clients are cleaned which is a sobering statistic.
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