The Cleaner, episodes 7, 8 and 9

House of Pain
The principal of a prestigious prep school (Stephanie Bill), who is also a friend of William’s, asks for his assistance with a student and talented basketball player (Brian Porter) who is abusing heroin and prescription drugs. William and his team encounter resistance from the boy’s blue-collar father (Tom), who is refusing all help or to acknowledge the problem, while the young man, in the throes of addiction, steals from his grandmother in a nursing home and engages in increasingly reckless behavior. William takes extreme measures to capture both their attention before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Ben is still battling with William and refusing to come home.

Let it Ride
Sal, an old friend of William’s, asks him to look into the drug use of a jockey (Jimmy Alvarez). Jimmy Alvarez has used drugs for years in order to keep his weight competitive, but as of lately has been exhibiting hostile behavior. William gets him into treatment, but he breaks out in a violent episode and heads for the track. William realizes that he is also fighting the man’s addiction to his sport. The jockey rides and wins, only to collapse and die moments afterward

The 11th Hour
William is brought in when a botched intervention drives a woman (Sarah) onto the streets; the original interventionist – played by Isaiah Washington – considers William little more than a thug; William questions his own motives in one of the first crises of faith in his profession while searching for the woman. William has a crisis of faith when one of the first in his profession.

I’ll start by saying that House of Pain was directed by Leon Ichaso – the director of Pinero – and you can see it in the episode style and intensity (though Benjamin’s awesome acting in the whole series contributes a lot to make The Cleaner a great show). I could almost feel a physical pain watching William dealing with a boy about his son’s age with the potential to do very well and he is risking to lose everything because of drug abuse, and the boy’s father who refuses to aknowledge the problem till when he almost loses his son. I guess that this situation prompted William to go to his father’s house to apologize with his son for what he had put him through and beg him to go home. A conversation William has with God at a memorial for the girl who had the principal seek his help still stays with me… “How many times have I seen this? More to the point, how many times have you? I can’t imagine what’s it’s like to have the power to move mountains… and yet, you have to stand by and watch this. I get that everything happens for a reason. And I get the mysterious ways in which you move. But I wonder if moments like this cause even you to doubt. To question… us. I used to wish I had your vision, the ability to see the big picture. But then to see things like this… I wouldn’t want it. This deal we made, I made, sometimes I think I understand it. And what’s next? Another lost innocent. Another death. Another funeral? Yeah, sometimes I understand it. And sometimes…”

Let It Ride is touching in another way. It tells us of a failed intervention by William and his team (owed, if it is true that interventions are mostly unsuccessful, IMHO) and it is a failure in a job that was particularly meaningful to William as Jimmy Alvarez was his hero, a jockey whose racing helped him survive in his darkest hour in prison. The sports world doesn’t come out too well of this episode, showing how winning is more important than anything else. However, there’s a ray of hope at the end, when the boy Jimmy Alvarez was training to replace him one day asks for William’s help so that he won’t end like his mentor.

Some topics surface in The 11th Hour: guilt when Sarah’s mother and sister wonder if they are to be blamed for what is happening to their daughter/sister, their seeking re-assurance that what is happening was not their fault, competition between two individuals in the same trade and working on the same case that risk to harm the young lady they are supposed to help, different attitudes towards a job (studies vs. experience). Besides the fact that Sarah is rescued from the streets and admitted into rehab, the up side of the episode is that William and Ben ‘negotiate and sign a tentative deal’ to be able to live together and possibly rebuild their father-son relationship.

I’ll end this post with a blog entry dating to September 10, 2008, which is open to debate:

A Glimpse at Addiction in the Media

Benjamin Bratt on the Bonnie Hunt Show

Benjamin will appear on The Bonnie Hunt Show on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 (The Late Night TV Page – Talk Show Guest Listings).

Check

When It’s On

to find out when The Bonnie Hunt Show will be airing in your area.

BTW, at the time of my writing this there are stil tickets available for September 23, so if there are some Benjamin fans living near Culver City, CA, (where the show is taped, at The Culver Studios) and are interested in seeing him in person, they can get tickets.

“We Shall Remain” series

According to IMDb, Benjamin will be the narrator on episode 2 (“Tecumseh’s Vision”) of season 1 of the series “We Shall Remain”, due to air next year. Hopefully, we will get confirmation of this info from other sources as well.

The series is about Native history and the tale of European settlement of North America will be told from the perspective of the land’s original inhabitants. Each of the five  episodes focuses on important historical events and concludes with a short contemporary story that links the past to the present.

The project official site is http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/

The Recovery Project

I’ve just received this info.

“A&E Network today announced the launch of The Recovery Project, a wide-ranging, multi-year initiative designed to help raise awareness that addiction is a treatable disease and recovery is possible.

( … )

During National Recovery Month in September, AETN networks — including A&E Network, History, Bio Channel, and the Crime & Investigation Network — will air a series of public service advertisements, highlighting the importance of treatment and the hope for recovery. Benjamin Bratt, Whoopi Goldberg, Russell Simmons and Christopher Lawford are among the celebrities featured in the campaign.

( … )”

A press release can be found at

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/ae-network-partners-with-leading,543406.shtml

Benjamin Bratt Saves the World in ‘E-Ring’

While surfing the Internet this morning (today is one of those days for me when you don’t feel like doing anything ;) ), I ran into an old but interesting interview with Benjamin about ‘E-Ring’ (it dates to 17 November, 2005).

Benjamin Bratt Saves The World in ‘E-Ring’

Last Spring, I had the chance to watch all of the 22 episodes of ‘E-Ring’ shot last and liked them very much, though it ends leaving too many unanswered questions, as season 1 was clearly written to be followed by another season. ‘E-Ring’ was a good series (good storyline, well-thought characters, well-chosen actors) and it is a pity it wasn’t picked up for further seasons. Actually, I’m still trying to understand why a whole season was produced and then only half of it was aired at the time (I guess I could watch it in its entirety just because networks had to pick something to broadcast in a period when there was little to choose from, considered that the writers’ strike resulted in a delay in the production of new series last winter).

The Cleaner Further Reviews

Teresa brought back to my attention a blog entry that I had read earlier on, planned on posting her and then forgotten about (sorry!).

http://tinycatpants.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/when-will-benjamin-bratt-have-the-career-he-deserves/

Though I wouldn’t have worded the article the same way (I hope you’re not offended by some of the word choices), the author makes some interesting points.

Here is another review of The Cleaner

Benjamin Bratt stars in The Cleaner

PS: Meanwhile, the author of the blog entry I posted above (the “When will Benjamin Bratt have the career he deserves?” ) wrote an

Open letter to Bejamin Bratt’s fans

to state her support of Benjamin’s career.