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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Commish - Season 2
The Commish - Season 2
Starz / Anchor Bay // Unrated // February 22, 2005
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted March 9, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Second Season

The second season of The Commish is even more dramatic, more exciting, and more eventful than the first season. This season continues to the cover the daily life of the Eastbridge Police Commissioner by getting even more up close and personal than the first season. The commissioner is put through many personal trials and traumatic events that affect his family, friends, and coworkers. The stories are much more emotional and darker. The ending effect is that each episode in this season is more gripping and entertaining than the last.

For those who are not familiar with this series, it is about an upstate New York police commissioner. Michael Chiklis (The Shield) plays as Tony Scali and he gives an outstanding performance as a very unlikely police commissioner. Instead of taking a purely administrative role, Tony gets to the heart of every matter. He makes it his duty to know about everything that is going on in his world. His approach to crime fighting is both smart and cleaver. Instead of using brute force tactics, he uses his brain. It is also very clear that Tony is passionate about his work. The emotions he feels in each different case, no matter how small, reflect what kind of good hearted man he is. The performance that Chiklis provides is simply amazing. He portrays this police commissioner in such a manner that it is devilishly hard not to feel what the character does. The role becomes enticing and draws you in to the point where you simply want more.

In general, the series focuses on two aspects of Tony's life, at home and at work. Tony's family consists of Rachel (Theresa Saldana) and David (Kaj-Erik Eriksen). Rachel is Tony's wife, a school teacher who offers Tony guidance and a unique motherly perspective to help him through trying times. David is his son, who also offers his father a unique youthful perspective. Together, the family plays a vital role in helping Tony through some very tough situations. In the first season their roles were small, but still important. However, in the second season there is a lot more focus on them and on more than one occasion they become central to some very gripping plotlines.

At the workplace, Tony has several key characters to interact with. In the first season the majority of the characters Tony interacted with were uniform cops and not many detectives. From the pool of detectives, Tony mostly interacted with the Chief of Detectives. Even so, the role was quite limited. Towards the end of the first season the Chief of Detectives was replaced with an old friend of Tony's. He added a little more to the series, but not much. The role sometimes felt a bit too generic. However, in the second season there was a big change. A new character named Cyd Madison (Melinda McGraw) was introduced as the Chief of Detectives and she brought quite a lot. What Cyd brought was a unique perspective. The two previous Chiefs of Detectives from season one were both very close to Tony and the officers. However, Cyd lacks the same ties they had. In many cases, she is not afraid to stand up against Tony when he is wrong or to point out the potential dark side of the people that Tony thinks are good people.

The uniform cops that Tony interacts with on a daily basis also bring a lot to the series. My favorite officer is Stan Kelly (Geoffrey Nauffts). He makes a number of appearances with his partner Carmela Pagan (Gina Belafonte). This season gave them more camera time, with quite a few special undercover assignments. This is something I really enjoyed, because it allowed them the chance to play a variety of different roles. However, I was a bit sad that another recurring character Ricky Caruso (Nicolas Lea, The X-Files) did not show up quite as much. I have also enjoyed this brash character.

As earlier mentioned, the stories in this season are more involving, dramatic, and gripping than the first season. There are several episodes that put Tony, his family, and officers in situations that leave you hanging on your seat. The season opens with a great two part episodes. "Adventures in the Skin Trade" offers a very dramatic look into child pornography. This episode is gripping because of the way it deals with a very serious situation. It also has the introduction of new detective, Cyd Madison. Midway into the season there is a great story arc. A mobster named Tommy Colette and his son Nick move into Eastbridge for retirement. Unfortunately for Tony and the Eastbridge PD, Colette isn't exactly retired and despite Tony's best efforts, Colette proves to be an untouchable. One interesting aspect of this story is how Tony's family gets sucked into the situation.

The mobster story is not the only portion of this season that gives Rachel and David a chance to develop. In the episode "Guns & Sons", there is a shooting at David's junior high school. It becomes a very traumatic experience for him. The character of Rachel is also expended upon. Similar to the first season, she is put in a very dangerous situation. She witnesses a murder and as the only witness, she becomes a target. Overall, the stories are sharper and more gripping than the first season. With most of the characters developed well, this second season had the chance to really make their roles even stronger. In each episode you'll find that you really care and connect with each character.

The Commish is one of those rare television series that has both a strong cast and entertaining stories. The content is simply thrilling. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first season and the second season was even better. The bottom line is that this second season is a great addition to this series and any fan of solid cop dramas should easily fall in love with The Commish.


The video is given in 1.33:1 full frame color and is probably the most unimpressive aspect of this DVD release. The digital reproduction of this television season is not great, but it is better than the first season. The picture tends to suffer from heavy grain, with some episodes prominently showing it more than others. It is especially noticeable during darker scenes. There are also compression artifacts that appear randomly throughout each episode. Overall, the video isn't exceptional. However even in this condition, this release is viewable and it shouldn't ruin the experience.

The audio is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. For the most part, the quality is good. All spoken dialogue is easily heard throughout the entire season. It is generally very flat and the music and sound effects come off in the same manner. There is also a very slight hiss in the audio track. This DVD release is also closed captioned enabled.

It looks like they used up all the "good" extras in the first season DVD release, because there isn't much. The special features include a lackluster photo gallery, script on DVD ROM for episode "Adventures In The Skin Trade Part 1", and clips from The Commish in Spanish.

Final Thoughts:
I found that the first season of The Commish was an excellent introduction to a gripping cop drama that deviates from the generic detective series, by looking at more than just crimes of the week and the whodunit factor and the second season only got better. The characters were all very likeable and it was easy to connect with them. The stories told were both dramatic and gripping, yet still had a light comical touch from Chiklis. Overall, this second season is good TV and it is highly recommended.

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