DVD Review: Flashpoint (The Fifth Season)

Canadian readers might be a bit confused to read that this boxset of Flashpoint is billed as the fifth season with the episodes listed. The fifth season that aired on Canada’s CTV was its last. Why the difference? This is a case of an international conversion. Turns out that in America the fourth season episodes started airing on CBS as a summer series. ION picked up the final 11 episodes to run in the fall. So for American audiences, these 11 episodes were a whole new season. People in Toronto shouldn’t panic at this adjustment. Stay calm and remember that you’re Canadian.

Flashpoint is the Canadian version of S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) except they call them a Strategic Response Unit. This makes them seem less ready to pull the trigger in an intense conflict situation. That doesn’t mean they don’t show up with rifles ready to take out an armed suspect, however. It’s just they’d rather talk people down than ventilate their heads. Team One is featured in the series. They’re led by sniper Hugh Dillon (Hard Core Logo). Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me & Veronica Mars) is the negotiator who does his best to keep his team from killing. Amy Jo Johnson is the former Pink Power Ranger who now transforms into the law. What’s amazing about the American success of Flashpoint is the Canadian actors are allowed to be Canadian on the screen. They aren’t responding to issues in a faux-American city. They’re really having to deal with major faux-events in Canada.

A highjacked plane touches the tarmac and it’s up to Team One to deboard the bad guys in “Grounded.” “The War Within” is a viral video prank that goes completely out of control. A humiliated student takes it out on the teens who didn’t think of the human cost in their dumb Youtube fun. “The Cost of Doing Business” screws up the cash drop off in a kidnapping. Now the team has straighten things up. At the same time the secret romance between two team members leaks out. “Wild Card” makes a sweet woman with a huge gambling debt do something extreme to pay off her debt. Bet she put too much money on Rough Riders thinking they were the Roughriders.

“A Call to Arms” puts store owners in danger when a Chinatown gang flexes their muscle. They go to extremes to stop an investigation of their evil tactics. “Day Game” is a hostage situation at the ballpark. Luckily for the team, one of the guards had once applied to join the force. Or maybe it isn’t such a lucky coincidence. “Blue on Blue” makes one of the unit need help after he gets taken hostage. “Team Player” features an escape from a mental hospital by a guy who confessed to killing a classmate. But was he taking a fall for someone else and is now furious that he was screwed over? “Priority of Life”

Flashpoint: The Fifth Season is perfect for fans of the old S.W.A.T. series that want a show that has a little more depth. The interaction between the unit when they’re not on a call is more interesting than fluffy. When the arrive on the scene, there’s a powerful energy and tension. There’s still 13 more episodes before the unit’s final strategic response.

The Episodes
“Grounded,” “The War Within,” “The Cost of Doing Business,” “Wild Card,” “A Call to Arms,” “Day Game,” “Blue on Blue,” “Team Player,” “Priority of Life”

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the color and texture of life in a Canada that isn’t posing as New York City. The audio is an 5.1 Dolby Digital track. This gets your ears deep into the stand offs. There’s also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The episodes are subtitled in English for those with issues over Canadian accents.

No bonus features.

Flashpoint: The Fifth Season brings more of the Canadian tactical police action. This is an engaging show as the team does their best not to have to show off this sniper skills on each response. This is a great follow up for those who enjoy watching S.W.A.T reruns on Antenna TV. Canadian fans need not get confused. This is the second half of Season 4 on their side of the border. Just explain this to the kids as a metric conversion issue.

CBS DVD presents Flashpoint: The Fifth Season. Starring: Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau and Enrico Colantoni. Boxset Content: 11 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: May 7, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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