NBC (ended 2000)





Profiler Fan Reviews (12)

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  • Season Two Review

    In a sense, season two of Profiler was hobbled by the need to reboot and if possible make the Jack story line more compelling. The result is that rather than Season 2, this season often felt more like season 1.5. Profiler has from the first episode struggled with two fundamental problems: the Jack story line and a miscast lead.

    The Jack story line has never been as interesting as producers hoped. Throughout season one, it was repetitive and sluggish - we'd get lots of scenes of Jack whispering meneacingly or plotting nefariously and his whipsering and plotting rarely led to anything more interesting that more whispering and plotting. For season two, producers tried to spice up the story - they gave Jack a female apprentice (wittingly referred to as Jill) - Sharon Lesher a recenlty released prisoner. Traci Lords played the helll out of the role and the only parts of the story that were worth watching were her parts. Unfortunately, after the two parter in which Sam shot Jack, the story bogged down into - you guessed it - lots of repetitive scenes of Jack whispering menacingly and plotting nefariously. It was dreary and moved too slowly. Part of the reboot was a scene in which Sam "reprofiled" Jack with the help of her old mentor. Producers backed away from this scene and its implications too quickly.

    The other problem was the miscast lead. Ally Walker possessed the necessary acting chops but in too many scenes she was weepy, sensitive, moody, and fragile. In some episodes, she was a successful and strong character. In too many, she came across as ill defined, weak and fragile. It often seemed as if the writers didn't know how to write for Ally Walker and she wasn't sure how to deliver the dialog written for her. Her character reached a nadir in a scene where she was literally sitting on her bed clutching stuffed animals and weeping. It was such scenes that undermined Sam's characterization throughout the season (another scene involved her holding Coop's body and weeping - followed by an episode in which every 60 seconds someone asked if she was okay). Rather than humanizing Sam, such scenes resulted in creating a sense that Sam was not up to her job.

    Season two suffered from too many loose ends - ongoing villains (Lou Handleman, Art Behar, Sam's inlaws) too many other distracting subplots (Frances Malone, Sam's parenting skills, George's old embezzling buddies) to focus when it needed to. Too many episodes had a-stories, b-stories, c-stories, and d-stories to really fly. The cluttery nature of these episodes too often left insufficient screen time for the a-stories and forced the ongoing stories into too rapid resolutions (both the Lou Handleman and Art Behar storylines were set up for many episodes then resolved in 30 seconds). As the season neared its end, many of these ongoing stories were resolved with the result being stronger episodes. Season two also spent lots of energy on the hard headed local law enforcement. The character cropped up in almost every episode in one form or another. For a few episodes here and there it can be very effective but like any story telling device, overuse makes it less effective.

    Besides the reboot of the Jack story line, a couple other promising developments were either dropped or lost. Perhaps the biggest loss was the development of the relationship between John and Bailey which promised to blossom into an interesting father/son mentor/student relationship. After some nice scenes early on, this theme largely vanished. Which, interestingly, seems to have been a broader problem.

    In season two, Profiler seemed to lose track of some of its characters - Grace had some growth early on, then turned into someone who had one or two lines and then vanished again. George saw the same problem. These two were consistently confined to the VCTF hq and stayed there. The character of Marcus Peyton - brought in to replace the mysterious vanished Nathan Brubaker - was one of those high concept characters that failed to deliver. Frances Malone is another character who presented a problem. the season opened just after she shot her father, by the end she's going to college. There were some gaping holes in her development and it became obvious producers didn't know what do with her so they figured out a way to make her vanish. Erica Gimpel's Angel Brown was relegated - after the "Old Acquaintances" shows - to comforting Sam on a regular basis, delivering good performances in an otherwise utterly thankless role.

    The result of so much going on with the storylines and characters was an overall loss of focus. Where season one was generaly a bit better than average, season two delivered some of the worst episodes Profiler would film.

    The show finally gelled late in the season (barring the disastrously bad "Breaking Point") and let the show have a season that was on balance more good than bad but not good enough. Season three would bring major changes to the show which proved unpopular with many fans.