TV

The JobLike Ed O'Neill in ''Big Apple,'' Denis Leary also plays an Irish, loose cannon Manhattan crime fighter on a new show, titled The Job, which we...The JobCrime, Comedy03/14/2001Like Ed O'Neill in ''Big Apple,'' Denis Leary also plays an Irish, loose cannon Manhattan crime fighter on a new show, titled The Job, which we...2001-03-08Julian AcostaLenny ClarkeKeith DavidDiane FarrAdam FerraraWendy MakenaBill NunnJohn OrtizKaryn Parsons
Denis Leary, The Job

(Denis Leary: Frank Ockenfels)

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The Job

Genre: Crime, Comedy; Lead Performer: Denis Leary; Performers: Julian Acosta, Lenny Clarke, Keith David, Diane Farr, Adam Ferrara, Wendy Makena, Bill Nunn, John Ortiz, Karyn Parsons; Author: Douglas Kennedy; Run Dates: 03/14/2001; Broadcaster: ABC; Status: In Season

Like Ed O’Neill in ”Big Apple,” Denis Leary also plays an Irish, loose cannon Manhattan crime fighter on a new show, titled The Job, which we know from ”NYPD Blue” is cop talk for police work. Leary cocreated ”The Job” with ”The Larry Sanders Show”’s Peter Tolan, and this half hour is billed as a comedy, but it’s no ”Barney Miller.” Actually, ”The Job” is more like ”NYPD Blue” played for laughs. Shot on film with intentionally herky jerky camera work, ”The Job” is surprisingly effective. Leary, whose jaded wise guy persona can get annoying fast, has found a good character here; his Mike McNeil is, in the words of his partner (Bill Nunn), a ”smokin’, drinkin’, and self medicatin”’ punk, who’s cheating on his wife (Wendy Makkena) with a steady girlfriend (Karyn Parsons).

So why should we like McNeil as a TV show protagonist? Because we like screwups (”The Job” comes a lot closer to the tone of Robbie Coltrane’s incorrigible British crime solver in ”Cracker” than Robert Pastorelli did in his 1997 Americanized version) – especially screwups who acknowledge their sins and are good at their work. Mike may pull out a mint tinfull of pain killers, pop one, and say, ”That box and a bottle of Bushmills is the only thing keepin’ me from takin’ a hostage, OK?,” but he also admits to the ”idiotic path that I’m on,” even as he nabs crooks and coaxes confessions from killers.

Originally posted March 8 2001 — 12:00 AM EST

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