Thursday, 4 October 2012
Boss, a political drama originally aired on Starz, really caught me by surprise. I had a brief look on IMDB, and saw it was categoried as crime and drama. To my surprise, there were no police involved at all, and instead the show was focused on the mayor of Chicago, but don't think West Wing, as Boss is much closer to Sopranos. More on that later.
Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer), the mayor of Chicago, is diagnosed at the start of the show with a degenerative neurological disorder. This is quite a major plot obstacle, as not only is it fatal, the symptons are bad, and he is already experiencing the first ones. He is hearing things, having hallucinations and suffer from spells of disorientation, while mumbling to himself. If this ever got out his career would be over quicker than lager turns to piss. To Tom Kane, nothing is more important than his career.
Boss manages to surprise me again. In West Wing the politicians were honourable, any tricks played were within the confines of the law. This is not the case in Boss, and I just didn't see it coming. This is a Kelsey Grammer you have never seen before, the sheer raw and brutal anger he projects is scary. It's not just tellings people off either, it's physical as well. Nothing is held back when a underling messes up on a construction project by altering the press, and Tom Kane transforms from mayor to crime lord, by demanding to have the man's ears delivered to him.
It's safe to say Boss makes an impression, and a very forceful one. It's not all about mafia style violence though, Tom Kane is a man beset by conflicts of all kinds. A journalist is stalking him, hoping to discover the next big scoop. He seems to have broken all contact with his daughter, Emma Kane (Hannah Ware), who is a priest. The only contact he has with his wife, Meredith Kane (Connie Nielsen), is during public functions. Connie Nielsen is amazing in this role, she is the coldest of ice maidens, and her dedication to her own career is even greater than her husband's. The casting is excellent, and pretty much every character seems interesting, and they all have their own demons.
Once I was over the initial shock of expecting something very different I was thrilled by Boss. The show is in your face from page one with how brutal and honest it is. The politicians we see on TV are nothing more than masks put on for the cameras, but when no cameras are present, the masks come off. It's another show which chooses to show shades of grades instead of black and white, much like Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad. I look forward to watching Tom Kane grapple with his disease and political opponents.