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Second-season opener for "Saving Grace" shows series
Holly Hunter plays a talented detective with a tormented past in the cable series 'Saving Grace.' It returns Monday.
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By Rob Hedelt
TNT's Grace is back, and goodness knows she still needs saving.
The good news: The series starring Academy Award-winner Holly Hunter still pulls in viewers as few do.
The even better news: The return of "Saving Grace" Monday at 10 p.m., signals the return of the cable summer series, the time when stations like TNT, A&E, TBS and many others roll out new episodes of their original dramas and comedies.
Monday night also marks the return of "The Closer" on TNT. The 9 p.m. show is one of the best on television, thanks largely to the work
Her role as an intuitive police chief who has problems managing her private life opened the door to shows like "Saving Grace," proving viewers would follow a police drama with a woman as the lead.
That's what "Saving Grace" has to offer in its season-opening episode Monday night, when little is held back as a new year gets kicked off.
Hunter's Grace Hanadarko, a woman whose emotionally plagued past keeps her emotions raw and on the surface, is struggling with a discovery she made at the end of last season.
That's when she ran into a priest who sexually abused her as a child. This explains a lot about the about the wild, loose lifestyle that this dedicated but tortured Oklahoma City police detective lives.
This season opener demonstrates the best and worst things about this captivating but at times frustrating show.
Hunter is one of those actors who doesn't just fill the limelight, she kidnaps it, using every part of her face, hands and body to register emotions her character is feeling.
You can't help but feel for her, because she kidnaps you along with the spotlight, making you feel every one of those emotions with her.
At times, it gets to be too much, like when she kidnaps the priest and dances wildly around him in her home. It's a perfect example of the excess the series occasionally veers into.
But soon enough again, the episode is off and heading in another direction, following a steady plot that makes good use of a solid cast of police detectives and Grace's very own angel, Earl (Leon Rippy), who grows on you with each viewing.
Even better: Laura San Giacomo as Retta, a forensic specialist who's also a childhood friend.
The best news: This episode provides a moment when we see Grace's pain, weakness and humanity.
A rare find, especially in the dregs of summer TV.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415