Posted: 06/27/2009


New Season of The Cleaner On A&E


by Laura Tucker

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There are many reasons for the success of The Cleaner, from the true story at its base to the overall theme of helping people in need that may not always admit they need help. But the overriding reason for me is Benjamin Bratt. I think his chiseled good looks, calm demeanor, and smooth voice could talk me into anything.

This season of The Cleaner is starting off with more of the same, and added to the mix are guest stars Gary Cole and Whoopi Goldberg. Cole plays an old friend of William’s (Bratt’s) who is a successful national level news anchor. He and his wife (Jayne Brooke) know Cole from their early days in the program. His wife is dying of cancer, but recognizes the signs in her husband that he’s using again. She doesn’t want to take any drugs to ease her pain until she knows he’s clean again, so enlists William’s help. Goldberg plays William’s former sponsor who shows up just when she happens to be needed most.

Complicating matters is the fact that William’s in-laws are in town for a few days, and his wife (Amy Price-Francis) doesn’t want them to know just yet that she and William are separated, so he moves back in for a few days to put on somewhat of a show. This means that seeing his old friends isn’t the only thing jogging his memory of the good old times, as his and Melissa’s feelings for each other are resurrected.

In the second episode, there are even more family ties as William’s father (Raymond J. Barry) asks him to help out his old friend, Duren (Joe Don Baker), whose job it is to arrange funerals for the Marines that pass away. He’s an alcoholic and dying of liver disease, but he definitely doesn’t want William’s help. Instead, he’s having a hard time dealing with the father of of a young Marine who has died. The father (Michael Beach, whom I have missed so much since Third Watch) is angry and drinking excessively, and pushing away the only person he has left in his life, his younger son.

Just as in the earlier episode, the success of this case for William will depend on his family again. He has his son, Ben (Brett DelBuono), for the weekend, but all their quality time together is being sucked up with William forcing the Marine’s father to dry out. Take Your Child to Work Day takes on a whole new meaning here as Ben comes along for the ride, learns more about his father’s business, and actually helps out, bonding with the younger son of the family William’s helping, learning some great lessons on empathy in the process.

I like the interesting family theme that is set up around these stories, both for William at home and on his job. The family always sticks together and they look out for each other. In the end, the family that stays together will play together better as well.

The Cleaner airs on A&E on Tuesdays at 10 pm EST.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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