Tonight’s episode of Flashpoint is “No Promises” (new to CBS, rerun for CTV). It touches on Spike’s past and will affect his future. It is the third of six episodes airing for the first time on CBS; Fridays at 8:00.
Synopsis: Team One is called to the scene of an accident where one officer has been shot and another, Spike’s revered training officer, is trapped. However, it will take some digging before the full truth of the situation is revealed.
Okay, that last sentence was silly. Most good stories are about uncovering the ‘full truth’ of a given situation. I’m not really great at blurby language. And really, every episode of Flashpoint is about approaching a situation and, under the threat of stuff blowing up or people being shot at or cars driving fast, uncover the truth behind it all and hopefully explore some of what it means to be human.
So, yeah, I’m not a network promo ad guy. Aren’t we all relieved? (The networks are!)
What I am is a viewer who has taken a strong liking to a show about an elite police tactical team called the SRU. And if you’ve read this far then you are probably like-minded. So let’s delve into the nitty-gritty. I’ll say this bluntly: Not my favourite episode. However, like Sgt. Parker said in “Scorpio”, the series pilot, “If every day was Christmas, it wouldn’t be Christmas, now would it?” I’m not going to delve into why. Make your own assessment and remember that all entertainment is subjective. It might turn out to be your all-time favourite episode (especially if you’re a Spike fan and a member of the Di Zio Estrogen Brigade) and shame on the fool who would argue against what you choose to love.
Here’s the CBS promo, heavy on the action per usual, but this time they actually employed some humor. I find that rare and encouraging from the network which gave us the infamous Horatio-takes-his-sunglasses-off trope.
A Geek With Combat Skills, Indeed
This episode features Michaelangelo “Spike” Scarlatti (actor Sergio Di Zio can be found on Twitter @elisasboy72). Sergio Di Zio is from Toronto, the city in which Flashpoint is set (Toronto’s ETF was also an inspiration for the SRU). Near as I can tell, he’s kept much of his personal life out of the spotlight but he continues to work hard. Sergio also had a small role in Troy Duffy’s Boondock Saints, which is one of my favourite guilty-pleasure movies. This year, outside of Flashpoint, he can be seen on an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie and in a soon-to-premiere show called XIII: The Series (of which I know precious little). Find out more about Sergio’s career on IMDb.
In the role of Spike, Sergio completely inhabits the character with effortless verisimilitude — basically, a fancy way to say: he’s freakin’ good. I’m sure the savvy writers have put some of the actor’s traits into the role by now, such is the nature of television. However, outside of that, he has performed some difficult scenes with admirable skill and I find that those performances have been underrated. “One Wrong Move” was just a superb episode from top to bottom but a lesser actor wouldn’t have had the chops to break our hearts at the end. Seriously, Spike’s reaction is in tight focus and slow motion. You don’t have that luxury if your actor can’t pull it off. Sergio pulled it off, unquestionably. However, to me, the appeal of his craft is not the high drama moments but its inherently understated quality in the quieter scenes.
When you watch “No Promises” tonight, pay more attention to our intrepid tech-master. You might find the subtlety more revealing than at first glance. The mark of a fine actor is not just saying lines in a believable fashion. The mark of a fine actor is making us believe the character is thinking about their words and actions — that there is a thought process as they go from beat to beat. Or better yet, that there is conflict in that thought process. The script for “No Promises” gave us plenty of those opportunities for the conflict of thought and emotion within Spike, and Di Zio delivered.
I had the “tremendous” pleasure of meeting Sergio Di Zio (albeit briefly) and he seems like a man who is naturally humble, affable, and generous. I got the impression he truly enjoys his job and is mindful of how lucky it is for any actor to have a role in a long-running show. Just ask Matthew Perry. What? I’m still bitter about Mr. Sunshine. I lurved that show! And, something I’ve never really noticed about Mr. Di Zio: I think he’s kind of ripped … like, break-cinder-blocks-with-his-fists muscular. Perhaps that’s hyperbole but when I saw him, the phrase “a geek with combat skills” became more than just a throwaway line. Dude works out. And he’s a genuinely nice guy.
So, there you go — more reasons for you folks in the Di Zio Estrogen Brigade to swoon.
Now, I have to go. I suddenly feel compelled to eat a lot of protein and then work out…