Great Guest Performances Highlight Scary Start to Season 2
Former FBI undercover man Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) returns to work with the Organized Crime Bureau following months of introspection and failure to carve out a lasting return to a normal life in his home neighborhood in Brooklyn. He is still viewed as an underworld enforcer - a reputation he meticulously carved out precisely to leave no doubt as to its authenticity.
The incursion into his area of a very dangerous white supremacist group called 'the Pilgrims of Promise' who may have been behind the hit & run death of his priest brother is his main reason for getting back into action. He has been shown a preview of the bad that can happen if he does not use his learned expertise as an undercover operative.
The guru of 'the Pilgrims of Promise' Knox Pooley (Fred Dalton Thompson) is less of a racist zealot and more of a huckster salesman who has refined and honed a pitch then exploited a niche market. The real threat is Calvin Hollis (Paul Guilfoyle) a profoundly disturbed ex-convict. Terranova at first views the group as gullible 'Hate Moonies' given the exorbitant cost of their propaganda literature. When they try to buy automatic weapons from him he sees the gravity of their intent but also their lack of financing.
The previous episode which was the season premiere showed Terranova's naive friends Tony and young simpleton Richie Stramm (Tim Guinee) joining the group. Vinnie and Richie are both dating Angie (Kerry Sandomirsky - a talented Canadian actress whom probably half the audience mistook for Anne Lockhart) a neighborhood girl which further causes tension between them. Terranova hopes he can extricate Richie from the group before he does anything serious. He may be too late.
Fred Dalton Thompson and Paul Guilfoyle are exceptional actors. In the roles they were given in this story arc they give solid performances helping to put this ambitious plot-line over with audiences. Both roles have showy aspects but the characterizations add a kind of personalism which enhance their believability as well as that of the narrative which itself was crafted with tempered panache.
The momentum of the previous season of this series carried over into the next due to this solidly entertaining and insightful story arc.
Ken Wahl's weight, which noticeably fluctuated during the series had stabilized near the end of season one. Over the summer hiatus evidently extended by the Writer's Guild of America strike his natural chunk began to settle in again to be seen in the season premiere but then to magically dissipate by this the next episode.
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