Review: ‘Crossing Lines’

Crossing lines

NBC's summer filler is basically a Euro-zone version of 'Criminal Minds'

Produced in Europe, “Crossing Lines” is a credible and gritty crime procedural that NBC is scheduling as summer filler, featuring a crack team “from all over the Euro Zone” assembled to hunt down the worst of the worst. “We’re like the Justice League,” the lone American, played by William Fichtner, muses near the outset, yielding confused shrugs from some of his colleagues. Actually, they’re more like “Criminal Minds” — a former stop made by series creator Edward Allen Bernero — only this time with a bit more flair and a nondescript title that’s nevertheless catchier than “Earning Tax Credits,” which would be equally descriptive.

If nothing else, having this series turn up on a major network (as opposed to, say, BBC America) should remind inward-looking U.S. viewers that we have not cornered the market on psychopathic killers or tormented cops, even if the team’s steely eyed French leader, Louis Daniel (Marc Lavoine), feels compelled to recruit a retired Yank, Fichtner’s twitchy Carl Hickman, to lend his expertise to the operation. Hickman is hiding out in Amsterdam, nursing an old wound and a medicinal habit, as well as a bad attitude.

He shares that last quality, inevitably, with most of his new teammates, who include crime-solving prodigies with special skills from Italy (Gabriella Pession), France (Moon Dailly), Ireland (Richard Flood) and Germany (“Game of Thrones’ ” Tom Wlaschiha, with a much shorter haircut).

Pursuing a killer who leaves behind a grisly trail of dead women, the group (organized under the International Criminal Court) runs into the expected jurisdictional skirmishes with local gendarmes, while Louis also grapples with bureaucratic issues in the form of a fatherly ICC inspector played by Donald Sutherland, adding another recognizable (if scarcely present) face to the proceedings.

Directed by Daniel Percival, “Crossing Lines” does represent a hybrid of sorts, containing some of the brooding strains characteristic of British crime shows — which specialize in detectives burdened by dark streaks — with the fundamental skeleton of U.S. procedurals. That said, the whole melting pot of European coppers swapping insults is a rather stale twist on an old formula.

That’s not to say “Lines” is without its merits, starting with Fichtner, always an interesting actor, with a character that suits him (and bears a more-than-passing resemblance to his “Prison Break” stint); and Lavoine, who in the two-part premiere is saddled with his own vague but tragic backstory.

Still, this bit of international cooperation is clearly motivated more by circumstances (and the prospect of sharing production costs) than inspiration. In that respect, the exigencies of fighting crime and financing TV each have a way of creating strange, border-crossing bedfellows.

Crossing Lines

(Series; NBC, Sun. June 23, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Prague, Paris and Nice and by Tandem Communications in association with Bernero Prods., TF1 Prods. and Sony Pictures Television Networks.

Crew

Executive producers, Edward Allen Bernero, Rola Bauer, Jonas Bauer, Tim Halkin; co-executive producers, Celine Roux, Franck Calderon; producers, Howard Griffith, Charles S. Caroll, Moritz Polter; director, Daniel Percival; writer, Bernero; camera, Laurent Bares; production designer, Jacques Rouxel; editors, Jason Krasucki, Adam Trotman; music, Guillaume Roussel; casting, Priscilla John. 120 MIN.

Cast

William Fichtner, Marc Lavoine, Gabriella Pession, Tom Wlaschiha, Moon Dailly, Richard Flood, Donald Sutherland.

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  1. lori says:

    love love love

  2. Jan smith says:

    Did anyone notice that Carl’s bad hand switched from right to left and back from the first scene in the trailer to two subsequent takes of him picking up trash at the carnival? Do we have to be on the lookout for things like this (as amateur detectives) or will they clean up their act?

    • Jen says:

      yeah I noticed it too. Pretty ridiculous editing and/or special effects. I’m giving the show another shot, going to watch the 2nd episode on DVR… let’s see if they can keep everything straight.

  3. Fran Trenery says:

    I just want to know, in what universe would 2 cops be flirting while one of their team is in the hands of a serial killer and he is in the vicinity…..sorry but this was outrageously ridiculous, those script writers need to be sacked.

  4. kbg351 says:

    Q
    Comments:Not watching another women serial killer ( probably will include child molesters and sadists) show.. Feels like communing with perverts and psychopaths across the airways…who are getting off watching this lowbrow junk tv…too bad .. I was expecting something different with Donald Sutherland on board.. Just a criminal minds euro style. With an unlikeable, annoying cast. Saw where it was going 5 minutes in.. And turned on the wallenda. Wire walk..as a last resort!

  5. Bruce says:

    One of the worse premiers I have ever seen. I aged ten years trying to stay awake thru a dull dialogue and poorly edited episode. I would compare it to the comedy series about the president and his retarded son that premiered last season, terrible!

  6. Carol Mosley says:

    I liked it a lot… I hope it doesn’t get cancelled… Can’t wait to see another episode. I actually DVR my shows so I don’t always watch the night it is on… but I watch none the less.

  7. Lynne Sands says:

    Richard, you’re right. Way too many ads. But that’s NBC’s fault, not the show’s.

    It was pretty darn good. Being from NYC I can tell you that Fichtner’s accent is perfect. He’s a treat to watch. Performances otherwise generally quite good, writing has wit, locations are intriguing. I’l be back next week.

  8. kbg351 says:

    Not watching another women (children too, probably) serial killer show…..communing with sadists and perverts across the airwaves,.. Who are getting off watching them being brutalized…

  9. Richard says:

    Crossing Lines has the potential to be a good show, but if you don’t have a DVR it will be hard to watch. It was like watching a long series of commercials interrupted every few minutes by a tv show.

  10. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    Not that I am being picky but in the first few scenes his “bad” hand switched from right to left and back to right

  11. QRS says:

    Good (main character dies to show actual risk and tension for the rest of the series) + Good (main character implied to be gay shows that there are actually different people in the world) = Cliche (gay character dies first).

    When Joss Whedon killed a gay main character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in each Season 3 and 6, the rest of his death toll was already enough for the audience to know that he was not making moral judgements about what kinds of “undesirables” have the right to live. Call me PC, petty, minority-apologist or whatever, but Crossing Lines does not get that kind of BOTD from me. Seriously people? The Pilot?

    When Joss Whedon kills characters (Buffy, Firefly, Avengers, Cabin…), it makes the audience feel sympathy for the survivors and respect for the times they won. I should not have to hope that more main characters will die so that the network can avoid saying (however stupidly and accidentally) “straight people deserve to live.”

  12. Lynne Sands says:

    William Fichtner is one of the more interesting actors around these days, so I’m game for this one. Especially in a so-far barren network summer. Looking forward to this evening with much anticipation.
    The previous poster is so very right about Criminal Minds. I’ve quit, too. Let’s hope the show runner for Crossing Lines took the lesson. There are ways to be gripping without being gruesopm. It’s called creativity.

  13. Elinor Wencka, Tampa says:

    I hope it won’t be as gruesomely violent as Criminal Minds has become which I pretty much quit watching; don’t need to show crazies more ways to murder and torture women. But I’ll check it out just out of “loyalty” ‘cuz Ed knows Bethanne SZSZ in Chicago.

    • Anna Martin says:

      This show sounds interesting ahead of the broadcast premiere…a bit of travel-eyecandy, a little mystery/adventure, an attractive cast. The characters’ personalities and how they mesh/conflict will make or break the show. Hoping for intelligent plots as well from this producer. I liked Ashley Judd’s similar-type of show last summer so expect to make the effort to catch every episode of Crossing Lines, which is something I rarely do for any TV show.

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