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A&E Home Video presents
Profiler: Season 3 (1998-1999)

"You wanna keep beating yourself up, I'll get you a brick."
- Bailey Malone (Robert Davi)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: April 26, 2004

Stars: Ally Walker, Robert Davi, Julian McMahon, Roma Maffia, Peter Frechette
Other Stars: Dennis Christopher, Mark Ralston, Erica Gimpel, Patricia Healy, John Mese, Lawrence Pressman, Evan Rachel Wood, Michael T. Weiss, Grace Zabriskie
Director: Ian Toynton, Jefery Levy, Lee Bonner, Cliff Bole, Kristoffer Tabori, James Quinn, Chuck Bowman, Vern Gillum, Arthur Forney, Jon Cassar, Richard Compton

Manufacturer: Blink Digital
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, thematic material, disturbing imagery)
Run Time: 16h:59m:01s
Release Date: April 27, 2004
UPC: 733961711844
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-AA C

DVD Review

Although Profiler ran for four seasons, many devotees consider the third to be the last, since Ally Walker left the series only two episodes into the fourth season. But during this third season it was still generally high quality crime drama, with an overall story arc that helps make the season compulsively watchable.

Samantha 'Sam' Waters is an expert FBI profiler for the Violent Crimes Task Force, haunted by the serial killer Jack of All Trades, who murders as a means of expressing his obsession with Sam. She works with agents Bailey Malone (Robert Davi) and John Grant (Julian McMahon) as well as forensic pathologist Grace Alvarez (Roma Maffia) and computer expert George Fraley (Peter Frechette) to solve crimes across the country and attempt to catch and convict Jack, if possible.

Unlike Season Two, which was heavily dominated by Jack and his protege Jill, this third season relies more on stand-alone episodes, with an occasional appearance by Jack. This works much better, since the second season began to rely far too much on Jack's improbable escapes from the grasp of the VCTF and nonetheless being able to infiltrate any safeguard. While the result tends to make the program into a serial killer of the week, it makes for a more cohesive whole. Jack still shows up often enough to keep the interest in his tale alive.

The first half dozen episodes are fairly pedestrian crime dramas, although they do develop a tendency to go for more sensationalistic crimes (castration, dismemberment, and mutilation, among them) to differentiate the stories a bit. But about the middle of the season the writers really get the hang of no longer relying on Jack all the time, and things get very interesting, with All in the Family, the ninth episode, starting a long string of winning segments, heavy on mystery and suspense. The best episodes of the season tend to examine private lives and histories of the subordinate characters, such as George in Perfect Helen and Grace in Heads You Lose. The latter is a darkly comic tale of decapitation of models that sports a cute O. Henry finale. Otis, California is a pivotal episode, though its importance isn't really made known until the season finale.

The crossover episode with The Pretender is included here, although the first half of the crossover, which aired in that series is not present here. The disc does feature a brief synopsis of that episode as well as the "Previously on The Pretender" teaser. It's not, however, very accessible unless you're already familiar with that series and even then doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Conspiracy theorists may find plenty of material to like, however. The episode What's Love Got to Do With It? originally aired after the double-length season finale, Las Brisas, but here it's returned to its proper place in continuity just before that episode.

The cast is highly convincing with their roles, having grown into them over the last few years. Walker in particular seems to be more thoughtful this season, and it's good to see her just as driven about other cases as she is over Jack. On the other hand, she is hindered a bit by flashbacks out of nowhere that make her seem like she's a psychic doing cold readings. That lazy storytelling is both distracting and annoying. I was also irritated by the disregard of legal standards, with a blatant misunderstanding of double jeopardy and the fifth amendment. The FBI is depicted as routinely torturing suspects as part of their interrogation. Such depiction of law enforcement is irresponsible on more than one level, not the least of which is convincing the public that such inquisitory methods are socially acceptable.

Legal quibbles notwithstanding, the program really sucks one in, especially in this convenient format where you can indulge in one show after another. More than once I found myself trying the next program, when I really should have been doing something else. Even for its flaws there is plenty of entertainment value here. I do rather wish A&E had put the last two Ally Walker episodes on this set as a bonus, since I doubt many fans will be interested in picking up the otherwise wretched fourth season just for those two programs.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Few television programs on DVD look quite as nice as does this one. Color is vivid and excellent, and there's a ton of fine detail throughout. Black levels are quite good, as is shadow detail. The picture is somewhat grainy, but it's very well rendered. Other than an occasional smidgen of ringing and aliasing, there's absolutely nothing to complain about here.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The dialogue on the 2.0 Dolby Surround track is almost entirely anchored in the center channel, with the other speakers being used for music and the occasional effect. While there's not a lot of directionality, when it is present it's quite effective and naturalistic. The music by Danny Lux has excellent bass and range, without sounding distorted in the least. The percussion in particular has a very nice immediacy that supports the drama well.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 176 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Roma Maffia
Packaging: Thinpak
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The principal extra is a commentary by Roma Maffia on the episode Heads You Lose. She manages not to rely too much on narration, giving a wide-ranging overview of her involvement in the series. She does have an unfortunate tendency to run on about how great everyone was to work with. The other extra is a set of two-page text bios of the five main stars. Not much, but certainly better than nothing.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The program continues strong, just before the sudden deterioration that came in the fourth season. But the transfer is excellent, and the extras are acceptable.

 


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