Sunday, July 27, 2008

TV Reviewer Dorothy Rabinowitz Goes Way Off the Mark about THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE

I usually agree with Dorothy Rabinowitz’s television column in The Wall Street Journal. But her July 25th column was way off the mark.

In the column she rags on the portrayal of Kyra Sedgwick as LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (TNT’s THE CLOSER) and Holly Hunter as Detective Grace Hanadarko (TNT’s SAVING GRACE).

Full disclosure – I’m a big fan of THE CLOSER and have only seen the pilot episode of SAVING GRACE. But I’m also a former journalist who, in the mid-1970s when teaching newswriting at Temple University Center City, had a huge collection of obnoxious portrayals of women in news and feature articles, including a front-page example from The Wall Street Journal.

Therefore, what I have to say to Dorothy Rabinowitz is this: You should appreciate that women today get to be the crime-busting protagonist in action television dramas. Gone for the most part are the days when the women characters were just attractive sidekicks to the men busting down the doors and solving the crimes.

Thus the fact that Holly Hunter’s character can be “an alcoholic, a savage bully” means that fictional women have finally achieved some kind of equality with the fictional men on television.

That alone is a reason to celebrate, regardless of what Dorothy Rabinowitz thinks of the scripts of the writing staff of both shows.

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