First Impressions

The Cleaner

Aired on: A&E Television Network

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            If you blinked quickly, you probably missed Benjamin Bratt’s hour of fame as a member of the Law & Order cast, former boyfriend of Julia Roberts and supporting actor in numerous movies.  He starred in a couple of movies since that time, most notably Miss Congeniality and Catwoman Benjamin Bratt takes the starring role in The Cleaner as William Banks, a former heroine addict turned extreme interventionist whose actions have helped change the lives of over 250 addicts.  Based on a true story, the show airs on Tuesdays at 10PM EST on the A&E Television Network.

            In the series premiere, we meet William Banks some years after he has been clean.  We learn that on the day his daughter was born he was busy getting high.  On that day, Banks made a pact with God that, if he would help him survive that night, Banks would clean up his life and make amends.  Since that night, Banks has assembled a team of former addicts to perform extreme interventions on people suffering addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.  The business is unlisted and receives work via word of mouth.

            In this episode, the various main characters are fleshed out and we learn a bit about Banks’ marital and familial issues.  The job he takes on involves a young boy from a well-off family who is spiraling downward on the road of meth-addiction.  It is Banks’ job to find the kid, take down his supplier and get him into rehab with the help of his staff – old friend Mickey Efros (Gil Bellows), Akani (Grace Park) and Arnie Swenton (Esteban Powell).  It seems that all’s well that end’s well when Banks and his team kidnap the meth addict and tip off the cops to the source’s operation.  But the final scenes of the episode remind us that life doesn’t always give us happy endings.

            While the previews for The Cleaner seemed very intriguing, the show seemed to move rather slowly.  It was a tad artsy with the various camera angles and split screens.  The show seems more about William Banks demons than his actual interventionist operation.  Bratt plays his part well and it was nice to see Grace Park again since her last stint on Battlestar Galactica.  Gil Bellows’ role was surprising – I almost didn’t recognize him as a main player from the now defunct Ally McBeal.  However, intriguing as the storyline may be and well-meaning as the subject matter is, the reality is that I have probably watched my last episode of The Cleaner.  The premiere episode simply didn’t do enough to peak my interest enough to watch the rest of the series.

For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at