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Spec Flashpoint – Part Two (A)

Part Two: Researching it
A – SRU Characters

We all know that TV is a character-medium, and this is especially true with Flashpoint where, as we saw, every episode is centered around not only a “bad guy” but also one or two SRU members.

SRU Grid

The following info is taken from the official Flashpoint website over at CTV.
It doesn’t get any better than this folks.
This is close to the amount of information a detailed character-bible would have, if not more.

Main Cast

Ed Lane

Team role: Team Leader, Lead Sniper

Superpower Tactical: intelligence, instinct, muscle memory

“Family” role: The Eldest Son

Fear Killing: An innocent person

Marital status: Married, but the relationship is strained
One son, Clark, 15

Love life: Popular with the ladies, but monogamous. At least for the moment…

Radio: Rock ‘n’ roll, blues

TV: Hockey, sports

Reading: While he prefers music, he has a soft spot for Tim O’Brien, Richard Ford and Tom Robbins – muscular, alpha-male fiction

Drink: Labatt Blue, Old Milwaukee

Ed is the alpha male of Team One. He’s outgoing, charming, competitive and a risk-taker. Like a kid who’s used to getting what he wants, Ed is the best in a group of elite cops, and he knows it. When he’s not on the job, he’s with the team, drinking beer with them in the “Man-Cave,” or playing his guitar, alone, in his basement. Those choices come at a cost to his relationship with his wife and his son. But it’s easier that way for a cop with Trauma-Bond – someone addicted to life-and-death drama, someone who finds it easier to get back into the fray than face his neighbors at a backyard barbecue.

It’s not often that Ed has to use lethal force on the job – but every time he does, he feels sick about it: after all, it’s his bullet that ended some guy’s life. But this is the path he’s chosen, and this is the job he’s been training for all his life. It’s somehow easier for Ed to shoulder that unspoken responsibility than to ask his son how his day was at school. The last thing he wants to do is bring this job home with him – but his decision to not involve his family in his professional secrets comes at a serious price.

Parker is the one who sees most clearly that a sense of balance is missing in Ed’s life – but he’s been there, and knows this is something a man must learn for himself. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to watch Ed closely…

Sgt. Gregory Parker

Team role: Team Sergeant, Head Negotiator

Superpower: Emotional intelligence, psychological intuition

“Family” role: The Father

Fear: To say the wrong thing, with deadly results

Marital status: Divorced, ex-wife and teenage son, long estranged

Love life: Old-school respectful, but cautious around women

Radio: Public radio, talk radio, jazz

TV: Newsmagazine shows

Reading: Library books, hardcover fiction and non-fiction

Drink: Diet Coke

Parker is serious, sharp-minded and a talented people-reader. He knows how to reach out, how to talk to people at their level – whether it’s a homeless schizophrenic off his meds, a hardened gang member or a troubled youth about to make a big mistake. His uncanny people-reading skills were developed early: as a child he wouldn’t have survived if he didn’t learn to anticipate whether his father was about to beat him or hug him at night…

Seven years ago, Parker’s unconditional passion for his work burned out his relationship with his wife, and he turned to heavy drinking, infidelity and aggression he couldn’t control. When she left, she took their 10-year old son with her; and Parker hit rock bottom. The empathy, gentleness, insight and sobriety he embodies today are a testament to the extraordinary effort he put into recovery. He believes the best of people, because he’s living proof people can change. He’s proud of his team and makes a great father figure for them – perhaps because he blew his chance of being a father to his own son.

Julianna ‘Jules’ Callaghan

Team role: Sniper, Rappelling Expert

Superpower: Stealth, agility, emotional intuition

“Family” role: Sister (equal to her Brothers)

Fear: Falling in love with a team member

Marital status: Single

Love life: Dates, but committed to her independence

Radio: FM pop music, a là Kelly Clarkson (but she hides it)

TV: Life’s too short for TV

Reading: Tactical Marksman, Carpentry for Dummies, Extreme Travel Destinations, Vogue.

Drink: Rye and ginger

Jules is an exceptional markswoman, ex-RCMP who holds her own in the testosterone-pumped team environment. She has a grounded, natural prairie-girl confidence that looks you in the face, tells it like it is and expects the truth back. She comes from “The Hat” – Medicine Hat, Alberta – growing up as the only girl among four brothers, raised single-handedly by her father after their mother died. In this family, girl or boy, you pull your weight, you suck it up, you don’t get anything you didn’t earn. And you learn to shoot.

Not that Jules didn’t have her rebellious phase. Jules has always been a risk-taker who “gets” people easily and enjoys high-stakes situations. A teenage party girl and troublemaker, she saw the light after an all-night conversation with a female RCMP officer in the back of a squad car… There’s a place for girls who don’t dream of malls, makeovers and manicures after all. And who can shoot.

Jules relaxes by participating in triathlons, performing late-night home improvements and all-out games of paintball; long walks on the beach and a quiet evening in front of the TV… not so much – which explains her dubious track record in dating, and her growing attraction to her new teammate, Sam Braddock.

Jules is comfortable around the guys, and they accept her as one of their own. But she’s also watchful, still struggling for her own identity within a group that will always define her as being a little different from them.

Sam Braddock

Team role: Entry, Sniper

Superpower: Warrior, gifted marksman, knows no fear, feels no guilt

“Family” role: The Troubled Foster child

Fear: Failure

Marital status: Single

Love life: Into one-nighters more than relationships, but very intrigued by Jules…

Radio: Alt rock. Hard rock. Rock in general

TV: The Unit

Reading: Cold Zero, non-fiction military

Drink: Tequila, neat

Sam recently left military service overseas with the JTF 2 (Joint Task Force 2, Canada’s elite Special Operations counter-terrorism force) to join the SRU. He strides into any situation with the cocky confidence and sense of entitlement of a guy who was born for prestige. But behind the mask, he’s desperately trying to learn what’s “normal”; years of hiding his emotions from a stone-cold father have left him at a loss. Empathy doesn’t come easy for Sam – he knows how to make a good first impression, but after that, things sometimes go sideways.

Sam is the only son of a dysfunctional, high-ranking military policeman. He grew up on international military bases, doted upon by his homemaker mother, and he developed an uncanny gift at sharp-shooting – a dangerous skill when combined with an itchy trigger finger. But Sam carries secrets connected to his time in Afghanistan and his discharge from the army – secrets his new teammates wouldn’t be happy to find out about. Lucky for him, his father had enough pull to keep his son’s discharge quiet.

Supporting/Recurring Cast

Kevin ‘Wordy’ Wordsworth

Team role: Entry, close quarter combat, less lethal

Superpower: Passion & loyalty. Unflinching strength, total loyalty, and unwavering commitment to his team

“Family” role: The second eldest. No pretension to the father’s throne

Fear: That something may happen to his family (both work, and home).

Marital status: Married

Love life: In love with his wife, Shel, and devoted to his three daughters

Radio: Secretly loves country: Dixie Chicks to Steve Earle

TV: Wordy never gets to decide. New Adventures of Old Christine, Dora the Explorer

Reading: Harlequin for guys: Doomtown Showdown, The Men Stood Alone, They Called Him Wolf, Men Are From Mars, The Secret

Drink: Stella, cold, in the bottle

A strong, passionate martial arts expert with a surprisingly gentle soul Wordy is a guy you can count on, and a guy you can drink beer with. Wordy’s totally in love with his wife, Shel, and he’s always up for whatever ride she wants to go on. In fact, he has a really hard time saying no to anyone. With three small girls and a fourth on the way, he’s bought a house he can’t afford, subsequently running himself a little ragged by taking jobs on the side to make ends meet…

Wordy loves being a cop; he loves children and animals and women in peril. Deeply sensitive, and strong as an ox (a quality he’s developed in order to defend the weak), Wordy has a romantic notion of heroism – all bound into the notion of keeping the world safe for his kids. While he’s uncomfortable with receiving thank-you’s, he’s quick to embrace self-help. Wordy’s half-Venus, half-Mars, and funny as hell – making him the best damn teammate you could ever wish for.

Mike ‘Spike’ Scarlatti

Team role: Bomb Specialist, Less Lethal, Tactical Tech Expert

Superpower: Defusing explosives – and explosive situations through skill, or through humour

“Family” role: The Little Kid, The Clown

Fear: One day he won’t be able to deflect with humour

Marital status: Single

Love life: A serial dater who falls in love about once a month.

Radio: Classic rock, Elvis, opera

TV: Sitcoms

Reading: Not a big reader; maybe the odd cooking magazine…

Drink: Corona. Vino Rosso with dinner

Still the rookie after two years on SRU Team One, Spike looks up to Ed, who’s mentored him up through the ranks. He’s an upbeat, likeable Italian guy who likes to see stuff blow up. Spike’s also a great listener, easygoing and intuitive.

As for his love life – Spike’s charm makes him popular with the ladies. He falls

deeply in love with every girl he meets – but for some reason his relationships don’t last more than a month. It could be that he still lives with his folks – in their basement, no less. Or maybe it’s because there are some things that scare even a SWAT guy…

Spike is obedient most of the time – and only occasionally rebellious. He’s trying to learn from his team “elders” while becoming his own man. Very funny, good at impressions, accents and voices, Spike’s as good at defusing bombs as he is at defusing team flare-ups and the tension of tough calls.

Lewis ‘Lou’ Young

Team role: Entry, Less Lethal

Superpower: Street experience, faith, spirituality

“Family” role: The Prodigal Son

Fear: Going back to “the life”

Marital status: Single

Love life: Very busy dating life, but he’s discreet about it

Radio: All kinds, open-minded

TV: Nature shows, documentaries

Reading: Tech manuals, Gun Lover Monthly, the Bible

Drink: Gin and tonic, but only one

Thanks to a deadbeat dad and an addict mother, Lou grew up on the tough, inner-city streets of Jane and Finch. As a teenager, he hung with a tough crowd whose activities got them into increasing trouble with the law – until he was turned around by a street-wise Pentecostal priest. Lou got out of the life, deciding that he wanted to serve his fellow man. Lewis became a cop – choosing the guns and gangs division before joining up with the SRU.

Now? Lewis is a gentle, soft-spoken soul who knows every a-hole in town, remembers every case and prays to God every night to thank him for pulling him off the street and into his calling. He’s almost religious about his work, keeping his mind full of the latest technologies and tactics. But Lewis is the furthest thing from a holier-than-thou saint. When the rest of the team asks him “what Jesus would do,” Lewis always replies with a smile: “Jesus would kick some ass.”

Dr. Amanda Luria

Team role: Forensic Psychologist

Superpower: Behavior Assessment, human intuition, dry wit

“Family” role: The Stepmother: looking for closeness, but always on the outside

Fear: To be wrong

Marital status: Single

Love life: She enjoys her freedom, but has been quietly seeing someone

Radio: Public radio, progressive college stations

TV: PBS, fact-based miniseries

Reading: Oliver Sacks, historical novels, new Booker-nominated literature

Drink: Tuscan red wine, but it all depends on whom she’s drinking with

Dr. Luria is a brilliant forensic psychologist, but a far cry from your earnest, academic or touchy-feely type. She certainly doesn’t act like your classic shrink: her confidence makes her sexy, along with her chameleonesque ability to blend in absolutely anywhere. This is just one way Dr. Luria puts people at ease…

Dr. Luria sees through the defenses of even the toughest patients – be they SRU team members or the individuals in crisis she meets on the SRU calls. A perceptive and patient woman herself, she’s intimately familiar with the specific syndromes involved in high-risk law enforcement. One of her favourite tools in getting to the truth is her cutting, deadpan wit – very effective in throwing her subject off-guard. She’s even been known to whip out her Advanced Psychotherapeutic Role-Playing Tools – Barbies and GI Joes – to take the serious edge off her time with someone in crisis. While Dr. Luria is always on call to her wary, SRU adopted family, her “day job” as a forensic psychologist involves criminal behavior assessment for Correctional Services – a risky and stressful job that gives her great insight into her research on risk assessment, violent offenders, hostage negotiation and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Let’s now take a quick look at who has done what when why.

Episode 1:
Who – Ed
What – Beginning of season story-arc. Killing the gunman having both psychological, personal, and legal ramifications.

Episode 2:
Who – Greg
What – We are introduced to Greg’s family problems and his father/son relationship, or lack thereof.

Episode 3:
Who – Greg, Jules and Sam
What – Sam and Jules are growing closer to one another, and Greg still deals with his personal demons.

Episode 4:
Who – Wordsworth
What – The abuse of a husband over his wife hits too close to home.

Episode 5:
Who – Sam
What – Sam learns how to deal “peacefully” with a hostage situation.

Episode 6:
Who – Jules
What – Trying to connect with someone on the line seems to be always difficult for her, and she tries her best here, talking down a girl from jumping off the top of a mall.

Episode 7:
Who – Sam
What – Sam deals with some personal problems when a friend dies.

Episode 8:
Who – Ed
What – Continuation of his season-arc around what happened in the Pilot.

Episode 9:
Who – Jules & Greg
What – Trial by fire for Jules, still struggling with having to connect and help people on the line. Greg meanwhile is going to try to reconnect with his son.

We can see by a quick glance that all the 4 from the main cast (Ed, Greg, Jules and Sam) have been “centered on”, as well as Wordsworth a bit. You could argue that other recurring characters were “centered on” in several of those episodes, but I underlined only the predominant “centric”.
It is pretty safe to say then that a spec should be centered around one of those four, whilst still bringing something new to the table regarding their personal life.
You can talk about Greg’s son but up the ante, or make it really difficult for Sam and Jules to be together.
As of 109, there hasn’t been a direct correlation between a main SRU member and the “bad guy”, so it could be an interesting twist to the whole good cop/bad cop routine if a SRU member (an ex-SRU member?) would reveal him/herself to be really a bad cop.
Still, don’t underestimate the supporting characters. You can still try a supporting character-centric episode. While very risky, there’s a reason after all we have as much information on them as we do on the main cast.

On the next “Spec Flashpoint” post: bad guys.

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