Talk Therapy

One imagines the wives and girlfriends of Spike TV watchers feeling a little like media captives when the hetero-male candy-shop channel is blaring its adrenaline-pumping cars/wrestling/action/bikini babes programming full blast in a one-television house. So it’s mildly ironic that its suitably tense new eight-hour miniseries The Kill Point, which first aired Sunday night as a two-hour premiere, is all about preventing a renegade bunch of ex-military nut jobs from letting their testosterone get the best of them in a bank-robbery hostage situation.

Donnie Wahlberg is the Pittsburgh P.D. negotiator who must use every ounce of manipulative guile he can muster to suss out the intentions of John Leguizamo’s disgraced Iraq war veteran and prevent the killing of hostages. Even on his own end, he’s got to produce results before the results-oriented FBI barges in to screw things up, or a wealthy, politically connected real estate mogul takes matters into his own hands to save his daughter inside the bank.

I’m not saying things won’t probably reach the kind of explosive, blazing-guns-and-body-count conclusion Spike TV loyalists expect — bad guys must meet bad ends — but until then I feel confident that the mostly well-made The Kill Point will honor the glories of chesslike suspense storytelling, and the drama of how to prevent mayhem from happening. In the process, the creators might even woo some of those wives and girlfriends, who could look at Wahlberg’s levelheaded negotiator as their dealing-with-crazy-guys surrogate. The Kill Point is, after all, despite its title and trappings, a relationship saga, about talking instead of fighting. Way to evolve, Spike TV!

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