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April 08, 2018

The Brainerd Dispatch - Today's Entertainment Magazine

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20 • April 8 - 14, 2018 • Brainerd Dispatch By K.A. Taylor TV Media S weating palms, heart racing, lips quivering — in a hostage situa- tion, whether you're the victim, the hostage taker or the negotiator, all three symptoms could apply to you at any time. Solid writing can evoke such sensory reactions even through television and computer screens, which may well explain the success of one of CBS's latest crime dramas. There are countless reasons why one might be held for "Ransom," and the latest is explored Saturday, April 14, with the show's second episode of its sophomore season. While the initial vibe of a crime drama might conjure up notions of whodunnits, what sets "Ransom" vastly apart from its fellows is the motivations of the Crisis Resolution team and where it places its priori- ties. Veering away from rigid binaries, the series dwells in a grey space, where the need to save the hostage reigns primary and catching the crim- inal submits to a secondary position. Crisis Resolution is led by highly ob- servant and clever negotiator Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts, "Black Sails"). Although the prominent and obvious lead of the series, Eric relies heavily on his entire team to success- fully assess each ransom situation. His success depends on team members such as Zara Hallam (Nazneen Contractor, "The Border"), an ex-cop who knows her way around policy and procedure, includ- ing where the rules can be bent and broken, should such a situation arise. Alongside Zara and Eric is Oliver Yates (Brandon Jay McLaren, "Graceland"), a psychological profil- er whose skills often bleed out into his observations of co-workers, though largely from a place of care and compassion. Rounding off the team is the now slightly more seasoned newbie, Maxine Carlson (Sarah Greene, "Penny Dreadful"), an up-and-com- ing negotiator under Eric's tutelage. It's established right from the start of the series that there's a history be- tween Maxine and Eric, though it's not quite what you'd expect. It also acts as the main motivation for Max- ine's own journey into the world of hostage negotiation. At the conclusion of the show's first season (spoilers coming up), the past that links Eric and Maxine came full to the fore. The killer of Maxine's mother, Damian Delaine (Carlo Rota, "Jane the Virgin"), is on parole, which conveniently coincides with a national — potentially even interna- tional — threat. After Maxine admits to having contact with Damian, Eric opens up about the true nature of her mother's death and Delaine's twisted desire for martyrdom. A moment of catharsis is quickly halted, however, when Eric receives some terrifying news about his own family. Season 2 picks up right where the first concluded, with Eric and the Cri- sis Resolution team struggling to find the balance between resolving per- sonal, immediate crisis situations and those of potential clients and agen- cies in need. Crisis Resolution is stronger than ever before, but no doubt its members' dedication to the team — and each other — will be tested as this new season progresses. "Ransom" boasts some unique origins. The series was developed ini- tially by four different broadcasting corporations from four different countries: the U.S., Canada, France and Germany. Though Germany's in- volvement has since wavered, the fact that these nations all saw the po- tential for the series and found them- selves drawn to investing in its devel- opment speaks volumes for the inge- nuity of its subject matter and the freshness with which the hostage narrative is approached. The interna- tional involvement is also visible on- screen, as the series has been filmed in Toronto, Canada, and Nice, France, with season 2 adding Budapest, Hun- gary, to the mix. The key international element of the series, however, comes from the source that inspired it: famed hos- tage negotiator Laurent Combalbert. Combalbert's own path has some clear influence in the series, in partic- ular his drive to start up his own glob- al company, the Agency of Dedicated Negotiators (ADN) in 2013. While no longer active in the field, Combalbert dedicates his time as a speaker and trainer, hoping to inspire future nego- tiators and to help the field flourish and grow as technological advance- ments arise, whether in high crisis sit- uations involving life or death, or merely within the boardroom. Per- haps it is this unique, renowned influ- ence that has helped showrunners and writers to craft a more honest narrative, compelling CBS and the se- ries' legion of fans to clamor for a second season. The high-tension chaos evoked by scenes of hostage negotiation is at once terrifying and exhilarating, so long as one remains an observer and not a participant. "Ransom" brings viewers as close as it can to living and breathing such a traumatic expe- rience, by presenting a vast array of hostage and negotiation scenarios without placing too much emphasis on those doing the negotiating over those whose lives or livelihoods hang in the balance. With complex characters, unex- pected plot twists and plenty of stressful situations, this series is defi- nitely worth an hour a week of your time. Prepare to hold your Saturday evening hostage by demanding to watch the next episode of "Ran- som," airing Saturday, April 14, on CBS. Luke Roberts stars in "Ransom" Demands met: 'Ransom' returns for a second season Feature Story this week

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