Boss: season one (DVD:Lions Gate studio) © 2011

Rating: 4/5

Summary: This Starz made for TV drama seriesBoss, written by Farhad Safinia and produced by Stella Stolper, is all about the power, control, and secrecy used by the politico to succeed. Set in Chicago, the story follows the day-to-day actions of the protagonist, mayor, Thomas Kane. Chicago Aldermen, representing many of the ethnic groups of the Windy City’s melting pot, vie for political favors from not only the mayor, but also each other. Of course, each favor comes at quite a cost. Being related to the mayor is also a liability. The mayor’s immediate family is dysfunctional at best and this lack of family functionality provides the additional thematic material used throughout the eight episodes to create a complex and intriguing drama.

Review: After watching episode one, I was not sure I would continue to watch the remaining seven episodes because I found the film to be an assault on my senses and ethical beliefs. This being said, I feel compelled to forewarn potential viewers that this series is a lot like an extreme, twenty-first century version of The Godfather. The screenwriter relies heavily on the use of overt sex and violence to convey the power and control possessed by the Mayor Kane. Few topics explored in the series seem to be taboo, and most seem to be based on actual Chicago events.

The characters in the story are the mayor, his staff, the city aldermen, and to a lesser extent his wife and daughter, as well as other government officials. Each episode’s plot is meticulously revealed through the narrative threads woven by the main as well as the supporting characters. This serial drama relies on the previous episode to develop the story line of the current episode to chronicle a day in the life of Mayor Kane. Each day is filled with the jobs needed to get done by the mayor’s office, no matter what the cost. Moreover, every endeavor undertaken by the Mayor and his staff is aimed at enhancing, protecting, or repairing his legacy. Actor Kelsey Grammer, known for his comedic rather than dramatic roles, brilliantly portrays the story’s manipulative, corrupt, and ruthless Mayor Thomas Kane. Grammer’s performance is complimented by an equally talented supporting cast, which makes the series very compelling. Boss is dramatic, intense, unsettling, and definitely not for the faint of heart.

More Movies Like This: If you enjoy mature and intelligent, adult dramas like The Sopranos, 24, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire, you will love Boss. Other DVD films owned by the Lake Bluff Library that possess political or mob themes are GoodFellas, Public Enemies, American GangsterThe Vegas Casino War, and There Will Be Blood.

Availability: Season one of the TV DVD series Boss is available for patrons at the Lake Bluff Library.

Review by Valerie

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