ⓘ The Beast (2009 TV series)

                                     

ⓘ The Beast (2009 TV series)

The Beast is an American crime drama series starring Patrick Swayze and Travis Fimmel. The series, which only ran for one season, debuted on A&E Network. It was Swayzes final acting performance before his death in 2009. Despite receiving largely positive reviews from critics, it garnered low Nielsen ratings and was cancelled in early June 2009.

                                     

1. Plot

FBI agent Charles Barker applies controversial techniques in his attempts to bring criminals to justice, which often border on illegal and unsettle his uninitiated partner, Ellis Dove. Over the course of the first season, Barker is investigated by fellow FBI agents for alleged misconduct. Doves loyalty to his partner is challenged when internal affairs agent Ray Beaumont Larry Gilliard approaches him to gain information. Shortly thereafter, Dove learns of darker secrets in Barkers past.

                                     

2. Characters

  • Ellis Dove Travis Fimmel is a rookie FBI agent and Charles Barkers trainee in the undercover trade. Under intense pressure from Barker to become a chameleon, Ellis never knows when Barker will send him on some impossible little test, some on-the-spot improv that may or may not cost him his life. Stressed, tense, and under impossible performance pressure, Ellis needs a break. However, thats not the worst of it; an Internal Affairs team is trying to recruit Ellis to spy on his mentor Barker.
  • Ray Beaumont Larry Gilliard is a fellow FBI Agent who is investigating Charles Barker. Sly and sneaky in his ways, he attempts to use Ellis to get information to help make his case that Barker is dirty.
  • Harry Conrad Kevin J OConnor appears to be Barkers control agent at the FBI, and hes supervising Ellis as well. As a seasoned professional, he knows Barker well enough to speak to him in terse personal code - but for newbie Ellis, he needs to spell things out, including his deep respect for Barkers work.
  • Rose Lawrence Lindsay Pulsipher is Elliss neighbor, with whom he shares a romantic relationship. A law student, she is sharp enough to spot something odd about Ellis who keeps his job a closely guarded secret and takes the relationship slowly.
  • Charles Barker Patrick Swayze is a veteran FBI agent, and an expert at going undercover, gaining the confidence of criminals and setting them up for a long hard fall in prison. As skilled an actor as he is a cop, Barker has taken a rookie agent - Ellis Dove - under his wing. Barker acts as Elliss acting coach, trainer, and mentor. Barker appears to be a patriot whose loyalty should go unquestioned, but his superiors think he has been seduced into criminal activity. In the pilot episode, it is revealed that he is fluent in Russian and that he is being investigated by the FBI.
                                     

3. Reception

Alan Sepinwall writes ". you watch Swayze in The Beast, and you realize that this is the best performance of his career - that the opportunity to play a part like this, and to play it as well as he is, may be fueling his ability to keep fighting against the cancer. And you realize, in an odd silver lining, that the cancer may, in turn, be fueling the performance". The New York Times reported that "Patrick Swayzes performance. is impressive for its resistance to cliche.".

Suzan Young of RealNetworks stated that, "Patrick Swayze gives the performance of a lifetime as the hard-edged FBI agent Charles Barker in A&Es The Beast ".

In his review, Ray Richmond of The Hollywood Reporter stated that, Beast has a far grittier feel and look than one would suspect from a show starring Swayze - not to mention one on A&E. The action often is energetic and intriguing but is sometimes brought down by Fimmels uneven performance. …Whats unmistakable is the killer work of the star. May the man somehow beat the odds and fight defiantly on".

Kelly West of Cinema Blend reported that, "For an original series, I think A&E has something great on their hands. The Beast is definitely drama series with an edge, showing the darker, grittier side to FBI undercover work".

Ken Tucker writes that the lines said by the "antihero" and main character old when Clint Eastwood was Dirty Harry". Tucker adds that the co-star Travis Fimmel as Ellis Dove gives "inexpressive line readings; hes here because hes young and pretty Fimmel was a model, and he fits A&Es desired viewing demo. Ellis is the newbie who earns Barkers respect.". Overall, Tucker grades the program as a "C".



                                     

4. DVD releases

Sony Pictures released the series on Region 1 DVD in the United States & region 2 in the UK on August 18, 2009. This release has been discontinued and is out of print.

On February 16, 2016, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released The Beast- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.