Libby Day is a young woman, still permanently scarred from the events of her childhood. As a 7-year-old girl living in Kansas, she witnessed the brutal slaughter of her family, only weeks after discovering a bizarre interest of her brother Ben's and evidence that he practiced Satanism. After she accused Ben, then 16-years-old, of murder, he was locked up for life and her name went down in crime history. It left her with money from a charitable fund and royalities from her autobiography, but now in her early 30s she's completely broke. Soon though she meets Lyle Wirth, a member of a ghoulish group named The Kill Club, full of crime obsessed wannabe detectives who enjoy solving vicious crimes. They offer her money to help them solve what really happened when she was a girl, because hardly any of them believe her brother was the perpetrator of the massacre. She's sure it was him, but now she's forced to return to that time in her life and remember exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the tragedy - and that gets even more complicated when she finally visits Ben in prison.
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Handyman Arkin (Stewart) is having money problems while trying to help his ex (Alonso) pay back a loan shark. With his daughter (Pullos) also under threat, Arkin hatches a plan to break into the safe of one of his clients (Burke), who is taking his wife (Roth) and daughters (Zima and Collins) on a family holiday.
This seems simple enough until he gets into the house and finds a mysterious figure (Fernandez) doing unspeakably nasty things to the family. Does Arkin take the money and run or can he help stop the mayhem?
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But somehow, the pissy little export from the land of the five boroughs -- and rarely has a show so viscerally captured the city's day-to-day, boiling-over, rat-in-a-cage anger -- survived. And this is after sending the wife of the Chief (Jack McGee) into a debilitating Alzheimer's nightmare and not only devastating Tommy Gavin's (Leary) family with the long-term and low-intensity emotional warfare of a never-ending divorce but then, near the end of the second season, having a drunk driver kill Tommy's little boy. That tragedy was then capped off by a nothing-to-lose Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) gunning down the driver in full view of the cops, since a life behind bars seemed preferable to anything else he had going.
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The first season of the show was a rollicking explosion of male-bonding, sadistic humor, and whiskey tears spiked with that FX Channel-brand of almost-HBO boundary-pushing. Gavin was a weekly train wreck of rage, bouncing from his mistress to booze to his failing marriage to booze to tempting death on the job with FDNY Engine 62 to booze again. Along the way, Tommy also held long and in-depth conversations with the ghost of his dead cousin, before deciding to shack up with and impregnate his cousin's equally messed up widow, Sheila (Callie Thorne) in the aftermath of his wife running off with the kids. Season Two opens with everything in disrepair, to say the least, as the firefighters keep pushing through the emotional wreckage of 9/11 long after the country has moved on.
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And so this straight-to-DVD-after-five-years-on-the-shelf flick would be dismissed as a pale imitation of In the Company of Men, if only it weren't written and directed by a woman, Allison Burnett. And not only is she a woman, she's the very woman who wrote both Bloodsport III: Forced to Fight and Autumn in New York!*
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