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The Beast

The BeastJust when you think that there cannot
  possibly be any more must-see gritty
  American crime drama series, along
  comes The Beast — starring none other
  than the talented, eclectic actor Patrick
  Swayze, well supported by a creditable

TAKING SOMETIMES TRIED AND TESTED, sometimes new storylines, The Beast has proved itself to be a resilient and compelling drama that has earned its stripes as a television series and is now available on DVD.

Patrick Swayze (Ghost, Dirty Dancing, Keeping Mum) plays the deep and dark FBI undercover operative Charles Barker, who might be a rogue agent or just a dedicated man who will step over the line in order to win the fight for justice.

This unorthodox but effective FBI veteran is being investigated by ASAC, but when Barker's rookie partner Ellis Dove (Travis Fimmel: Television's Tarzan) is approached and asked to keep an eye on his mentor, he refuses. Ellis believes, along with many others, that Barker is the best in the business — despite Barker setting him up and getting him to run seemingly pointless errands.

While acting under cover, Barker gets superbly into character and Ellis benefits from his tough training. Ellis has just met Rose Lawrence (Lindsay Pulsipher: June And July), but as he tries to meet her for a date, the job gets in the way. Barker had already warned him that the stress of the job makes normal relationships impossible.

When Barker's cell phone rings persistently, Ellis asks who it is. Barker responds: "You'll find there are things in life you have to protect… the beast eats away at you and if you're not careful the beast will eat it all and you'll have nothing. And you are nothing." Even when Barker's sister Lauren comes to him for help, he appears to be less than sympathetic.

As Barker pushes Dove to immerse himself more deeply into character, rookie and mentor are tested by cases that pit them against ruthless drug lords, dangerous arms dealers, corrupt cops, lethal viruses, callous human traffickers who believe they are beyond the law and deadly assassins for hire. But Dove is also struggling with his own secret while Barker launches his investigation into a conspiracy within the Bureau that's protecting a secret cadre of agents operating outside the law.

A particularly tense episode guest stars Victoria Tennant as jeweller Susan Redman, whose son Matt (Aidan Traynor) is infected with an unknown virus which is used to blackmail his mother into stealing millions of dollars worth of jewellery.

Patrick Swayze gives an excellent account of himself in the gritty, well-paced series The Beast, a hard-hitting crime drama that benefits from an excellent cast and that never sells itself short. Sadly it appears that there will not be a second series. A shame, because we felt The Beast was developing nicely. Patrick turns in a brilliant performance, despite a continuing battle with pancreatic cancer.

Making his TV series debut, Patrick Swayze stars alongside Travis Fimmel and Lindsay Pulsipher in The Beast, which also features Kevin J O'Connor as Harry Conrad, Larry Gilliard Jr (ITVs The Wire) as Ray Beaumont, and Sticky Fingaz (In Too Deep) in this no-holds-barred crime drama. Featuring 13 pulse-pounding episodes, The Beast is Created and Written by Vincent Angell and William L Rotko; Music is by W G Snuffy Walden; Director of Photography is Edward G J Pei and Roy H Wagner; and is Directed by Michael Dinner.

Patrick Swayze is back and gunning for justice as unorthodox but effective FBI veteran Charles Barker in The Beast: Season 1, available on DVD from 17 August (2009) courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. RRP: £34.99 | Certificate: 15 | Running Time: Feature: 564 Minutes; Added Value 27 Minutes. Special features include 13 behind-the-scenes Featurettes.

"Take hope from the heart of man, and you make him a beast of prey" — Marie Louise de la Ramee

"Patrick Swayze gives an excellent account of himself in the gritty, well-paced series The Beast, a hard-hitting crime drama that benefits from an excellent cast and that never sells itself short" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar