Complex Characters, Real Life Drama or Too Much to Believe?

Submitted by KiKi Vanderhousen

I, along with many others, watched the much anticipated premiere of The Cleaner. I, along with many others, was not disappointed. From what I’ve seen on the community boards, comments have been favorable. And it’s the comments from the public, the people who actually watch the show, that will determine the success of the show.

Judging by what the critics have to say, some say yah, some say nay. Read some of their pieces and you’d think they watched all of 10 minutes of a screener and no more. Thank “God” I’m more three dimensional than that. If I listened to what critics have to say, I’d never see a movie or new television show.

When you get a chance, read the community boards on The Cleaner at and you’ll realize there’s a large percentage of people who have never had any experience with addiction. Many taking the time to comment on the boards have had their lives touched by addiction.

The greatest love of my life was an addict. When he would be on a drug binge, I would feel like I was being punished. When he would come home, I would ask him what I had done wrong. But that’s my story …

Seeing William Banks (Bratt) conversing with “God” and raising his eyes toward the heavens during the football game wasn’t that uncommon of a sight. I mean you see it on the sidelines every Sunday on prime-time television during football season. To tell the truth, I just don’t find a grown man conversing with a higher power and NOT expecting an answer that strange. But I live in Wisconsin.

There’s no denying the talent and trust between Bratt and Price-Francis, which is evident even in the pilot and will hopefully increase in upcoming episodes. The look that passes between them when they’re sharing a cigarette was so real, so intimate. I knew it immediately because of my own experiences – I’d stood in that same spot a hundred times or more.

Unless you’ve walked this road, felt this pain and experienced this hopelessness – you’re going to think this show is hokey and overacted. But if you know just one life addiction of any kind has stolen, you’ll understand.

Let me warn you – this isn’t the show to watch while you do the dishes, crochet a sweater or get caught up clipping your coupons. You’re going to have to pay attention to the dialogue. I suggest you DVR it and watch it when the kids are asleep or watch the later encore.

So stay tuned and let’s watch it together. Let’s shed a tear here and there and share in the triumphs of William Banks and celebrate the fact that he was a real man who helped real people make it out of the grips of addiction.

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Benjamin Bratt stars in The Cleaner

© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Credit: Danny Feld/CBS. Courtesy of A&E.