The paper called Holly Hunter's character Grace a "promiscuous pill-popping alcoholic," (otherwise known as using, boozing and coozing), which made me curious. Holly Hunter is fantastic in anything, and the possibility that she might get naked (well, TNT naked) was an appeal.
But the previews were playing up the "salvation" angle, which made me worry we'd be looking at "Touched by a Holly Hunter." And while normally that'd be great, well, you know what I mean.
Saving Grace doesn't tread on a whole lot of new ground. Hunter plays Oklahoma City detective Grace Hanadarko, who is all the things mentioned above and then some. (She is naked for the first six minutes or so, but you'd probably have to watch in slo-mo to see more than side boobage. Still....) Grace's unrefined ways lead her to a drunken car accident where she kills someone. (I realize it seems like I'm giving a lot away, but A; I want you to watch and B; I'm really not.)
About to lose her job and freedom, Grace calls out to God in desperation and low and behold: an angel shows up. His name is Earl. We already know he's an angel, because he's been watching her for a while, and we can see his wings reflect in car windows. (Sort of a reverse-vampire thing, if you think about it.)
Earl is played by the immortal Leon Rippy, and is one of those no-nonsense angels who would tell Grace she's full of shit (his words, not mine), and chew tobacco. Is this just the way Earl is, a slight to Oklahoma, or the only way someone like Grace would even consider listening? Who knows? (Who cares?)
Like I said, Saving Grace isn't going out of its way to play the auteur card, but there were some intriguing angles in what is likely to be a character-driven procedural (like House or The Closer). First, setting the show in OKC was a nice touch, especially as the Oklahoma City bombing hovers over everything. People might think "that happened 12 years ago; haven't they gotten over it?"
They haven't. Go through the memorial, and look around that downtown area. Without the money and attention of the World Trade Center, much of what was destroyed still lies in ruins. (Might that event have something to do with Grace's hard-living ways? Hmmmm….)
There are other twists that I won't reveal in case you watch. All in all, Saving Grace looks like it is worth a watch for those who like decent characters and are looking for a good way to end their Monday nights. There is an encore Thursday at 11:00 PM EDT, or you can watch the pilot anytime on streaming video at http://www.tnt.tv/.