Third-episode verdict: The Cleaner

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Time for a third-episode verdict on The Cleaner, A&E’s attempt to kickstart a new habit among viewers of watching original shows on its network. Starring Benjamin Bratt, it’s about one man (and his team of former addicts)’s mission to get drug users clean.

Although dealing with an interesting subject matter, The Cleaner is surprisingly uninteresting, as is populated with not desperately exciting characters. Bratt spends all his time bickering with his family who, of course, don’t understand his new compulsion and why they come second to it. Couldn’t have a happy family, could we? That might be too original.

Very little time has been spent fleshing out the supporting characters or indeed what Bratt actually does as a Cleaner, other than follow people around to prove that, yes, indeed they are addicts. It seems he basically palms them off on rehab clinics then follows them around afterwards to make sure they stay clean. 

There have been a few decent guest stars – Annabeth Gish and Tate Donovan in the latest episode, for example – and the situations involved are different and unusual. It’s just the format itself that’s preventing the show from becoming something more than ‘druggy of the week’.



  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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