13 October 2011 | barrythescreenwriter
The tragedy of Macbeth was watching a good man slowly destroy the good in his life as he chose to pursue power in incremental decisions that tarnished his soul. But what would this story look like in reverse? Tragedy, as we usually experience it, sees a hero forsaking his happiness choice by choice as he opts for power. But in Boss we find Mayor Tom Kane (Grammar) as a man who is already powerful, has estranged all of those whom he loves, and has abandoned and abrogated his morals and conscience to get where he is. Then, a life-changing piece of news sets him on a path to contrition.
What happens as this powerful "Boss" begins to allow his humanity to surface again? Can he keep his grip on power as he begins to show the 'milk of human kindness' again? Shades of Tony Soprano balancing his shadow side and sensitive, loving side in this powerfully-themed (and acted) series.
And if the Macbeth-in-reverse comparison weren't enough, there is a "King Lear" like pathos to the man who has estranged his daughter who chose the path of compassionate poverty even as Dad was ruling the city with an iron fist. The faltering attempt at reconciliation here adds yet another rich texture to a compelling series sure to grow more and more powerful. THe scope is ambitious, as it explores the dynamics of the modern city-state, much as "The Wire" ambitiously attempted (and succeeded at).
Emotionally powerful, dark, compassionate, visceral and a paean to what makes life significant (no explanations... you'll see), this series is as full an orchestra of art as has been seen on television since the likes of The Wire and The Sopranos.