TV Alert: “Saving Grace” returns for more sin and salvation

Are you ready to embrace your Grace? The hit cable drama Saving Grace returns tonight to TNT and with it comes the hardest working, hardest drinking, hardest partying, hardest hitting female detective on television. A bold statement, sure, but this is Holly Hunter we’re talking about. Don’t make her to pull out the Oscar, because she can. Plus, what other Academy Award-winner poses with a barbed wire fence?

The series enters its sophomore season just as feisty as its first. Last season ended on a cliffhanger with Grace confronting Father Patrick, the priest who sexually abused her as a little girl. And, before we move on — yes, Grace has had a superhuman amount of tragedy in her life. She was sexually abused as a child, raped and assaulted by a killer as an adult and had her sister die in the Oklahoma City bombing. No wonder she drinks.

Holly aside, I was a tad leery of the series in the beginning. First there was the whole tough girl with a troubled life thing. Why whenever a woman is good at her job must she have a screwy private life? Then there was the whole Touched by a My Name is Earl aspect. A bubba angel is her last chance for salvation? M’kay. And, finally, there was just crime drama fatigue. I know it’s sacrilege given the untold number of hours of my live I’ve given to nearly all the Law & Order and CSI franchises.

But then a funny thing happened. I watched and I couldn’t stop watching. A lot of it was Holly, but everything, from the setting to spirituality, worked for me. The supporting cast, from Laura San Giacomo as Grace’s best friend to Lorraine Toussaint as her captain and — of course — Leon Rippy as her angel Earl, was rock solid.

Plus, I wanted to see how it all worked out. Does the Big G (or whatever name you’d like to give him/her) have a grand plan for Grace? And where does death row inmate Leon, who shares Earl with Grace as his last chance angel, fit into it? Interesting stuff. Also country star Gretchen Wilson recorded a video for the show to “Work Hard, Play Harder.” If Gretchen tells me to do something, I’m inclined to do it. She looks like she could kick my ass in a bar fight.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that at age 50, the Whippet-thin Holly doesn’t mind getting her kit off for the cameras. I knew there was a reason I paid my cable bill each month.

So, will you tune into the season premiere? Did you watch the freshman season? And did you catch Erin Daniels guest starring?

Seriously, what’s not to like?

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