A&E’s “The Cleaner” Highlights Drug Intervention

A&E’s “The Cleaner” Highlights Drug Intervention

A&E might be the only channel that devotes two shows to drug abuse intervention: There’s the reality show “Intervention,” which profiles real people who struggle from drug and alcohol abuse and their loved ones, and then there’s “The Cleaner,” a drama about a recovering addict, William Banks, who spends his life helping addicts recover—especially those who don’t want help.

“The Cleaner” is back for a second season, with Benjamin Bratt starring as Banks. The character is based on the real life of Warren Boyd, who had nine DUI convictions and had already spent five years in prison at the age of 32. Addicted to alcohol and cocaine, Boyd had been in and out of 26 rehab programs without success. In 1990, his then-girlfriend Deedee gave birth to their child right before Boyd returned to prison. When his daughter was placed in his arms, he said he returned to his senses.

Boyd spent the next 15 months in prison, but began attending 12-step meetings and got clean. Upon his release from prison, he decided to devote his life to helping others break the cycle of addiction. But he knew that sometimes addiction intervention calls for drastic measures, so he assembled a team (all recovering addicts themselves) to help rescue addicts through physical intervention.

Boyd and Deedee are now married and have three children. Boyd runs private rehab centers and has also helped celebrities. He also serves as the co-executive producer of “The Cleaner,” which is inspired by his life.

In the second season opener of “The Cleaner,” Banks deals with TV anchorman Davis Durham (played by Gary Cole), whose wife has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Banks knows the couple from his using days, and must break Durham down to get him to admit to his relapse and face it. Whoopi Goldberg plays Durham’s sponsor, who was also once Banks’ sponsor.

David Hinckley of the New York Daily Times says that Bratt has made Banks one of the most interesting characters on TV. “He balances the action elements with an almost Zen-like acceptance of the way life works, and his short reflections tonight on human imperfection are the centerpiece of the show,” Hinckley writes.

“If we’re honest, (Banks) says, we all know our imperfections, and then we still get up each day and try to do the best we can. It sounds trite on paper. It’s smart stuff on the screen.”

He continues, “Based loosely on stories from Warren Boyd, a former ‘extreme interventionist’ in real life and now co-executive producer of this series, ‘The Cleaner’ doesn’t spend a lot of time ruminating on why Banks’ line of work has both fans and critics. Its primary mission is to create compelling television, and tonight, it gets that job done.”

“The Cleaner” airs on A&E on Tuesdays at 10/9 Central.

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