Created & Written by David Greenwalt & John McNamara
Directed by Robert Iscove
Starring Adrian Pasdar, Lisa Zane, Lisa Darr, Keith Szarabajka, Lisa Blount
Produced by Stephen J. Cannell
- All eleven episodes, plus the two-hour pilot
- “Greed Kills” featurette
- Audio commentaries on the pilot and three episodes with creators Greenwalt & McNamara and actor Pasdar
Released by: Anchor Bay
Anamorphic: N/A; shown in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Own it and tell your friends.
[ad#longpost]In 1996, Fox aired the pilot for Profit, a very dark series that debuted very well–it got great reviews, and it seemed to have a strong future. However, just like other excellent series have died their untimely deaths, audiences stayed away, not knowing what to make of it, and it was off the air after only four episodes.
In a nutshell, imagine Richard III in corporate America. This is how the creators of the show described the protagonist, Jim Profit (Pasdar). He’s incredibly calculating, manipulative, and purely evil. His aim is to derail the company he works for, Gracen & Gracen, and he explains to the audience exactly what his plan is and how he means to carry it out, just like our Plantagenet friend. Profit’s aim is not to become CEO or run the company from the top, but to destroy it from below. He works his way up the food chain only to gain more power, with which he destroys the other employees’ careers and boots them from the playing field. He collects blackmail and uses it ruthlessly, framing co-worker after co-worker for everything from embezzlement to stalking. His accomplice in all this is his secretary, Gail (Darr), whom he blackmails to win her loyalty. He has his own dark secrets, his own twisted motives, and even some folks who want to blackmail him in turn, but all is revealed as the story moves on.
The show was brilliant, and way ahead of its time. I found myself thinking as I watched it that, if it had debuted in the last couple of years, it would have fabulous ratings on HBO and fans would be clamoring for more episodes in their blogs, but ten years ago an evil to the freaking core protagonist wasn’t quite what audiences were ready for. The acting, especially on the part of Pasdar, is stunning. He embodies Jim Profit’s traits absolutely, being innately charming and really creepy all in the same breath, and letting only you, as the viewer, know what’s really going on with him. The supporting cast are all very good as well, displaying everything good and bad about a large corporation. Their characters are at heart good people, and while it’s hard to watch Profit destroy them, you can’t help liking him and wanting him to succeed.
The features are excellent as well, particularly the featurette. Interviews with the creators, cast, producers, and others involved help explain the journey of the program, from the creators’ initial idea to its untimely demise. Rather than being a fluffy fifteen-minute featurette, it is quite comprehensive and very interesting. The commentaries are also a nice addition as it’s good to hear the three main folks behind the series get back together to talk about the show. In general, this set is great and it’s sadly all we’ll ever have of such a wonderful series. If you decide to rent it, be warned that you will want to own it. Profit is a unique drama that is definitely worth experiencing.