Writer-executive producer Peter Tolan specializes in the comedy of dysfunction: how people’s neuroses and compulsions screw up their public and private lives. This talent gives The Job a resonance like few other shows on TV this past year. In Denis Leary, who has made a career out of being a politically incorrect ranter (think Dennis Miller minus the smugness and the 10-dollar vocabulary), Tolan has an ideal vessel for his ideas about multitasking a multitude of sins.
Leary’s NYC police detective, Mike McNeil, drinks, smokes, and cuts procedural corners to hilarious yet dangerous excess; he cheats on his wife (the vividly wan Wendy Makkena) and is a creep to his mistress (the radiant Karyn Parsons). The best — deepest, funniest — episode of ”Job”’s season was the one before it went on ”hiatus” (networkspeak for ”We’ll see if we want to bring it back”), in which all of Mike’s sins converged. His marriage has been left dangling, and his substance abuse is no better than it was back during that mordantly funny bender that found him swilling so many bottles of cold medicine for its alcohol content that coworkers were asking him about his ”green mustache.”
”Job” is enhanced by its shot-on-the-New-York-streets look and a first-rate supporting cast, including the adorable Bill Nunn as Mike’s long-suffering partner and the sensational Diane Farr as a colleague who’ll take no crap for being a female cop.
With ”Job,” it is interesting to see a cop show that successfully crossed ”NYPD Blue” and ”Barney Miller” with real humor (sorry, ”Miller” fans — the only TV Barneys I’ve ever liked are Don Knotts’ Barney Fife on ”The Andy Griffith Show” and Barney the lush on ”The Simpsons”).