TNT's new cop drama, Saving Grace (Mondays, 10/9c), is like watching Touched by an Angel in reverse. While Touched followed an angel helping a new lost person each week, Grace flips the script to follow one of those lost people, an Oklahoma City cop named Grace Anadarko (Academy Award winner Holly Hunter in a passionate performance). That said, she's not going to see the light within an hour.

Molested as a child by a Catholic priest and feeling guilty about her sister's death, an empty Grace searches for anything to fill the void. She's a sex addict, an alcoholic, and a haphazard risk taker.

When her drunk driving kills a man, she cries out to God. But her angel, Earl (Leon Rippy), doesn't offer a quick fix. Instead he offers life with God, but Grace is too attached to her pain and pleasures to lay down her life. That means a long, down-and-dirty journey—with Earl's prodding and the support of a devout friend and a priest brother. (It's a relief to see Christians depicted as fair and loving on Grace.)

Show creator Nancy Miller told TV Guide, "We're not going to run away from anything about this woman." So there's a lot of realism and truth, and an appropriate rating of MA (mature audiences). The sex scenes are frequent, with nudity only barely obscured or blurred. Drugs, swearing, and drinking are common. Grace is a ticking time bomb of bad decisions, and thus can be hard to watch.

But unlike many shows investigating the emptiness of life, Saving Grace pairs it with hope. The routine cop plots are backdrops for the show's intriguing portrayals of souls who need saving by a mysterious God.

That makes for a strange animal. There may be too much darkness for some Christians and too much God for some non-Christians. So does Grace have an audience? Its nine-episode first season debuted in July as 2007's most-watched premiere on ad-supported cable. But ratings dipped considerably over the short season and reviews were mixed. In the second season, Grace—like its lead—may have to choose: darkness or God?

Todd Hertz, associate editor, Ignite Your Faith.

Related Elsewhere:

Christian Movies Today reported on the City of Angels Film Festival, where Nancy Miller, creator of Saving Grace, said, "We're all sinners like Grace (Holly Hunter), wrestling with God and his angels."

TNT's site has a recap of the first season of Saving Grace online.

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