A working-class Irish family is torn between right and wrong when two brothers live out their destinies on opposite sides of the law. BROTHERHOOD tells the story of two brothers who sometimes share a twisted sense of mora... more »l compromise--each with his own skewed, idealistic vision of what makes the American dream.« less
'Brotherhood' is a brilliantly written television drama series created by Blake Masters, produced, and almost entirely written by Masters and 'Homicide' alumni, Henry Bromell. Broadcast by the premium cable network Showtime, it lasted for 29 episodes over its three seasons. Set in Providence, Rhode Island, where it also was shot, the plot revolves around the Irish-American Caffee brothers: Tommy (Jason Clarke) is a local ward-healer politician, and Michael--played with a cold gusto by the English villain specialist Jason Isaacson--is a vicious, psychopath of a professional criminal involved with New England's Irish Mob. The show also features their mother Rose (Fionnula Flanagan), cousin Colin Carr (Brían F. O'Byrne), childhood friend and Rhode Island state detective Declan Giggs (Ethan Embry), Irish mob boss Freddie Cork (Kevin Chapman), Tommy's wife Eileen (Annabeth Gish), and Michael's criminal partner Pete McGonagle (Stivi Paskoski). Gish, Isaacson and Flanagan are all scenery chewers of the old school and the incisive, tight muscular dialog composed by Masters and Brommel lets them have lots of fun. This show is often compared to the more successful cops, criminals and politicians HBO show 'The Wire.' 'Brotherhood,' proves itself to be a far more durable and clever show, however. 'The Wire,' like so many beloved 'street-cred'-type shows, ended up lecturing its audience about political corruption, alcoholism and ranting endlessly about the tate of public education. 'Brotherhood' by comparison, chooses to show rather than tell and ends up being ten times superior. It's my favorite T.V. show ever. Check it out!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Loyalty, Brotherhood and Quality TV
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 09/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Showtime has been trying for years to brand itself as the new HBO, producing programming that it hopes will match the critical and popular success of it's rival network (with "Sex and the City", "Sopranos", "Deadwood", "The Wire", "Six Feet Under" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as a few examples).
To me, most of the shows have fallen short. I did think, however, "Sleeper Cell" was better than most people gave it credit for --and "Weeds" has developed into a tidy little comedy. So check them out, too.
"Brotherhood", in my opinion, is their crowning achievement so far. It is sophisticated, morally ambiguous entertainment. The set-up is not unfamiliar--the classic cops versus criminals in a distinctly Irish neighborhood. Good brother in politics versus bad brother in crime. But how good is the good brother? And how bad is the bad? This show is very much about the choices we make and the complications and compromises that can arise.
But it's even more about family, obligations and loyalty. You will see this family for every flaw (and there are so many), but there is also much to be respected. I don't like shows to spoon-feed me ideology and tell me what to think. I like that "Brotherhood" doesn't pass judgment, it respects it's characters and each viewer will likely react differently to their goings-on.
Two particular stand-outs in the cast are Jason Isaacs and Annabeth Gish. I've liked these performers for a while, but neither has achieved major stardom. Isaacs is ostensibly the "bad" brother and he is, at once, chillingly cold and charming. And Gish, as the politician's wife, is so lost and hopeless in many regards--but also, strangely, the voice of reason in many circumstances.
"Brotherhood" is complex, you do have to pay attention. It's serious drama done for people who appreciate serious drama. And I do! KGHarris, 9/06."
LOVE this show....
Malfoyfan | Santa Clarita, CA USA | 11/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is such a great show; I would give it more than 5 stars if I could. No, it's NOT an Irish Sopranos; some of the newspaper/magazine reviews were very dismissive in calling it so and I wonder if the reviewers really watched the show. It's very complex (I love DVDs; perfect for watching episodes more than once) and, to me, not predictable. My husband and I watch a lot of TV and we have not sat and discussed a show this much for years. It has a great cast (it is so great to see actors like Jason Isaacs - my favorite actor by far - and Annabeth Gish playing such meaty parts) and the writing is excellent, WAY above what is usually seen on TV and in most Hollywood movies these days. I was hoping for good things when I first heard about this show and I was not disappointed in any way, except that it was over too soon! I look forward to Season 2 and hope they can keep the quality going; too many shows jump the shark in their second season and it would be a shame to see that happen here. (This is my major complaint about most HBO shows - they lose their mojo in the second/third season - witness the recent debacle of "Deadwood", previously my favorite show.) Anyway, give this one a chance and I think you will find it very enjoyable. Yes, it's violent and gritty and sometimes rather sad/depressing, but don't let that stop you from checking it out. It can also be very touching at times. Very high quality all the way around."
Gets better after every viewing
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 12/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The more and more that Showtime is premiering new shows, the better they have been. Maybe that's why some people are refering to Showtime as being a "new HBO" (although HBO isn't really HBO these days) with the list of new and original series' that have been very, very good. You have the hilarious Weeds, the riveting Sleeper Cell, the horriffic and addictive Dexter, and the entertaining Masters of Horror to name a few, and you also have this political/gangster drama. Brotherhood follows Irish-American politician Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke), whose life gets thrown into upheaval when his long departed gangster brother Michael (the excellent Jason Isaacs) resurfaces. As each battles for control over the Hill, we soon learn that there is really not much difference between the two brothers, and the line between good and bad becomes more and more blurred with each passing episode. The supporting cast, including Fionnula Flanagan as the brother's controling mother and Annabeth Gish as Tommy's wife, are great, but it's veteran actor Jason Isaacs who is really the draw of the show, as he gives a masterful performance as one of the most subtley dangerous men to grace a series on Showtime. There's a little uneven feel to the series, but that aside, there is a ton of potential here for Brotherhood to be something really, really special. Comparisons to the Sopranos aside, Brotherhood is a treat."
Worth every penny!
Tyler J. Mccormick | 04/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This season will leave you wishing the next was already showing. I may get a subscription to the cable channel this airs on. A must buy."
If I didn't know better....
Wayne S. | CA | 03/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd say that Jason Isaacs sounds just like Robert DeNiro in gangster mode. It was cool! Condidering Isaacs is from Liverpool, he pulled it off nicely.
It's also a great show!!! I can't wait for season2 ."