TV series Profit


Who can have been failed to be impressed by the recent series about ambitious executive Jim Profit, and his antics as an executive at Gracen & Gracen?

[Jim Profit]

Well, Fox-TV for one, who decided to axe this series after only eight episodes had been made. As Mr Profit might have said: in television, what seems like an opportunity can all too often become a calamity.

In America, or so I understand, only the first four episodes were shown in the series original run. When sold abroad all 8 episodes have tended to be shown.

Meanwhile, in Britain

The series was shown late in 1997. It started to positive reviews in some of the national press. One of the features they seemed to like was the amoral character of Jim Profit, and the elevation of apparent villain to hero of the piece. I think at least one source likened the main character to Richard III.

As the series continued, it became clear that the motives of Jim Profit were less clear than might have been expected - or did the writers not have the courage to follow through with some of the opportunities that presented themselves? A good feature was that, unlike in a Columbo murder case, there was always at least some doubt that Profit would prevail.

However, whilst all episodes were shown Sunday night without interruption - unusual so close to Christmas - the scheduling was not constant. I think the starting time was rarely before 11.30, and Profit was shown on the less-watched public channel BBC 2. I haven't seen audience figures, but this combination suggests they must have been low.

In a final twist, the last two episodes were shown back-to-back, good for those with VCRs or insomniacs.

So, for those deprived of the final four episodess, I offer illustrated summaries of the last - really the last - programmes, and a limited description of the earlier episodes. But be aware that they contain brief summaries of the plot and final outcomes!

Areas of interest

The cast, featuring an MPEG video of Bobbi and Jim.

The episodes, with links to further details and multimedia for the second four episodes

EpisodePlot summary
The pilot (Profit) Jim takes over as V.P. of aquisitions at Gracen&Gracen, following the death of Wayne Grisham. In his efforts to become president of acquisitions Jim Profit ensures the press hears about a recent take-over. His ultimate ambition is finally thwarted by Jack Walters.
Hero Profit sorts out Walters, who is imprisoned for the murder of Grisham (who did actually die of natural causes!).
Sykes Gracen&Gracen hire a sharp lawyer (Sykes), and take over the firm of a Russian mafia boss. But Sykes manages to get the upper hand with Profit.
Healing Jim Profit and Joanne Meltzer take lie-detector tests. Jim seems to put a lot of effort into finally getting rid of Joanne, only to then rescue her. But a corrupt therapist is ruined.
Cupid Profit must re-unite an abusive husband with his estranged wife to secure a take-over. His plan to oust Sykes at the same time does not quite work.
Chinese box Profit must find a way to divest G&G of Wong Industries. To do so he must convince Gail to romance a former harasser and computer scientist. Also has a nice triumph of Profit over Sykes.
Security Profit roots out a journalist writing about corruption in G&G, and writes his own story.
Forgiveness Nora Gracen speaks out about her uncle, who was planning to take over G&G with the help of Pete Gracen and Sykes.


So, which were the good and not-so-good episodes? Each will have particular favourites. I would say that Healing was probably the weakest: why bother to "save" Joanne? Unless we assume that Profit really wants to be liked, or something. Security had a nice triumph of Profit over an adversary with seemingly similar aptitudes, whilst Chinese Box creepily allowed Profit to make Gail confront her own demons. The pilot, of twice the usual length, I thought was particularly effective. Sykes came at a good time, to show that Profit could lose - at least in the short-term, whereas previously the setbacks had been more minor, and more easily reversed - such as the run-in with Jack Walters. However, by the time Forgiveness was reached, it was hard to know what would become of the backplot of Joanne to un-mask Jim Profit as some sort of dishonest person (which I thought was rather helpful at G&G).

Other Profit-related sites

There are relatively few sites dealing with Profit, perhaps not surprising given the lukewarm reception the series had in America.

But what there is displays much better web design skills than this small site!

The best on the web, to my knowledge, is run by Laura Petix, known as Fish Wishes: Jim Profit. This site contains a FAQ, WAV sounds, more links and some screen captures, among other features.

There are more detailed plot summaries of some of the earlier episodes at The (unofficial) Profit Home Page. The site also contains some small pictures of the cast, of better quality than those here.

Last update 07 April 1998 by Steve.