Kelsey Grammer's 'Boss' Performance: What the Critics Are Saying

Chuck Hodes

The reviews are in on the former "Frazier" star's turn as the mayor of Chicago in the cable network's new drama.

Kelsey Grammer returns to TV in Starz's Boss Friday at 10 p.m.

And the critics have given their opinion on the actor's performance as the mayor of Chicago in the new drama. Here's a hint: it's all good. 

The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman writes that Grammer delivers "a stunning, eye-opening dramatic turn as Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago -- a modern King Lear with a crushing secret," which he calls the arrival of Starz.

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"The last time an actor known for sitcoms took the television world completely by surprise was Bryan Cranston, and he went on to win three consecutive Emmys for best actor and turn Breaking Bad into a show everybody talked about and fawned over."

"There is something essentially likable about Kelsey Grammer as a performer," says the LA Times. "That broad scholar-like forehead, the strong jaw and mild blue eyes all conspire to create the image of a sometimes bumbling but still powerful guy, best embodied by his most lasting character, Frasier Crane. This ability to project opposing forces is one reason Grammer has been so successful in comedy — he can play the fool and still remain an alpha male. It's also why he is now able to breathe life into Frasier Crane's hard-hearted doppelganger, Chicago MayorTom Kane, who is the centerpiece of Starz's new political drama Boss."

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Cinema Blend says, "you won't find much to laugh about in Grammer's new role, however he does deliver a fantastic performance as Mayor Tom Kane," adding, "Grammer is fantastic as the stony mayor, who is now a bit unstable and perhaps frustrated and disappointed to learn that his health is slipping away. Grammer plays Kane as a man who is very much alone in his problems, despite being surrounded by people who would be there to help him if he let them in on his secret."

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While the New York Daily News writes "Imagine if Tony Soprano had run Chicago instead of the Jersey mob, and you'll get some idea what to expect in "Boss," a hard-boiled new drama that catapults Kelsey Grammer into a different universe from Frasier Crane."

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"Boss is a fascinating departure for the beloved actor, someone with personal demons, as his many fans probably realize," opines Newsday's Verne Gay. "There's something in this portrayal -- he's effectively channeling the Daley dynasty in Chicago as "mayor for life" -- that is unique to anything he's ever done. "Visceral" is a word you'll probably see a little too much of in relation to it, but visceral it is."

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