Ah, Brimstone. A great show that unfortunately got cancelled before its time. Luckily there are reruns.
Ezekiel Stone was a cop. A detective. Two years ago his wife was raped. He caught the guy who did it, and killed him. Soon after, he died, and went to Hell.
113 of the worst souls in Hell, the crème de la damned, somehow managed to escape. The Devil, who still has to answer to God, needs to get these souls back, he's got no power in the mortal world. "They think they'll beat the Devil. Nobody beats me."
The Devil sends Stone back to Earth, still Dead, and gives him the job of recapturing each and every one. In return, the Devil is offering him a second chance at life.
How does he catch them?
"The eyes. Windows to the Soul. Destroy the eyes, and the damned get a one-way ticket to hell....But it's not hell you should be worried about, it's the risk of losing a second chance."
Stone is dead, but not a ghost or a zombie, just dead. It's not explained, but it's like Chris Rock in Dogma. He doesn't have to dodge bullets, they pass through him. On his arms are tattoos in the Devil's writing, symbols of the souls he must recapture. Once their eyes are destroyed, they get sucked into hell with a whirlpool, and Stone's tattoo fades. If Stone gets hit in his own eyes, then he will get sent back to hell and lose his second chance.
I really liked this show. It had such promise. Every episode you see him try to search for one soul. You get to learn their story, why they did it. Once they break out, they start doing the same sins. They're not always that bad, some just got selfish, or made a wrong choice.
It had a simple formula for episodes. A new soul is the focus. He or she returns to their sinning, causing death to innocent people. Stone tries to stop them, but along the way sees their motivation. He tries to talk with them, but no use. In the end, he winds up sending them back. The devil gloats, but usually Stone gets the last laugh, to the poorly-masked anger of the Devil. Don't forget the dialogue between Stone and the Landlady.
Peter Horton played Ezekiel Stone. He was great for the character, and deserves to be in more movies than Children of the Corn.
John Glover played the Devil. A great character. Looked weatherbeaten, smug, sadistic. Loved to say "Nobody beats me" and doesn't look none too happy when Stone gets the last laugh.
There are some other plots that recur and build over time through the episodes. For one, he kept focusing on his wife. He can't meet her, but likes to watch her from afar. The Devil likes to needle him about her, which is his weak spot. One time he got so infuriated that he shot the devil, and sent him to hell. The devil promptly returned, mad as a wet cat, and tried to get his wife killed.
Another plot was with Maxine the landlady (Lori Petty, Tank Girl). She was great, funny, and smart. You could tell she liked Stone, but he never seemed too interested in her. She would do occasional nice things for him, an errand or two. There was always this banter back and forth. He was dead for eight years, she would explain things like Spice Girls and the internet to him with disbelief. Cute friendship going.
My favorite episode was when one of the souls was his wife's rapist. The Devil thought it was a game, so he changed the rules. Stone couldn't just shoot him the regular way, he had to kill him in cold blood one more time. You finally see why Stone himself got sent to hell.
It's a real shame the show never got a final episode. There was a discussion among fans about how it would end. The best controversy was whether Stone was "The final soul." Could he be the 113th soul, and be sent back to hell? Would the Devil keep his end of the deal? We'll never know.
It's still on the Sci-fi channel, check your listings. There is an official site at http://www.scifi.com/brimstone