Mystery, comedy, action and romance combine in this lively series set in far eastern Canada.
[In his Rag Blog column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. Most are available on DVD, Amazon Prime, and/or Netflix, and some episodes are on YouTube.]
77 Episodes (six seasons) of this fun, fast, funny thriller series aired on the CW network from 2011-2016. In it, father and son private investigators take on a range of dangerous cases in very colorful St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador — Canada’s easternmost province.
The father, Malachy Doyle, is admirably played by esteemed Irish actor Seán McGinley (winner Irish Film and TV Award best supporting actor, On a Clear Day; his 80 credits include Braveheart, Michael Collins, Shetland, Love/Hate, Bleak House, The Vice, Midsomer Murders, Cold Feet, and Circle of Friends.)
The son, handsome Jake Doyle, is played by Allan Hawco, the show runner who co-created the series and co-scripted many episodes. He has two Gemini Award nominations for this role, and his 26 other credits include Murdoch Mysteries, Love & Savagery (ACTRA best actor nom), and Frontier.
The entertaining cast also includes Krystin Pellerin (Macbeth), Lynda Boyd (Cold Squad, Mark O’Brien (The Last Tycoon; he has won nine awards) and Marthe Bernard (Maudie). Hawco, Pellerin and O’Brien were nominated for Canadian awards, and the show was up for best dramatic series Gemini.
86.5% of 2,500 Internet Movie Database viewers gave it thumbs-up, 32.9% rated it a perfect 10, and it was a hit with all demographics, especially women 45 and older. This is the 30th most popular Canadian series ever, and the Season 2 pilot drew more than a million viewers (in a country of 35 million people). The series is watched in Estonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Poland, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, Canada, and the U.S.
The Doyles — assisted by Malachy’s second wife Rose, Jake’s niece Tinny, her boyfriend Des, and a cop/girlfriend Leslie — serve all kinds of clients and get into a wide range of scrapes. Other figures from their lives — Jake’s brother and sister, Tinny’s criminal secret father, Des’s criminal dad, Jake’s and Rose’s exes — pop up from time to time.
The Doyles take on all kinds of cases: kidnappings, assorted thefts, murder accusations, suspected infidelities, arson and worse. Jake is constantly getting beaten up, but then he gets to make out with many attractive women. He drives a classic ’68 Pontiac GTO, and then after it is destroyed he drives an older, beaten up one. The series is full of Newfoundland slang. For instance, everyone is constantly called “boy,” including girls.
The show is quite witty, and for an action drama, it moves briskly. I have watched four seasons of the six on Netflix so far. Here is an episode on YouTube.
Alan Waldman has updated 89 of his former Rag Blog columns with recent information and current free links in his new $15 paperback, 89 Smart, Foreign TV Series: English-language Comedies, Thrillers & Dramas from the U.K., Canada, Australia, Ireland, N.Z., Scotland & Europe (+362 Favorite 1997-2016 Films for Grown-Ups). Rag Bloggers have never seen his descriptions of 255 great 1997-2011 films in the book. Find it at Amazon.com.
[Oregon writer and Houston native Alan Waldman holds a B.A. in theater arts from Brandeis University and has worked as an editor at The Hollywood Reporter and Honolulu magazine. Read 95 more of Alan Waldman’s articles on The Rag Blog.]