Wednesdays, 10pm, from 27 Oct on Alibi
It’s being plugged on its resemblance to old faves Rockford and Remington Steele, and old-fashioned Republic of Doyle certainly is.
James Garner fans won’t have any trouble spotting the similarities with his much-loved detective, Jim Rockford. Set in St John’s City on the Canadian island of Newfoundland, the series features roguish private eye Jake Doyle, who relies on the wisdom and wisecracks of dad, ex-cop Malachy.
Newfoundland native Allan Hawco, who’s been knocking around on obscure mini-series and TV movies (Zone of Separation? The Third Eye?) is the co-creator and star, being just the right side of smug as Doyle. Far more familiar is Irishman Sean McGinley as Mal, veteran of films and TV including Inspector George Gently, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, The Street, Taggart and many others.
|Jake and Mal|
It’s the interplay between romantically reckless Jake and romantically sorted Mal that gives this new Canadian production on crime network Alibi its fun edge.
The opening story even feels like one we’ve all seen many times over. A man comes to Doyle asking him to help get his son off a manslaughter charge. The man’s son is an old friend of Doyle’s, so he rushes off to help.
The imprisoned friend says he doesn’t remember killing the man, or what caused their argument, and doesn’t appear to want Doyle’s help. All the while, Doyle’s getting grief from his estranged wife, Nikki (Rachel Wilson), and unwanted advice from the old man.
OK, Republic of Doyle doesn’t shatter the crime series template with originality, but for a harmless bit of entertainment that does boast a few laughs, it’s a decent way to while away an hour.
Interplay between sharp characters
Its best feature is the friction between the regular characters, with Mal’s sassy partner Rose (Lynda Boyd) and Jake’s cocky niece, Katrina (Marthe Bernard), making up the ensemble. And St John’s is certainly different for a setting, a beautiful, once sleepy seaport that’s being transformed by oil money.
|Nikki, Rose and Jake|
It’s done well enough to have a second series commissioned, which is being filmed right now for 2011.