sun 08/12/2019

19-2, Spike | reviews, news & interviews

19-2, Spike

19-2, Spike

Variation on cop buddy drama unfolds on the clean streets of Montreal

There may be trouble ahead: Adrian Holmes as Nick, channelling Idris Elba

Canada has been Uncle Sam’s body-double in countless drama productions. Shooting on location is easier and cheaper north of the border. One twinkly city skyline looks very much like another. 19-2 is set in and around car number two as it patrols the clean streets of the 19th district of Montreal. And yes, from the very first moments – “Maybe we should call for back-up?” – it feels like we’ve been here before.

The speaker, poor guy, is soon lying on the floor with blood pooling round his head. Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes channelling Idris Elba) takes exception to his new partner Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso, pictured below), a square-jawed, full-lipped lunk from the sticks, and doesn’t fancy acting as “tour guide to the hick”. His superiors make him.

And so it goes. Nick, who has marital problems, will no doubt prove to be less of a prick than he seems. Ben, who has girl trouble back in the boondocks, will probably prove to be less naïve than he seems. Do we care? Not really – but someone (somewhere in Canada) must because this is the start of the second series. 

19-2The shooting of a knife-wielding mugger provided the grit in a somewhat soapy opening episode. Ben, who pulled the trigger, is convinced it was righteous but others (including Nick’s wife) are not so sure. In the meantime the odd couple is reduced to monitoring traffic.

The result is more South Park than Southland. The corridor chases are choreographed smoothly; the hand-held camera sequences remain steady. It’s all been done before – and with more energy and purpose. The locker room scenes, in which the cast of unknowns strike sparks off each other, are the best bits.

There are many reasons why crime drama is such a popular genre. Some appreciate its ability to hold a mirror up to modern life; others, its innate sense of mystery. The five “W”s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. (Ben’s feeble initiation involves three “B”s: “Booze, Broads and Big fat cigars”.) Most viewers crave excitement, authenticity and originality – and enjoy them all the more when delivered by good-looking actors (in or out of uniform and bed).

Ben’s pet chicken – a welcome gift from his colleagues – should be the show’s mascot: it’s cute but it doesn’t fly.

Some appreciate crime drama's ability to hold a mirror up to modern life; others, its innate sense of mystery


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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