Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco) seemingly can’t catch a break. Between his ex-wife Nikki (Rachel Wilson), the ribbing he takes from his father, and the physicality of his collars as a Private Investigator, the literal and metaphorical punches just keep right on coming.
As the pilot episode opens, Jake chases graffiti artist Des Courtney (Mark O’Brien) through the quaint residential streets of St. John’s Newfoundland. The first scene does an incredible job in setting up the tongue-in-cheek tone of the mystery dramedy series. As Jake moves through the streets at full sprint, he bickers with his father (and fellow private investigator) Malachy Doyle (Sean McGinley). Mal says to his son, “You used to be a lot faster!” The scene is an impressive sequence by Hawco, who jumps into the stunt with both feet and pulls off the quipped dialogue easily.
The series is strongly rooted in its colorful, and well-crafted characters. Before the case even starts, we’re introduced to the entire Doyle family. Including Malachy’s girlfriend Rose Miller (Lynda Boyd) and his granddaughter Tinny (Marthe Bernard). Even in the pilot episode, there is already a definite chemistry between the actors. They seem completely comfortable with each other, as well as the sometimes rapid fire dialogue.
The case of the week involves a Benny Natchie (Shaun Majumder). A DJ on a “Party Boat”, who was arrested for attacking his boss, Brian Harris. It seems like an open and shut case, as Benny was found standing over the man, covered in his blood.
As the Doyle’s dig further into the case, things get increasingly complicated. There are drugs, extra-martial affairs, and mysterious cowboys from Ottawa who have already come under the attentions of the local police force. While working the case, Jake butts heads (in the most flirtacious way possible) with Constable Leslie Bennett (Krystin Pellerin), who’s been tasked with the Natchie case.
As the episode comes to a close, Jake is able to bring the case to a successful conclusion. Benny has been cleared, after Harris’ widow Theresa (Alex Paxton-Beesley) slips up, and visits him in prison using her sister’s identity. While they knew early in the episode that Theresa was pregnant, they didn’t know the baby was actually Benny’s. Jake puts everything together. When Brian learned of his wife’s infidelity, a massive confrontation between the men happened. Theresa is forced to defend Benny against Brian, resulting in his death.
This series is another which seems to have hit the ground running. The amazingly talented Hawco (who created the show, as well as served as one of the writers and show runners) creates a stellar character in Jake Doyle, and the environment surrounding the characters (which was filmed on location in St. John’s) is vivid and perfectly captured.
Stay tuned next week for episode two.
Viewers in the United States can check out the full run of Republic of Doyle on both Netflix and Hulu. Series star Allan Hawco can soon be seen on Frontier, which premieres in November in Canada (and on Netflix in 2017 everywhere else).