The Republic of Doyle
Alan Hawco, Sean McGilney, Rachel Wilson
CBC, Wednesdays 9 p.m.
Beginning January 6th 2009

The Republic of Doyle is a hit. There has not been anything quite like this mystery on Canadian TV ever. If you like an at times comic, non-violent aside from fisticuffs, smart TV mystery with great characters, The Republic of Doyle will be highlighted in red on your calendar. The show airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the CBC starting with the pilot episode January 6th.

The Republic of Doyle follows the adventures of the Doyle Detective Agency which has an office in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This is a pop and son operation. Malachy Doyle is an ex-cop and his son is the other P.I. in the firm. Other characters include Jake’s soon-to-be and not soon enough if you ask her but not quite in a rush to be ex-wife, Jake’s teenage sister Dotty, Malachy’s live in girlfriend, and Jake’s cop friend Leslie.

This is a smart, well-written, show whose occasional comedic touches make it that much more fun to watch. The show greatly benefits from the beautiful and not often seen on TV setting of St. John’s but, according to the pilot episode anyways, does not make the mistake of being colorful for color’s sake.

In the pilot episode, Jake must prove a childhood friend (Shaun Majumder) innocent of the assault charge that put him in jail. The story here is a bit thin but that is understandable.

Other cases will include the search for a biological father, a murder (an episode featuring Mary Walsh) or two, a cheating husband, and an old flame and her husband.

Based on the pilot, the show’s one real weakness is it cannot resist opening each scene with a postcard shot of the location. It also features that oddly restrained, not quite in character Canadian acting method that takes a bit of a while to get used to.