Saturday, March 6, 2010

Republic of Doyle—Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah! The show had me at the theme—a song by the New Foundland band Great Big Sea. This is appropriate because the show is set in St. Johns, New Foundland and the town figures prominatly in the lore of the band. Republic of Doyle is a private eye television show out of Canada that other reviewers, bloggers, and their own website have compared to The Rockford Files and Magnum P.I. This is good company to be found in and I agree with the assessments.

Republic of Doyle stars Allan Hawco who is also a writer and producer for the show. Hawco plays Jake Doyle, a wise cracking brawler with a heart of gold. He works with his father in a P.I. business in St. Johns, with the menagerie of supporting characters; his father's girlfriend, his sixteen year old niece, his sorta ex-wife who is a doctor, and his sorta girlfriend cop buddy.

The show has run seven episodes so far, and I have enjoyed them all. The mysteries have been the usual T.V. fair, but like Magnum P.I. and Castle, the fun of Republic of Doyle is the characters themselves and the interactions between them. The cases aren't solved with cold logic or cool technology but through intuition, leg work and the tenacity to pound at something until the answer present itself or the bad guys tries to shoot the detective.

Jake Doyle is a womanizer in the charming, blue eyed, boyish kind of way that causes the all the girls to fall for him. He even has a sweet old GTO to cruise around in, after all one of the prerequisites of being the cool private investigator is to have an awesome ride. He jumps first, thinks with his gut, ready to throw a fist or toss back a pint. He is the guy all other guys wish they were or could be, even for a day.

The sniping between Jake and his dad Malachy is the glorious interplay that should be expected between a father and son trying to work together in business as partners. Of course they are opposites and work from different points of view, but share the same cunning and street smarts. I find myself chuckling out loud sometimes because the humor between the characters is that good--or I am that easily amused.

The rest of the cast adds to the chaos and interplay, from the rebellious niece to the lawyer that is trying to keep Jake from digging a deeper hole with his soon to be ex-wife. The soon to be ex-wife Nikki, played by Rachel Wilson, is a manic, high strung woman that can't decide whether she wants to hit Doyle or bed him. Sometimes one leads to the other in no particular order. Of course Jake's temper is equal to the task so even casual encounters spark with friction and sexual tension. Though episodic the underlying story carries from one episode to the next, picking up where the previous one left off.
Like other shows of the genre the location is a character as much as the players, St. Johns is a gorgeous place, with its colorful buildings and bay waters, watching the establishing shots make you want to vacation there. The music is perfect for the setting as well, foot chases and fist fights are punctuated by jigs and reels. Great Big Sea's vocals even make up part of the soundtrack for one episode.

My only complaint is the effort I have to make to catch episodes. Obviously, being in the south of the U.S. I find it difficult to catch Canadian television and I can't seem to get the episodes to play from the CBC website, though preview video plays fine. Either it's my machine or their coding, so I have to troll the internet or purchase down loads. Fortunately I like the show enough to put in the extra effort. I just hope the DVD for season 1 makes it down here.

So if you are a fan of just plain fun detective stories with a cast of characters that make you come back for more check out Republic of Doyle.


  1. If you want to check out this show in the US, I've heard that this is a good place to find it: