The tough nuts be­hind Cana­dian intelligence

Intelligence 8.30pm, Hall­mark

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

CANA­DIAN television has had a pow­er­ful in­flu­ence on the sen­si­bil­i­ties of ABC- watch­ing chil­dren who grew up in the 1980s and were bowled over by De­grassi Ju­nior High and You Can’t Do That on Television, two of the finest shows made for chil­dren.

Then there was Go­ing South, a wry po­lice pro­ce­dural for adults about a Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice of­fi­cer and his pet wolf on sec­ond­ment to the Chicago po­lice, and Pro­filer, fea­tur­ing a psy­chic po­lice psy­chol­o­gist with a se­rial killer on her trail.

So I ap­proached Intelligence with ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion that it would en­ter­tain. I was not dis­ap­pointed; in­deed, the slick pro­duc­tion and tight script came as a pleas­ant sur­prise, as did the per­for­mances of the lead char­ac­ters.

The set- up is fraught with in­trigu­ing moral co­nun­drums, spun from the po­ten­tially cor­rupt­ing and cor­ro­sive re­la­tion­ship be­tween an in­former and his han­dler. In this case, the in­former is Jimmy Rear­don ( Ian Tracey), third- gen­er­a­tion head of a Bri­tish Columbian crime fam­ily, who uses the fam­ily’s fish­ing and ship­ping busi­ness to laun­der the sea of cash he makes dis­tribut­ing BC Bud, a po­tent form of hy­dro­pon­i­cally grown mar­i­juana. His prize for co- op­er­at­ing is im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion which, con­sid­er­ing the scale of his crim­i­nal en­ter­prise, is some deal.

There’s noth­ing thug­gish or threat­en­ing about Rear­don; that is left to his brother Mike ( Bernie Coul­son), a surly, mur­der­ous halfwit.

While Rear­don’s crim­i­nal­ity is es­sen­tial to his char­ac­ter, it is leav­ened some­what by his stormy re­la­tion­ship with his es­tranged wife and young daugh­ter.

Rear­don’s han­dler is the im­pres­sive Mary Spald­ing ( Klea Scott), a tough nut and head of the Van­cou­ver- based Or­gan­ised Crime Unit who is on sec­ond­ment to the Cana­dian Se­cu­rity Intelligence Ser­vice. Spald­ing is black, which may ex­plain the an­i­mos­ity to her by her CSIS su­pe­rior Roger Deakins ( Tom McBeath), whom she is be­ing groomed to re­place, and her sec­ond ba­nana Ted Alt­man ( Matt Frewer, for­merly Max Head­room). Spald­ing, too, has a sad private life in the form of an adul­ter­ous, abu­sive ex- hus­band.

‘‘ You, sir, are a nasty lit­tle prick and your days are num­bered,’’ Spald­ing says to Deakins by way of a level test into the wire­less mi­cro­phone she has just taped to her breast: clearly not a wo­man to be toyed with. But Deakins hasn’t read the dan­ger signs and tells her that in fu­ture she can’t meet Rear­don un­less he’s there, too.

When one of Rear­don’s grow­ers, who had been in­form­ing on him, is found shot dead, it ap­pears all bets are off. The flavour of what ap­pears to be bet­ter than av­er­age Satur­day night view­ing is summed up by Spald­ing’s re­sponse when her CSIS boss asks: ‘‘ How ex­posed are you?’’

‘‘ We’ve got our pants around our bloody an­kles,’’ Spald­ing says.

Mark But­ler

Smart television: Ian Tracey and Klea Scott star in Intelligence

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.