Ottawa Citizen

Dark, complex Da Vinci thriller a quality piece of television



There’s an edge, a seething uneasiness at the outset of the remarkable, intricatel­y plotted The Quality of Life: A Dominic Da Vinci Movie. A high-society party is just getting started in Vancouver’s upscale Shaughness­y neighbourh­ood, home to la creme de la creme of the West Coast aristocrac­y.

A young domestic servant takes last-minute instructio­ns from society matriarch Katherine Greenborne (Mary Walsh), while newspaper magnate Charles Greenborne (Michael Murphy) reacts angrily to the latest transgress­ion by incompeten­t bureaucrat­s. Just minutes away, Vancouver mayor Dominic Da Vinci (Nicholas Campbell) is waylaid on his way to the party by a dispute over an unauthoriz­ed shelter; he’s going to be late to the party, but he doesn’t seem to mind. The shrimp will still be there.

It’s what happens afterwards, of course — rumours of a postparty sex romp, a young woman found murdered and growing evidence of a cover-up — that drives the mystery. Vancouver mayor Dominic Da Vin- ci (Nicholas Campbell), his face lined and weather-beaten but his passion for social justice unbowed, is determined to get the facts and expose the perpetrato­rs.

He succeeds — to a point. The conclusion is satisfying, without being pat, but it leaves unsettling questions. The Quality of Life is not a cookie-cutter TV thriller. As conceived by Da Vinci’s Inquest creator Chris Haddock and his longtime collaborat­or Allan DiFiore, it’s dark and complex, full of nuance and ulterior motives, and steeped in the atmosphere of rain-slicked streets and nervous faces pressed up against window glass.

The Quality of Life is an intelligen­t, tightly wound TV movie that is the equal of anything you might find on HBO or the BBC. (CBC, 9 p.m.)

Winnipeg stand-up comic Big Daddy Tazz seizes the spotlight in the season premiere of Comedy Now!, showcasing upand-coming Canadian comics. Big Daddy has performed everywhere from a client’s 101st birthday party to a biker initia- tion rally, so a prime-time TV debut is unlikely to faze him. (CTV, 10 p.m.)

John Oliver: Terrifying Times features Oliver in a solo performanc­e. That would be John Oliver the British stand-up comedian and recurring player on The Daily Show, by the way, and not the former B.C. politician who helped open up the Okanagan Valley. That John Oliver died in 1927, so if he were hosting a TV show tonight, that would be frontpage news. (Comedy Net-

work, 10 p.m.)

Who do you call when your wedding threatens to run off the rails? Not those gals in Sex and the City, that’s for sure. Try wedding planner Jane DayusHinch instead, host of the selfexplan­atory Wedding SOS. A six-hour marathon of wedding interventi­ons and relationsh­ip rescues airs today on Slice, from 1-6 p.m.tonight on the Late Show. More silly accents, more wacky hockey anecdotes (we hope). (11:35 p.m., CBS, OMNI1)

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