21st Sep2015

’19-2: Complete Series One’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Adrian Holmes, Jared Keeso, Dan Petronijevic, Benz Antoine, Mylène Dinh-Robic, Conrad Pla, Maxim Roy, Bruce Ramsay, Laurence Leboeuf | Directed by Louis Choquette, Erik Canuel, Daniel Grou

19-2-s1-dvd

19-2? Precinct 19, Car 2. It’s simple as that. A series title that upholds a long-standing tradition of cop shows throughout the years that use designators in their titles, from the likes of Car 54 Where Are You? to the more recent 10-8: Officers on Duty. 19-2 also continues the more modern tradition of the gritty cop drama, heavily influenced by the likes of cable TV dramas The Shield and The Wire – with the same hardened sensibilities, only this time with a Canadian twist…

Interestingly, 19-2 – as seen on this DVD – is not the original version of the show. This particular iteration of the cop drama is actually an Englich-language remake of the series, which was originally set in Montreal and filmed entirely in French. There are some minor differences between the two – none moreso than changing the ethnicity of the cast – but for the most part both shows stick to the same story:

Police officers Nick Barron and Ben Chartier have been thrust into an unwilling partnership after the devastating shooting of Barron’s last partner. Nick carries the weight of that shooting with him every day and isn’t planning on committing to the country boy who’s fresh to the city sitting by his side. The series is about the tensions and bonds that develop between two incompatible men of very different temperaments and life experiences as they go about their job – mistrust and antagonism, eventually giving way to mutual respect for each other, and for the badge.

If there’s one thing you can say about Canadian television, it’s that its not afraid to go to some very dark places, be it a school shooting in the likes of Degrassi: The Next Generation or an attack on a transgender character in sci-fi drama Lost Girl. And 19-2 follows suit. This show isn’t afraid to go into some brutal and unforgiving places and tell some dark stories: drug addicts, rapists, gang-members, murderers. It’s all here. The show even opens with the brutal death of a cop by bullet to the head!

I’ve long been a fan of Canadian crime dramas, from Night Heat in the mid-80s through Blue Murder, Cold Squad, The Sentinel and the countries most well-known export: DaVinci’s Inquest (a personal favourite). Yet whilst 19-2 continues many of the Canuck TV traditions, it also breaks new ground – in so much as, even given Canada’s bold, progresssive television history, this feels very much like an uncensored Netflix show rather than anything else we’ve seen before on overly-sanitized network television.

19-2: Complete Series One is out now on DVD from RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn Label.

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