Nothing seems to be going right for that poor bastard Jake on the season finale of Republic of Doyle (tonight at 9 p.m. on CBC). First, his trouble making brudder Christian (Jonathan Goad, above left with Allan Hawco), wakes up covered in blood in what sure looks like a crime scene. Then the boys' dad Malachy (Sean McGinley) goes and has a heart attack. Jake kinda fudges the crime scene when he sneaks off with some evidence that could incriminate his brudder, a move that could cost his cop cutie love interest Leslie (Krystin Pelierin). And Jake's relationship with his ex- Nikki (Rachel Wilson) gets more screwed up than ever.
Good thing the kids Des (Mark O'Brien) and Tinny (Marthe Bernard) are holding the fort back at the Doyle detective agency. Sorta.
The series finale has everything that has carried this fun-to-watch series all season long--guys rolling around punching each other, Jake getting punched in the teeth, withering looks of disdain from Malachy (even on his hospital bed) and squealing tire shots of Jake's fabulous Pontiac GTO. Renewed for next season, Republic of Doyle has been a breakout breath of fresh, salty, St. John's sea air. Not to be overlooked for the success of the series has been the contributions from the ladies of Doyle. Lynda Boyd (right with McGinley), as Malachy's Rose, brings warmth and edge to every scene and shines opposite McGinley tonight. Wilson has kept Nikki sympathetic despite a storyline that could have slipped into a one-note caricature. Pelierin has stayed arresting as both cop and lover.
It all gets blown up tonight, with Malachy's fate the big question mark. You'd hate to see Irishman McGinley leave this series. Note perfect as the hard-arse dad who sees too much of himself in his reckless son, he has raised the level of acting with everyone he plays opposite.
Jake's world almost got blown up a whole lot earlier. Kudos to Hawco and Company for pounding out 12 episodes of a slick and entertaining show despite more than the usual amount of obstacles facing a Canadian series launch. First, Hawco and some of the writers got swine flu last summer. McGinley had to be shot around a few times, some planned (trips to New York and Dublin to honour play commitments) some not. The original showrunner, Denis McGrath, parted company with Hawco just a few episodes into the season.
Through it all, first time executive producer Hawco and his East Coast colleagues clung to their vision of a simple, old fashioned detective show, a Rockford Files for The Rock. Sure, they had help, as seasoned replacement writers flew east to tidy up the remaining episodes. An impressive guest cast, with everyone from Ian Tracy to Nicholas Campell to Shawn Doyle to 22 Minutes' vets Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones and Shawn Majumder all adding to the mix. Together did they pull it off? As Great Big Sea sings each week in the show's rousing theme, "Oh Yeah."