Monday, October 17, 2016

Television Series Review - Shoot the Messenger

Airing Monday nights at 9:00 PM on CBC; Shoot The Messenger is a crime thriller that mixes police, journalists, the judicial system, politics, sex and violence hovering between in the gritty and glamours sections of  the big city.  Newbie journalist Daisy Channing (Elyse Leveque) is fresh off the entertainment beat leaping into investigative reporting in the series opening scenes. She is interrupted during the night by a text from a source who she rushes out to meet. As she arrives at the meeting location she sees her source arguing with a young man who is shot from a distance. Her contact avoids a spray of bullets then speeds away from the scene.

Over the first three episodes the narrative develops more details on the lives and loves of the main characters. Daisy is fleshed out first then we learn more about Detective Kevin Lutz (Lyric Bent) who is lead investigator in the homicide she witnessed and the other side of the middle of the night interruption by her source Hassan Ali (Arya Mengesha). Ali is a driver for business mogul  Eric Lawson (Al Sapienza) who has a potentially embarrassing item to protect worth the services of a professional sniper. Simon Olenski is an engaged senior reported at the Gazette who is very protective of his bi lines but growing intrigued by Daisy.  Alex Kingston is Mary Foster the no nonsense chief editor of the Gazette who has a history with her senior reporter.

On the political front Sam Charles (Ari Cohen) is the Attorney General with large political ambition challenging the police department with respected Judge Susas Reeves (Brenda Bazinet) heading up his task force. Charles works closely professionally and personally with his policy advisor Chloe Channing (Hannah Emily Anderson) Daisy's straight laced sister.

Series Creators Sudz Sutherland and Jennifer Holness train their attention towards the underbelly of a big Canadian city featuring everyday language that may be more expected on HBO then CBC. The language, tone, and locations give the piece an authentic edgy feel not normally explored on Canadian television. A good part of the early action takes place in  the fictional Dixon City projects dominated by Somali Canadians. It's the battle ground of two rival gangs the Mogadishu Boys and the 5PM gang. The series initial victim is the artist brother of the head of the Mogadishu Boys leading to a drive by act of revenge.

Saskatchewan bred Elyse Levesque leads the cast as Daisy. She is often overwhelmed at outset of the multiple difficult situations but steadies her nerves to obtain information to keep her investigation moving along.  Lyric Bent may have viewers thinking of Luther as he deals with suspects, fellow officers along with his dangerous relationship with Daisy. Alex Kingston's Mary Foster is the the other strong presence in the initial episodes of the series. She is smart, loud, tough but fair with her staff at the Gazette.

Shoot the Messenger  is a quick moving, sharply polished crime drama. The main characters all have potential and are written to draw the viewer in and quickly care about their fates. The initial three episodes are a good start to the series that will surely build the suspense and inter relationship between the cast and hopefully continue to build on its' feeling of other superior productions like the Killings and the above noted Luther.  

Shoot the Messenger by Jennifer Holness & Sudz Sutherland. Starring  Elyse Levesque, Lyriq Bent, Lucas Bryant & Alex Kingston.  Airing Monday's 9:00 PM on CBC Television.

Tags: Crime, Thriller,  Police, Judicial, Politics, Gangs, Somalia, Imam, Cell Phone, Cocaine,


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