“There’s a Mole in 19.”
Tonight marks the return of Bravo’s original drama series to the airwaves at 10pm on Bravo (where else?). After a critically well received first season (with 6 Canadian Screen Award Nominations to prove it), 19-2 hits the ground running with it’s season premiere, “School”. With an eye for realism this hour long drama focusing on the lives of patrol cops on the hectic streets of Montreal now tackles the story of a school shooting that is so realistic, it’s important to warn you that if you’re sensitive to this subject matter, the content presented may disturb you. Continuing with it’s strong depiction of the real life of a cop, this series shows right at the start of it’s second season that it’s not afraid to hold anything back and ramp up the stakes with an episode that most series would be afraid to even attempt. And that’s why 19-2 is worth watching.
Based on the popular French Canadian series, 19-2 is a police drama that follows the lives of officers Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) and their comrades at the 19th Precinct. Ben is an honest cop with a reputation for being one. That’s why SQ has asked him to spy on his own squad to find out the identity of the mole within 19 who’s been leaking information of ongoing investigations. He’s got his hands full this season as this job has put him on edge. Add to this the events which take place during the school shooting call and the pressure on Ben is almost too much to bare. For an honest cop, he’s got to do a helluva lot of lying this season and that will take it’s toll, alienating him some from both his girlfriend Catherine (Sarah Allen) and partner Nick.
Meanwhile, Nick has a situation of his own. Freed of the burnden of being his former partner Harvey’s caregiver and newly devorced from his wife, Detective Isabelle Latendresse (Maxim Roy), Nick is now seeking out his roots in attempts to find out what happened to his father, who disappeared years ago when he was a teenager. His attempts to gain answers have lead him back to his estranged, crimnal cousin Kaz (Richard Chevolleau) who owns a body shop in a rough neighbourhood that used for laundering money. Not the best running buddy for Nick to have when 19 is under scrutiny.
Just as last year, the supporting cast on the show is strong and each is given moments to shine this season. Stepping to the forefront is Laurence Leboeuf who plays officer Audrey Poulet. Audrey went through the ringer last season as she was beaten to near death by four college kids with clubs. She’s just returned to the job after her physical rehabilitation. But just because the physical scars have healed, there are deep emotional ones that need to be addressed and Audrey finds herself overcompensating on the job to show she can handle it. This ends up getting her into a sticky situation in the third episode this season, titled “Boarders”, when an altercation on the street leads to a clash with the public caught on film. Benz Antoine once again gives a strong showing as alcoholic Tyler Joseph. His department enforced sobriety is keeping him off the booze but does that mean he’s 100% clean? His partner, Beatrice Hamelin (played by Mylene Dinh-Robic) has her suspicions and this will put a strain on their working relationship throughout the season.
The storylines being covered this season continue to drip with realism….except for one. There is a storyline involving rookie cop Vince Legare (my least favourite character played by Tyler Hines) where he breaks the rules and ends up having a sexual exchange in a public place while on the clock and in uniform. This leads to an investigation and puts Legare in a bad situation with the precinct. While I know that situations such as this have happened in real life, the handling of this particular tale comes off really goofy in an otherwise realistic show. The story also involves his partner, J.M. Brouillard (played by Dan Petronijevic) who attempts to cover for his partner’s rookie mistake and keep things under control. I feel sorry for Petronijevic, who was involved in a much more dramatic an interesting storyline in season 1, having to be roped along in a much more foolish one this year. But who knows. I’ve only seen the first four episodes of season 2. Perhaps this story will get better….perhaps. Thankfully, it’s a C plot at best, so it doesn’t take too much of the focus.
Overall, this season looks to be on the right track with the premiere being a highlight. The intensity of tracking a gunman through a school coupled with some amazing cinematography and excellent pacing makes this probably the best depiction of first response officers in a high trauma situation I have seen on television. If you are into realistic, heart-stopping performances and storytelling, you will not want to miss the premiere of 19-2 tonight at 10pm on Bravo.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!