Tuesday, February 03, 2009

TV: Review- The Border

The second season of The Border, CBC's flashiest cop drama mostly missed the sizzling presence of Agent LeGarda, the Cuban-born American liason to our Customs Security Agency played by Sofia Milos. A Canadian show needs Canuck content and the makers of the series opted to replace Milos with Grace Park, who's more or less an honourary Canadian after spending time filming both Edgemont and Battlestar Galactica out west.

Wasn't a good trade.

But that basically ends my major list of gripes with the sophomore season of the show. There are some minor ones. We saw less than I would have liked of wonderkind computer geek Heironymous Slade, played by Jonas Chernick. We saw too much of agent Gray Jackson, played by Graham Abbey. He bounced back and forth through storylines involving Park's Agent Carver and a story-line about his sad-sack father, played with the usual grizzled dishevelment by Nicholas Campbell. There was a day and time when Campbell was a leading man type. I've lived a long, long time.

And I would have liked to have seen a lot more of forgotten Nanzeen Contractor this year. She got lost in all that Jackson story-line, although she certainly was front and centre in the bifurcated "Will they survive" cliff-hanger to the season. For my money, Contractor's Layla Hourani survived the bomb in the bathtub in the bathroom, having just escaped her constraints. And Jackson and the agents accompanying Major Mike Kessler will survive due to some lousy marksmanship from the ambushing 'Ndragheta thugs.

The gang will probably all be back next fall for season three. And that's a good thing.

Kessler, played James McGowan, got over LeGarda's departure fairly quickly. He took up with British spook Charlotte Bates, played with sexy ambivalence towards most everybody by Daisy Beaumont. She was "fer 'n agin" the interests of Canada, sometimes within the same episode. And in doing so, she brought out Kessler's increasing willingness to get that rod out of his backside. It was a good combination.

I really can't remember a bad hour in the 13-episode run. On the other hand, few REALLY stand out. The Hourani-centric episode that brought back one-time one-night stand Jimmy Kosik to die heroically worked well. The submarine down episode was gripping despite its lack of action.

All and all, despite Lee Goldberg's assertion that Canadian TV is basically uninspiring, this is one show that proves him wrong. It's Canadian and proud of it.

And so am I. Catch the re-runs or get the DVD series when it comes out.


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