Need good Intelligence

I watch a bit of tv, generally hacking away on my laptop at the same time. One friday night over a year ago I was looking for something to watch and stumbled on a pilot for a TV show called “Intelligence”. Weirdly enough the show is based in Vancouver with a plot line focussed on the parallel lives of a senior member of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the wealthy drug smuggler she recruits as her star informant. The series stars some familar faces from American TV in Klea Scott as the CSIS chief Mary Spalding and Ian Tracey as Jimmie Reardon, a 3rd generation crime boss from Vancouver. Other familar faces include Matt Frewer who’s been in numerous US tv shows including Town Called Eureka.
So what makes the show so good? In a nutshell, it’s a more likable Sopranos with the quirky backdrop of Vancouver. Humour, sex and violence are still vital ingredients! The show is grounded in the reality of a massive illegal drug trade between the Canada and the US, driven by simple economics; the disparity in price between marajuana in Vancouver and their neigbours on the West coast US.. The acting performances are terrific. Tracey’s Jimmie Reardon runs many legitimate businesses and struggles with his long term plans to extricate himself from the wildly lucrative illegal activities which put him and his family in danger. Where Tony Soprano is at heart an egocentric monster with the glimmer of a conscience, Reardon is ultimately a decent guy whose first impulse is to negotiate rather than blow away. Reardon’s natural charisma and quick-wittedness make him an anti-hero similar to Steve McQueen’s Thomas Crown. Scott’s Mary Spalding is an opportunistic and very smart intelligence operative who negotiates, plots and maneuveres herself into a controlling position within CSIS. The chemistry between informant and operative isn’t sexual, it’s about power as each side trades information and favours to get the upper hand.
The show moves along at a cracking pace while managing to maintain a coherent plot despite labyrinthine complexity in some of the subplots. The dialogue never jars, the action is always believable. It’s just great television from a country which has produced previous endearingly fluffy tv exports such as the Beechcombers.
Intelligence has been produced up until this point by Chris Haddock and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The show has been syndicated to Hallmark which has shown it in a number of unhelpfully weird time slots. Despite being the most critically acclaimed series in Canada it’s ratings are still quite low there. It has a loyal following but it seems that the show jars with the squeaky-clean image Canada wants to portray to the world and it’s been canned.
All is not lost as the Fox network has decided it’s a great premise and has bought the rights to develop the show from Haddock. The problem is that they’re planning a remake and may completely ditch both Vancouver and the original cast. Tracey, Scott and Sullivan don’t need replacing. I’m not quite sure why this has to happen as one of Fox’s most successful shows was made in Vancouver i.e. The X Files. American TV networks are not always surefooted when it comes to producing intelligent drama.
Anyway, CBC has missed a trick here as the programme lends itself to a European audience. With some sensible marketing they could have had a worldwide syndicated hit on their hands. I’m not sure whether episodes are available on filesharing networks (nor would I advocate their use of course :)) but if you can find any expisodes on the Net..For clips see youtube. Then write an email as I’ve done to Fox suggesting they not f*&k up a show that could continue with minor tweaks in venue and casting.