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Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent


The debut of “Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” has the potential to be Canada’s most significant original TV series premiere to date. In Canada, getting a show approved for production is notoriously challenging due to funding constraints, market dynamics, and competition from U.S. imports. Even major networks like CTV, Global, and CityTV, along with the public broadcaster CBC, often rely on acquiring content rather than producing original series. However, amidst this challenging landscape, the adaptation of “Criminal Intent” for a Canadian audience has been seen as a strategic move from the outset, given its established fanbase and proven formula. Rogers Sports & Media is strategically positioning the series by airing it directly after NBC’s “Law & Order,” setting the stage for a potentially massive audience.

The Key To The Castle

However, beyond its marketing appeal, the creative approach of “Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” is what truly sets it apart. Adapting an international franchise for a Canadian audience presents unique challenges, particularly in infusing it with Canadian identity while operating on a limited budget. Yet, the series aims to do just that, by featuring original Canadian stories, produced, written, and starring Canadians, drawing inspiration from national headlines. The premiere episode, “The Key to the Castle,” exemplifies this commitment, weaving a narrative that resonates with real-life events while capturing the essence of Canadian storytelling. As the series unfolds, it promises to showcase the depth of Canadian talent and storytelling prowess, marking a significant milestone in the country’s television landscape.

Law & Order Criminal intent Toronto
Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent

Canadian Actors

Most notably, the premiere introduces viewers to the fresh crime-solving duo entrusted with cracking these cases. Aden Young (“Rectify”) steps into the role of Detective Sergeant Henry Graff, while Kathleen Munroe portrays Detective Sergeant Frankie Bateman. Their on-screen chemistry is evident, with Graff’s worldly yet quirky demeanor, brimming with knowledge in his distinct Canadian accent, complemented by Bateman’s relatable presence, bridging communication gaps effortlessly.

At the precinct, they are joined by Inspector Vivienne Holness, portrayed by “Schitt’s Creek” standout and esteemed Canadian actress Karen Robinson. Her no-nonsense, straightforward approach provides a delightful contrast to Graff’s brilliance, and it’s evident why the writers tailored the role with her in mind. Additionally, K.C. Collins (“Saving Hope,” “Lost Girl”) embodies the role of Deputy Crown Attorney Theo Forrester, whose brief appearances in the premiere leave a lasting impression, thanks to his effortless charm and charisma.

Walk & Talk

It’s a compelling hour that adheres closely to the established conventions of the franchise, delving into a case from inception to resolution while offering insights from both the detectives’ and the suspects’ perspectives. This format leaves little room for ongoing story arcs, but early indications of character development surface, such as the revelation of Bateman’s status as a single mother and potential romantic inclinations.

Law & Order’s trademark “walk-and-talk” sequences, a staple of the franchise, showcase Toronto’s distinct locales.

The pacing is brisk, with ample outdoor shots showcasing Toronto’s distinct locales, contributing to the overall Canadian ambiance. The trademark “walk-and-talk” sequences, a staple of the franchise, are present but can feel more like a brisk jog for Munroe, who noticeably contrasts in height with her male counterparts.

Will It Succeed? 

This marks a promising beginning with significant opportunities for Canadian actors on the horizon. Similar to how the New York series draw from the city’s pool of emerging talents and vibrant theatre scene, “Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent” benefits from a rich reservoir of Canadian actors and a thriving local theatre community.

The success of the show will hinge on the ability to discover the right talent and craft compelling narratives as it progresses. With only the premiere episode available for screening prior to its debut, predicting the trajectory from here on remains challenging. However, the inaugural episode offered multiple twists and a brisk pace that held viewer interest.

The Show Runner

The involvement of show runner Tassie Cameron is another promising aspect. With a wealth of experience crafting Canadian law enforcement narratives on series like “Rookie Blue,” “Private Eyes,” “Flashpoint,” “Mary Kills People,” and “Pretty Hard Cases,” Cameron brings a seasoned perspective to the table. Working alongside her sister, award-winning journalist Amy Cameron, under their banner Cameron Pictures, adds further depth to the creative team. Additionally, the influence of their mother, acclaimed Canadian investigative journalist Stevie Cameron, whose work has delved into notable crimes for years, underscores the inherent ability to create a series like “Criminal Intent,” seemingly ingrained in the sisters’ DNA.

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca   

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