Photo by: FX
Since reviewing this show calls for canine metaphors, let’s get them out of the way early. “Terriers” is not a show about dogs, but rather refers to the pet name cops have for private investigators.
By : SHAWNA BENSON
Since reviewing this show calls for canine metaphors, let’s get them out of the way early. “Terriers” is not a show about dogs, but rather refers to the pet name cops have for private investigators. If the cops are the big dogs, the P.I.s are the terriers yapping and nipping at their heels – making noise, getting in the way, generally being a nuisance. It stands to figure then that the show is really about two guys who fit the description perfectly. Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack (played by Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James) are unlicensed P.I.S. working, it would seem, sporadically in one of the beach communities near San Diego, California. Their work seems to consist mainly of performing small favors for others, like stealing back a dog for a local drycleaner, but inevitably the duo end up pulling bigger favors which lands them in far deeper water. When Hank learns an old drinking buddy needs to be bailed out of jail, he comes to the rescue, only to reluctantly agree to a much larger favor – looking for the man’s missing daughter.
Photo by: FX
Hank is a former cop, presumably washed up and out from a life of alcoholism which also swept away his wife in a divorce. He’s still on friendly terms with the ex, but senses something is in the wind when she suddenly puts their home up for sale. Meanwhile, Britt who seems to have no credentials to back up his position in this partnership (at least, that we are aware of), is desperately clinging to “Never Neverland” as his girlfriend Dottie (Sara Holden) astutely observes. Both men have lives of stunted maturity, both fighting against the forces that would demand them to be grown-ups. Hank clearly has been a grown-up and is now hiding out; Britt has never been a grown-up and his girlfriend is getting impatient for him to join her in the adult world, by starting a family.
With such a premise, which on the surface (2 buddy private investigators) doesn’t sound all that original, a new series is born. Created by Ted Griffin, best known for writing breezy crime fare like “Ocean’s 11” and “Matchstick Men,” executive produced by Shawn Ryan (creator of “The Shield”) and Tim Minear (showrunner of “Firefly” and “The Inside”), the show has a (forgive the pun) pedigree, which cannot be denied. It also lends truth to the notion that you don’t need a crazy idea for a show, you just need good execution of any idea.
Logue and Raymond-James are well matched leads – Logue (“Grounded for Life”, “Life”) has been in the trenches so long, it’s good to see him get another shot at fronting a show, and he looks more relaxed and attractive here than in anything else he’s been in recently. Those who recognize Raymond-James will best know him as Rene in the first season of “True Blood.” The good looks and seductive charm he displayed there have traveled with him, and provide a good counterbalance to Logue. Together, the two have an engaging comic dynamic, their interplay feels unforced and natural. I found the pilot better upon second viewing, which gives me hope that the show going forward will play solidly. I have faith in the team behind this show to continue to provide interesting narrative, snappy dialog and characters who aren’t cookie cutter P.I.s but who have depth.
By episode’s end, the two know they have opened up a world of pain for themselves. Fortunately, their pain is our gain.
“Terriers” premieres on FX on Wednesday September 8 at 10 PM Eastern/Pacific.