Jack Irish: Why Asia? Why Manila?
Linda Hillier: Asia’s the new Middle East.
Jack Irish: Oh, like we need another one of those.
It’s fair to say that things start off not with a bang but rather, a whimper for these star-crossed lovers. Convinced that Jack (Guy Pearce, Memento) will never be the man to settle down to have kids (or even an adult relationship) with, dedicated journalist Linda (Marta Dusseldorp, A Place To Call Home) flies off in pursuit of an interview with jihadist Hadji Adhib (Osamah Sami).
Not to worry; Linda might be away, but she won’t be gone. In fact, her adventures will continuously run parallel with Jack’s, as the very part of the Philippines she lands up in ties itself to what starts as a local missing persons case for Melbourne, Australia’s Mr. Irish, who’s been hired to find the sister of plucky–not to mention dangerously sexy–sculptress Sarah Longmore (Claudia Karvan, Daybreakers).
Now I know that I started this six part series at the beginning, but I nevertheless had the distinct feeling that somehow I’d wandered in somewhere about the middle.
Well, whaddya know? It turns out that the curiously titled Jack Irish: Season 1 (subtitled: Blind Faith) happens to be, in fact, the fourth screen translation of novelist Peter Temple’s somewhat worse-for-wear private investigator–he drinks like a fish and tends to get beat up a lot–following three TV movies, also starring Pearce, Dusseldorp and nearly a dozen other supporting actors, reprising their regular roles.
But, I digress. Soon enough, Jack, Linda and company are plunged head-long into a high-stakes game of horse racing, national politics and international intrigue, involving not only a charismatic Islamic terrorist, but also a charismatic Christian mega-church pastor named Rob Shand (Marcus Graham, Mulholland Drive)–all things being even, more or less, right?
Here’s the poop, Alley Oop: considering that Irish is yet another of the seemingly myriad eccentric private eyes operating on television these days, it should come as no surprise that this tale of big money, human trafficking, bloody violence and political malfeasance has played out similarly, many times over in other like-minded series, and therefore shouldn’t surprise any dedicated fans of this particular genre.
On the other hand, these tropes have been worked over by experts here. From Pearce (who by rights should’ve bagged himself at least a couple of acting Oscars already) on down, the Jack Irish team–both in front of and behind the camera–have delivered an amazingly tasty, large dollop of small-screen comfort food, and like any comfort food worth its empty calories, you’ll be justified in feeling at least a bit guilty after consuming six hours of it from the comfort of your couch.
The good people at Acorn have done their usual stellar job of delivering this latest TV import to DVD. Jack Irish:Season 1 looks and sounds spanking good, with complementary subtitles to help us poor ‘Murricans enjoy every witty line delivered in those deliciously thick Australian accents.
There’s a brief and breezy behind-the-scenes featurette that will charm anyone who enjoyed the series and a photo gallery for those who need even more.
That closes the book on this case, but once he’s had time to heal up a bit, I strongly suspect that Jack will be back.
A guilty pleasure. All charges are dropped.