Allan Hawco is back on CBC Monday night alongside fellow Republic of Doyle alumnus Paul Gross, Fifty Shades Darker/Freed‘s Eric Johnson, Mary Kills People‘s Greg Bryk, Rookie Blue‘s Enuka Okuma, and No Tomorrow/Blindspot‘s Tori Anderson in Caught, a five-part scripted drama series set in the 1970s Canadian drug trade.
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Diving wholly into the wayback machine, complete with Credence Clearwater Revival, chain-smoking, bell bottoms, and rampant sexism, the series opens in 1978 as convicted drug trafficker David Slaney (Hawco) escapes from a New Brunswick prison. Deprived of his beloved Jennifer (Charlotte Sullivan) and his life for the last five years after pulling a 15-year stint for a deal that went sideways, David’s good guy edges have been worn down a bit and now he’s on a mission.
A few thousand miles south in Mexico, his former BFF and business partner Brian Hearn (Johnson) has moved on without him, achieving semi-kingpin status with a new second, Cyril (Bryk). Brian is already fraying because of new DEA attention when David’s escape and Cyril’s return home with new companion Ada (Anderson) make him even jumpier.
On the law enforcement side of things, we have the RCMP’s Roy Patterson (Gross), whose personal choices have torpedoed his career, and going after Slaney is a Hail Mary attempt at salvaging his reputation. He finds a reluctant kindred spirit in Kate Williams (Okuma), a detective struggling to make herself known for her police work rather than her gender.
It’s quite a potent stew of characters, and the pilot introduces us to the key players with a hint that perhaps not all is as it might seem. The series is based on the book by Lisa Moore. Hawco and his Republic of Doyle partner Perry Chafe re-team for the series adaptation. Look for familiar Canadian faces Victoria Pratt (Heartland), Roger Cross (Dark Matter), Billy MacLellan (Bellevue), and Mike Dopud (Power) in the first episode.
Context is a funny thing. I screened an earlier version of this a few months ago, and then again today, and between the viewings, I watched American Made and Kill the Messenger, both about the U.S. government’s involvement in the 1980s drug trade.
Watching those films and then returning to Caught for a rewatch gave me a better appreciation for Slaney as a young guy who was just, no pun intended, caught up in things when there was a lot of (seemingly) very easy money to be made, and his loyalty to his friend and desire to provide for his family made him more susceptible to taking the risk. Five years wiser and angrier, he’s now looking at things through a different lens.
I adore all the folks involved in the project, and y’all know how we feel about Hawco around here, so it’s doubly fun to have him back in another show that has his and Chafe’s imprint all over it. I haven’t read the book, so I look forward to seeing where the story goes.
Caught premieres Monday at 9 pm E on CBC. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.
Photos and Videos Courtesy of CBC