Ben Sullivan is a homicide detective with a secret. The house shrink, Ryan DiSilvio, says Ben’s colleagues call him the best cop in the room. Ben says that depends on the room. What’s unspoken (and seemingly unknown) is that Ben is often assisted on the job by at least two alter personalities – Sam and Harry – who are both considerably less restrained than he is at getting answers. Ben and his wife, Ella, lost their son in an unsolved kidnapping (and presumed murder), which may or may not have originally triggered the alters. We’re not explicitly told anything except that this is a recurrence. Ella has her own fragility, but is still better off than Ben (we think).
The pilot episode begins as Ben’s new partner, Amy Lynch, arrives from an SVU-type unit and goes out on a call with him before even unpacking her box of things. Once on the scene, Ben and Amy find a dead teenage boy and Ben flips to loose cannon Sam, just as the assailant jumps out. Sam tells Amy to shoot. She does, the guy dies, and then Ben returns, left to piece together what happened. Amy goes along with Ben on the deception that the guy shot first (he didn’t) and they are cleared, but she is bewildered that she can’t get a straight answer from him on why he told her to shoot in the first place. Complicating matters is that one of the press corps is Amy’s recent ex-boyfriend, Hal, who seems to have trouble with their new boundaries of professional vs. personal.
After a few instances of Sam and Harry coming and going, Ben stays in control long enough to bring the boy’s killer into custody, and he agrees to see the shrink on an ongoing basis. The second episode intersects a heart transplant patient death case with the murder of a Chinese cardiac surgeon and human smuggling for parts. Harry makes an appearance after Ella wants to celebrate what would have been their son’s 10th birthday. He instead leaves to visit girlfriend Naomi. Ben returns home the next day.
Ella starts to piece together things and asks Ben’s best friend and former partner, Terry, for help in IDing Naomi. The episode ends with Ella confronting her with the news that Harry isn’t actually Harry, but that “Harry” has a wife. As far as the case goes, Sam gains some traction on the potential suspects but it’s Ben who solves it.
I liked Shattered a lot. The casting was pretty much a guarantee that I was going to watch. Callum Keith Rennie is back in a regular TV role for the first time since Due South; Martin Cummins in his first since Poltergeist: The Legacy. Both men do very good work here. Rennie shifts seamlessly from wounded and subdued Ben to Harry’s swagger to unhinged Sam and back again. Cummins layers his performance as a cop juggling the job, an ex-wife, and kids while running point for Ben when he blacks out and needs help. Camille Sullivan, Brian Markinson, and Michael Eklund are in from the Chris Haddock universe (as Amy, Ryan, and Hal). Ty Olsson is here after his stint on Men in Trees (as Kevin, a married superintendent who’s sleeping with the squad commander, Pam, played by Karen LeBlanc). And the always awesome Molly Parker is Ella opposite Rennie, with whom she’s already co-starred on several occasions. In short, it’s a complete slam dunk. By the looks of upcoming guest cast list, we’re going to get additional Haddock alumni (but not Ian Tracey, darn it).
I’m not sure what the “there” is yet for Shattered, but I’ll keep watching this cast. I also like that it’s out and about in a gritty, rainy Vancouver-for-Vancouver’s sake in a way not filmed since the Da Vinci series and Intelligence. The second episode was directed by Stephen Surjik, who directed on those shows; the pilot was lensed by one of the show’s executive producers, Kari Skogland.
Plotwise, I wonder about how perceptive Ben’s previous partners—Terry, who’s still in the squad, and Pam, who’s now his boss—were about the little tweaks that make him such a good cop. I was glad Amy had a chat with Pam right out of the gate about “something might be wrong here.” The first season shot 13 episodes, so we’re just getting started. I’m already hooked.
Photo Courtesy of Showcase