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Monday and "DaVinci's Inquest"

By admin Published: February 12, 2007

Another indication that I should wear a hat outdoors, after the jump ...

The cold that was creeping up on me yesterday hit with more considerable force today, my fault for not wearing a chapeau in the cold on Saturday. Sniffles, yucky throat and, worst of all, the sort of fuzzy brain that finds you wanting to do something while being utterly incapable of forming a complete sentence -- or, in many situations, a complete thought. So I spent a little time at the office and more of it at home. Where I have managed to pass the time with the first season of "DaVinci's Inquest" on DVD.

I've been hearing about "DaVinci's," a Canadian police-mystery series for some time, since repeats were syndicated in the U.S. and people were discovering them and then writing to me when they couldn't find them anymore. I made some unsuccessful attempts to find out what was going on, and kept thinking I should figure out a way to take a look at the show, and then, finally, there it was, courtesy of Acorn Media.

And I rather like it.

Three episodes in, the show does not resemble U.S. shows in this genre as much as it does British programs like "Prime Suspect" and "Cracker." DaVinci, a Vancouver coroner played by Nicholas Campbell, is a bit of a mess -- marriage broken, some trouble with drink -- and the show deals with police department politics as well as crime. Plus the crimes are sordid -- baby dead of a heroin overdose, necrophiliac serial killer -- although the content overall is not as graphic as, say, "The Shield." Although Campbell is more flamboyant than Helen Mirren in "Prime Suspect," they both have that look of someone who has seen more carefree days, good looks washed down by seas of troubles.

(You may remember Campbell from his dashing-handsome days in shows like CBS's late-night "Diamonds," as the original "Hitchhiker" host on HBO, or on a short-lived action show called "The Insiders." I remember talking to Hammond about "Insiders"; there was some question about the show's theme song, and I remember asking Hammond what he would pick. He suggested Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves." I was impressed.)

While the coroner angle has led some promotion-minded folks to compare it to "CSI," "DaVinci's" is much lower-tech and gritty. You don't get that Vegas neon. In fact, the look of it is the least interesting aspect; the greater emphasis is on character, story and dialogue.

Anyway, now I'm racing to get through the third episode, since the series began with a three-parter, and I want to see how it goes. I may be back later after some of the Monday-night shows -- depending on how the sniffles progress.

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