Dr Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan) is an ER doctor, whose husband dies suddenly, leaving her with their teenage son and a fabulous house. (I particularly coveted that study with the sliding glass doors.) Three months later, she’s cut her hair short and taken a new job as a coroner in Toronto. Possibly the coroner in Toronto. I don’t know how it works in Canada. Her first case involves the deaths of two teenagers, a boy and a girl, who were being held in a youth custody facility. Both were found hanged and, as they were in love, and rehearsing to play the roles of Romeo and Juliet for the facility’s drama club, everyone jumps to the conclusion that their deaths are the result of a suicide pact.
But not Jenny, of course, who has noticed some anomalous injuries on the dead kids. The senior medical examiner, who is a grumpy old man and brutally dismissive of Jenny, declines to take her concerns seriously, and in consequence is in the show just long enough for her to fire him. She’s much better at winning over Detective Donovan McAvoy (Roger Cross), who shifts from visible scepticism to Team Jenny within the hour. Also in the mix is some French-Canadian eye-candy (Eric Bruneau), who is working on the house of a deceased elderly woman when Jenny arrives to confirm the cause of death. A couple of drinks later, they’re hitting it on the back of his trailer. I’d speculate, though, that while he might prove to be a diversion, for medium-to-long-term shipping potential we should be looking at Det McAvoy.
What else? Oh yes. Jenny’s husband turns out to have gambled away all their money and defaulted on the mortgage on that lovely house, so she’s going to have to move. And there’s a symbolic (and, I think, entirely imaginary) black dog who wanders in and out of key scenes. I don’t know what Brer Dog is symbolising, mind you, apart from a general sense of things having gone wrong. Perhaps there’s more to come from it.
Anyway, I enjoyed this. The main reason is probably the performance of Serinda Swan in the lead role – she’s really very good indeed, switching adroitly from hyper-competent and acerbic to vulnerable or emotional as required. In addition, the script is just a little bit sharper and sparkier than it needs to be. If I had to find fault I’d say that the plot wasn’t unduly demanding. But it’s the first episode, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. And – a point I always need to make when giving a procedural a thumbs-up – this show will not change your life in the slightest. But it’s worth a look, and I’m probably in for the rest of the season.