Private Eyes s2 ep 9

K-pop spoilers

Shade and Angie are hired by a distraught client to investigate the disappearance of her son Pete, an army cadet who has gone AWOL from his training camp. Using Becca’s morning show as a pretext to get onto the base – an item about keeping fit the army way, or something – Shade drops and gives them thirty, while Angie discovers that Pete and two of his friends went missing for two hours during a training exercise. The friends are saying nothing. But data from their GPS trackers point to the three of them having been in a nearby forest at the crucial time.

Which means that Angie and Shade are going into the woods. Together. In the middle of the Canadian winter. Well, any of us could write what happened next. And, in fact, I did; I texted CJ to say “I’m thinking no mobile signal, having to huddle together for warmth…”. OK, as it turned out I got the second bit wrong. But the rest of it falls into place: they make their way to the location, and find an abandoned van with cash which looks as if it came from a bank robbery. But then Shade injures himself, meaning that they’re stuck for the night, and Angie reports that she can’t get a signal.

Huddle time, then…? Not quite. Not yet. But, winding back a bit: relationship drams update. Shade hasn’t yet introduced Mel to Jules, causing the former a certain amount of internal bleeding, it would seem. On the other hand: they’ve been only dating for two months, and as I’ve been off the market for decades I have no idea what’s normal these days. But… it doesn’t seem that long to me. Meantime, Angie is ducking and diving, trying to avoid Dr Ken, his weird pass-ag retention and “hiding” of a souvenir from his first attempt to put a ring on it, and his possible marriage proposal. So they have a bit to talk about, do Shade and Angie. And as they talk, listening to some light jazz on Shade’s phone, they look at each other, start to lean in… then the music changes from jazz to K-pop and the Moment is lost.

The case is solved – and it’s one of the show’s better plots, in fairness – but we need closure on the Shared Moment, don’t we? So… Angie, with the air of a woman who’s made a decision, drives over to Shade’s house, but on looking in the window sees that Mel has now been permitted to occupy the same spaces as Jules. Happy smiles from the Shade family. And a rueful smile from Angie, if not from me. I realise that just about all of these will-they-won’t-they plots depend on the inability of attractive, articulate, and (more or less) eligible grown-ups to use their damn words, but STILL.

Which is where we need to leave the Eyes for now, because it now goes into a mid-season “hiatus” which is going to last for months: the rest of season 2 will be shown next year, and the show has been renewed for a third season which presumably won’t be shown until… 2019? Not gonna pretend to understand this. Private Eyes remains, though, a welcome little outpost of sweetness and warmth and… niceness, in a world which seems to be increasingly drained of all three, which is why we’ll be back for more just as soon as they’re ready to give it to us.


Private Eyes s2 ep 8

After last week’s season-best episode, this one was a bit of a step back. Angie and Shade are consulted by funeral home proprietor Jacinta. She has a problem, and it’s a pretty fundamental one given her occupation: there’s to be a service for a deceased man later that evening, but the body in the casket isn’t who it’s supposed to be. Oh, Jacinta. You had ONE JOB. So the Eyes, assuming quite reasonably that a mistake was made at the morgue end of the process and that bodies were inadvertently swapped, chase round a few funeral homes looking for the right corpse. But when they find the funeral for the dead guy back at Jacinta’s, that coffin is full of bags of road salt. Running total: one body in the wrong place; one missing entirely.

Angie and Shade’s working theory is that, perhaps, someone wants one of the corpses cremated in order to cover up evidence of a crime. The motive for it all will, however, turn out to be even less plausible than that. It probably isn’t a spoiler to say that the millionaire businessman who turns up halfway through the episode is involved, as it could scarcely be more obvious were his company’s signature whisky called I’m The Baddie. (The identity of the person helping him is also clear from the get-go.) It’s fine, but some way short of wholly successful: I kind of feel that if you’re going to have a plot about corpses going missing you need to have the courage to go for all-out bad taste, and that’s never, ever going to be Private Eyes’s thing. Despite all of that, though, the writers still manage, as they always do, to contrive a happy ending.

There are two underpowered subplots – Zoe’s bucket list and Jules’s birthday – but more than enough relationship drama to make up for it. Shade hasn’t yet invited Mel to Jules’s party – less than committed there, dude – and Angie can’t come because Dr Ken has promised her A Surprise. Uh-huh, says Shade; you’ve been spending a lot of time together, you and Dr Ken, and I think I can guess what the Surprise is going to be. Nuh-huh, says Angie; we’re just having fun. Well, Shade is right: Angie arrives at Dr Ken’s apartment and searches it while he’s getting ready, finds what looks very much like an engagement ring, and runs off. Assuming that next week’s episode doesn’t write it all off as a comic misunderstanding, it looks as if Angie’s gonna have to decide whether to stick with Dr Ken. I won’t miss him for a second if he’s cut loose; I quite like Mel, though, so I’d be a little sorry were she to go. Here’s the thing, though. I may be imagining it, but I’d say that in this season, so far at least, the writers have really turned down the Angie/Shade chemistry. And, in turn, I’m a little less invested in Shangie.

Private Eyes s2 ep 7

We start with Shade waking up in Mel’s bed, and not because he’s been sleeping there while his house is being renovated, or something; no, it’s because he and Mel are doing it. So should they go on a proper date, wonders Mel? Uh, sure, says Shade. And while you’re at it, Matt, how about telling Angie about us? Well, says Shade, she’s got a policy about dating clients, which is why I haven’t said anything to her so far. And not, he doesn’t say, because I’m totally in love with her.

Meantime, there’s a case for the Eyes to investigate, courtesy of Maz, who for some reason doesn’t want to look into a break-in at a pro bono clinic. Which seems like a bit of a dereliction of duty, until Angie sees the doctor in charge of the clinic: it’s Dr Ken Graham, a face from her past, and someone she used to date. “The one that got away”, Maz confides to Shade, who takes agin Dr Ken from the start. Which isn’t easy: Dr Ken is just back from Nigeria, where he was working for a NGO, and is now running a free clinic offering medical help to the indigent of the area, substantially immigrants. He’s perfect.

Or… is he? Why was his clinic broken into? Who hates him enough to spray graffiti across the front of the premises? And what’s he hiding? To start with Shade and Angie check out the café across the road, run by a bad-tempered man-bunned hipster, and entirely unsuccessful because, according to the man-bun, of the undesirables attracted to the area by Dr Ken. Man-bun cops to the graffiti but not to the break-in, pointing instead to someone running a protection racket in the area. But it isn’t him either; Dr Ken has made friends with him. Ooh, says Shade; looks like Dr Ken has links to underworld crime there, Angie.

But she’s remarkably defensive of him, and a little digging around reveals why: she and Ken were engaged, and she called the wedding off three days before the wedding. Not because there was, or is, anything wrong with him – he is indeed as great as he seems – but simply because she wasn’t ready. Which would always leave you feeling a little guilty, I guess.

Anyway, the break-in is solved, and it’s one of the show’s better plots. On top of that, such is Private Eyes’s commitment to the happy ending that even Man-bun, who scarcely deserves it, gets one: he cuts his prices and attracts a whole new demographic. Dr Ken is, it transpires, wiling to work “outside the rules”, but not in an organised crime sort of way; in a life-saving sort of way. So yes, he was hiding something, but it’s an entirely noble something. Which means that Shade can tell him to give Angie a call; he does, and they make out. This allows Shade, in turn, to go public with Mel, meaning that both of the Eyes are in a relationship, just not with each other. And, even though this isn’t what we come to Private Eyes for, and even though there’s something insufferably perfect about Dr Ken, and even though I can’t quite warm to Mel yet either, I can live with it all for now, on the clear understanding that these are just speedbumps. My favourite episode of the season so far.

Private Eyes s2 ep 6

Spoilers. People make out.

Shade and Angie have been hired by Mel, a lawyer involved in the high-profile trial of a woman known in the popular press as Naughty Nancy, a rather whimsical nickname for someone who stands accused of stabbing her husband to death. So the Eyes head to court to meet him, and manage to catch a few minutes of the female prosecution lawyer savaging Nancy in cross-examination. Whew, babbles Shade afterwards, she was scary but hot. So where’s this Mel dude? Mel, of course, was the female prosecutor, one Melanie Parker; she hears every word; and she’s distinctly unimpressed by this jock who calls himself a PI. Not a good start to their business relationship.

The Case of the Week, then, is Melanie’s: she thinks that one of her jurors is behaving unusually, and that it’s because there’s some good old-fashioned jury tampering going on. Shade and Angie investigate, and discover that the juror in question is a good-natured and untampered-with middle-aged man whose private hobby is attending a nudist club. Nothing to see here, they report to Melanie, apart from juror number five’s Mr Happy. But the Eyes were themselves photographed while carrying out surveillance, and whoever did that is using it as leverage to get Melanie to drop the case.

We’ve only got 40 minutes or thereabouts, so a quick leap of logic is called for at this point in order to establish that another PI, Norm Glinski, is the person who is also watching the juror. And Norm is played – and because I wasn’t really paying attention to the credits I did not see this coming – by TV royalty William Shatner. Eventually Norm – an old rogue, but one who knew Angie’s father and is therefore redeemable – will join forces with the Eyes to uncover evidence proving that Naughty Nancy isn’t so naughty after all. The crucial intervention will, inevitably, come when Shade and Angie burst into court holding an envelope containing the evidence mere seconds before the jury delivers its verdict. To call it a well-worn device would be a grievous and possibly actionable understatement, but as ever with Private Eyes the whole thing is carried out with so much charm and affection that it’s impossible not to love.

But on top of that there are developments elsewhere: Shade père is interested in Shona, his new business partner at the cafe. Meh, I thought: it isn’t the ship I come to this show for, but I suppose it’ll do meantime. What, wonders Matt, is Angie’s view of workplace relationships? “Not enough tequila in the world, Shade”, she retorts. Hold that thought, girlfriend, and we’ll maybe come back to you next week to discuss it. Because by the end of the episode Shade and Melanie are vigorously making out in the latter’s office. Tequila time, Angie?

Private Eyes s2 ep 5

Episode five finds Shade and Angie in pensive mood. Their client is a heartbroken classical musician who can’t accept his missing violinist fiancée “died” a year ago; the case brings them back up against an embittered Nolan who declares that “not every love story has a happy ending” but, much to Angie’s discomfort, is talking about a different “love story” entirely; and Shade feels for everyone, while having his own worries about what exactly his dad is hiding and whether Don Shade might be much longer for this earth.

The answer to the riddle of the missing muso and the fact that Nolan is handling it all wrong is obvious almost as soon as the detective opens his mouth – the more evidence there is the missing Laura is still alive, the more adamant he is that Shade and Angie should accept she’s dead, really? – but there’s a bit of Chopin, a bit of heartache and a recurring joke about Shade trying to bust down doors, so the episode manages to combine the sublime, the tragic and the amiably self-deprecating in the usual entertaining, if slightly more musically high-brow than usual, fashion. And just in case anyone was worried Private Eyes was going to get all serious on us, it culminates in a fun chase round a lovely Concert Hall where everybody gets to be a hero and the notion of Nolangie is dispatched fondly but firmly and (hopefully) finally – bring back Maz, you guys, Nolan is no fun – before a bunch of folk I really like sit down and share some frankly delicious-looking chicken. Good times.

Private Eyes s2 ep 4

Fashion Week in real-life Paris coincides with Fashion Week in tv Toronto as Private Eyes (now renewed for a third season, hurrah!) hits the haute couture trail. We all know the money shot of Angie modelling a fabulous frock and fashion-forward hair while Shade looks impressed is the real point of the whole episode, but the story it hangs its hat on to get us there zips along happily enough as Becca – Boo! Hiss! – recruits our heroes to deliver the debut collection of House Sonia Something-Or-Other (I may be paraphrasing), only for the van to be hijacked, and the detective games to begin.

Thanks to a spot of designer schmoozing, a unicorn dancing on a rainbow and an able assist from hilarious new friend and certainly-not-what-you-think-he-is-how-very-dare-you Zangrilli, the day is, of course, saved with only seconds to spare, but plenty of goodwill to go around. Zoe keeps the peace despite the re-model skirmishes. Becca eventually gets over herself for five minutes because if you hang around Shangie long enough, “fashion pedestrians” or not, the niceness is contagious. And if I’m not quite as interested in Jules’s love life as the show seems to be, Jason Priestley’s range of perplexed, adorable dad faces more than makes up for it. Sigh. I love Shade almost as much as Angie does. Although I can admit it, girlfriend.

Private Eyes s2 ep 3

Hello and thanks, first of all, to Gare Joyce, author of the Brad Shade Mysteries – without which there would be no Private Eyes – who made our LIVES a few days ago by telling us he likes our reviews on Twitter. To say this caused a degree of excitement and hyper-ventilation at Unpopcult HQ is something of an understatement but, before we squeal ourselves into orbit, let’s head back down to earth for this week’s review.

After all my chat last week about Zoe being the New Jules, this week the Old Jules reappears, as if determined to prove me wrong, and the action shifts to her school, of all places. She has been around a lot less than she was in season one, though – as Jed said, probably due to school or college – so perhaps she and Zo are job-sharing. Anyway, while New Jules spends the week at the office, with a Chucklevision style sub-plot rendered charming by Ennis Esmer’s Maz, Shade and Angie are called in to Posh High Academy (possibly not its correct name) to investigate and hopefully quash the allegation that Old Jules’s favourite teacher has, er, a particular favourite student, before it turns into a giant nightmare scandal and ruins the woman’s life.

Shade, running point and deciding he’s too famous to pretend to be anyone else, delights both himself and everyone but his partner by sending her in as a lycra-clad substitute teacher to field awkward questions about sex ed from some very excited teenagers – oh GOD – while he pretends he’s turned his hand to a new career in motivational speaking. Old Jules, getting more than a tad excited herself, seizes the opportunity to ask Miss Everett some awkward questions too. And, despite a curiously defeatist attitude from the principal who called on our heroes in the first place, everyone has a whale of a time with one-liners and secret societies, before solving the mystery in the usual amusing, good-natured fashion. Although this time the story ends with a little too much good nature for me to be honest; I know it’s Private Eyes so nobody was going to set up stocks and rotten fruit in the school playing fields, but dudes. I’d have expelled those kids’ asses without even blinking.