When Montréal cops move to the Ontario countryside

I’ve never written much about my impressions of television shows or movies, largely because I don’t usually watch many of them. I used to see one movie a year in a theater, just to say I’d seen one, but I think I didn’t see any in 2019 and last year was a wash for obvious reasons.

I have been watching a bit more television lately, though, because you can’t play World of Warcraft every day (though I’ve certainly tried). Shows I’ve enjoyed during the pandemic have included The Mandalorian, Ted Lasso, For All Mankind, and a show my daughter tried to get me to watch for two years, Letterkenny. I feel bad for not listening to Erin on that one; Letterkenny is hilarious (though not family-friendly in case someone with younger kids is looking for something to watch with them). I’ve watched all nine seasons, six or seven episodes in each, at least twice now, and can’t wait for seasons 10 and 11 to drop late this year.

Letterkenny’s creator, Jared Keeso, was one of the leads in a police procedural set in Montréal, 19-2, which aired from 2014 to 2017 on Canada’s Bravo network and then on CTV. Keeso and Adrian Holmes play two street cops who get stuck with each other – not an unusual setup for a cop show, but this mismatch isn’t played for laughs. In fact, each episode gives you more reasons not to like nearly all of the characters, including Keeso’s Ben Chartier. It’s surprisingly deep and I’m enjoying it.

Interestingly, the English-language version of 19-2 is based on a French-Canadian series with the same name that aired from 2011 to 2015 on Télévision de Radio-Canada and was created by Réal Bossé. The first two seasons of the English version use the same scripts and characters, just translated, while the third season goes off in its own direction. Only one actor appears as the same character in both versions: Benz Antoine, who plays Tyler Joseph. Another regular in the French version, Catherine Bérubé, played a recurring paramedic character in the English series.

Because of Keeso’s connection to 19-2, a number of actors from that show have appeared on Letterkenny, often in roles very different from the ones in the police show. Adrian Holmes, who played Keeso’s partner Nick Barron on 19-2, played the “cousin’t” of Letterkenny’s bar owner Gail in a couple of episodes; Tyler Hynes, who played a rookie cop on 19-2 played Dierks, a rather slimy womanizer on Letterkenny; Alexander De Jordy was in season 3 of 19-2 and was a major character in the first two seasons of Letterkenny before moving on. And Dan Petronijevic, whose Jean-Marc Brouillard was a womanizing cheater and spouse abuser on 19-2, plays McMurray, a womanizer in an open marriage and the inability to keep quiet about it on Letterkenny. Well, maybe his character isn’t so different, except for the abuse.

The English version of 19-2 is available on Acorn TV. (J’essaie de voir la version française sur un service de streaming mais je n’ai pas trouvé de moyen de le faire. Il serait intéressant de regarder les épisodes de retour en anglais, puis en français.)