In Canada: Mondays, 10pm ET/PT, Showcase
"If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived." - Sherlock Holmes describing Mycroft Holmes in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
It seems that no matter where you go in North America, more and more cable channels (and even Netflix) are reckoning that the key to getting good ratings and making money is to actually make TV programmes rather than simply air re-runs. HBO, Showtime, AMC, Starz: they're all at it.
Canada's no different and with CBC currently suffering budget cuts everywhere (and churning out crud like InSecurity instead of The Border ), we have to look to lovely subscription TV to find bolder attempts at quality TV.
Showcase, which has been having a brave stab at quality (with varying degrees of success) with the likes Lost Girl, Blackstone, Moderation Town, Cra$h & Burn and Haven, has now waded into the problematic world of detectives. I say problematic because there have been so many detective shows already. As a result, detectives in TV shows need to have quirks to stand out from all the others - that's the law. Everyone knows that.
So we've had fat detectives, thin detectives, gourmet sandwich-eating detectives, 80s-TV obsessed detectives, detectives with OCD, working class detectives, upper class detectives, detectives that live on house boats with their robots (Riptide, in case you couldn't place it), detective brothers and more. But generally they've all had one thing in common: they actually want to solve crimes. Okay, maybe not Jonathan Creek, but everyone else, largely yes.
So let's add to this mix a very unique detective: Arkady Balagan, a Russian chess grandmaster with agoraphobia. He can't leave his hotel so wanders around in his pyjamas and dressing gown all day. He's also a bit of an a-hole - is that why the KGB have been trying to kill him? But because he needs to pay his hotel bills, he starts solving crimes to claim the reward money rather than because of any sense of altruism.
And he turns out to be quite good at it.
Cue the trailers, one with a particularly funky bit of music, one with a bit more explanation.