I’m a sucker for historical dramas. Need proof? My current list of favourites includes Hell on Wheels, Vikings, Murdoch Mysteries, Downton Abbey and the upcoming X Company. Now I’m adding The Pinkertons to my list. The syndicated shoot-em-up debuts Tuesday on CHCH, and it’s one heck of a good time.
Produced by the folks at Rosetta Media and Buffalo Gal Pictures (and with Murdoch Mysteries‘ Philip Bedard and Larry Lalonde, Remedy‘s Alison Lea Bingeman, Flashpoint‘s Christina Ray and Corner Gas‘ Rhonda Baker among producers), The Pinkertons is based on the real cases of the legendary law enforcement, detective and security agency founded in 1850. Hired by President Abraham Lincoln to be his security detail during the Civil War, the company was headed by Allan Pinkerton and based out of Chicago.
Tuesday’s two-hour debut quickly introduces viewers to founder Allan (Angus Macfadyen, Turn), his son William (Jacob Blair, Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds) and Kate Warne (Martha MacIsaac, 1600 Penn) as they team to solve the case of ex-Confederate outlaws who rob a train. Kate Warne, it turns out, really was the first female detective in the U.S., a point made early on and the source of sarcasm and laughs because William can’t handle the fact she’s better at sleuthing, disguises and infiltrating gangs than he is.
Shot in and around Winnipeg (the primary location is Grosse Isle, Man.), the first two instalments in the 22-episode season are light-hearted with the touches of drama that has made Murdoch so successful. Yes, the ex-Confederates are plotting to make a bomb, but you never feel like they’ll really get away with it. The costuming is lush, the old-timey sets suitably dusty and the three keys leads are charming, especially MacIsaac, who has canny comic timing and is able to set herself apart from her craggy co-stars.
It’s too early to be sure, but I’m pretty confident that, as time goes on, sexual tension will simmer between Kate and William. And while I’m not averse to that TV trope, I hope it’s kept on the back burner for now; to me the story is the thing and with a group like the Pinkertons, there are lots of stories to tell.
The Pinkertons airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CHCH.