Super Channel’s quiet, effective Forgive Me returns

Amid Super Channel’s pirates of Black Sails, aliens of Falling Skies and spies of Homeland there is Forgive Me. Written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden), Forgive Me is quiet and spare. There’s no swashbuckling and no armed troops, but plenty to like.

Back for Season 2 on Sunday, Forgive Me stars Mike McLeod as The Priest, a young man who listens to the daily confessions of his Halifax congregation. The brain tumour that had been operated on hasn’t gone away (and may be causing angelic visions), but The Priest insists he go back to work, telling his doctor (Fitzgerald) perhaps it’s God’s way. After convincing fellow priests in the Prelate (John Dunsworth) and Father Gene (Jeremy Ackerman) he’s fine, The Priest heads back to confessional; and that’s where Forgive Me truly shines.

Rolling out like a two-person play, the camera is in the tight confines of the confessional as—lit by the muted light coming through plain stained glass—The Priest hears the confession of pedophile Johnny Smith-O’Leary (Hugh Thompson), who is considering suing the church because he was molested by a choir master there when he was young. There are funny moments amid the conversation. Johnny asks The Priest what circle of hell his group of sinners is confined to and learns Dante’s Inferno is a play, and not scripture.

“How the hell is that not in the Bible?” he wonders. “Do you have any idea how many hours of my life that I wasted finding out exactly what circle of hell I’m going to?!”

“Johnny,” The Priest counters. “I watched all seven seasons of Dawson’s Creek.”

“You win,” Johnny allows.

McLeod turns in a fine performance; he’s instantly likeable in the role, more coach and therapist than priest, as is Dunsworth, far removed from drunken Jim Lahey on Trailer Park Boys. Fitzgerald has attracted high-profile talent to appear, with Olympia Dukakis reprising her role as Novalea, The Priest’s grandmother and Season 2 guest stars in Wendy Crewson and Ed Asner.

If you’re looking for something a little different from your Canadian TV, give Forgive Me a look and let me know what you think of it.

Forgive Me airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Super Channel.