Everything about 19-2, eh?

No “Tomorrow”: 19-2 clocks out for the last time

I just didn’t want any of my favourite characters to get killed. Yes, that was the low bar I’d set for myself heading into Monday’s series finale of 19-2. As long as Ben, Nick, Bear, Audrey and the rest closed out the show intact I would be happy.

But would “Tomorrow,” written by Bruce M. Smith and directed by Louis Choquette, come through? With an episode synopsis teasing, “The squad works a full moon shift. Suarez and Beatrice get unexpected news. Ben’s brother brings him a gift from home and the squad races to prevent a tragedy,” I wasn’t sure. The full moon brings out the crazy and the weird and the word “tragedy” resulted in heart palpitations, especially with so much drama in last week’s instalment. Was Ben finally free of the mob? Did Nick make a mistake having Farah’s ex-husband arrested? And just who was that mysterious grave dug for?

“Tomorrow” began innocently enough, with 19 attempting to stop the driver of a stolen snowplough from wreaking havoc in the city. The guy finally stopped—after running out of gas—and we were given a treat a long time coming: Audrey and Tyler were teamed for the very first time. We also found out why they’re paired up: Dulac wanted to ride solo. Suarez’s arrival on the scene meant confirmation nothing bad is going into Ben’s file and that Ben had a summons to appear in court regarding the arrest of Farah’s ex.

Then, with one phone call, emotions were high: Ben’s brother, Mark, wanted to meet up with some their father’s items. But before the siblings could suss out the details, 19-2 pulled over a truck packed with metal storage drums. One was leaking, which led to the most Canadian of storylines: stolen maple syrup. 19-2 is not known for its comedic moments, so Nick slipping in syrup and landing on his ass was a scream. One final shot of the liquid oozing into the street—on a sub-zero night, no less—had me concerned that storyline wasn’t headed for a fun conclusion. Suarez spinning his car in it furthered my fear and I yelled at all three to get the hell off the road. Luckily, the storyline never went further than that.

Meanwhile, Bear had her hands full when a young woman, her baby and her father showed up at 19. Dad wanted to file a restraining order against his son-in-law, but his daughter chalked it up to a misunderstanding. 19-2 has dealt with spousal abuse before and I suspected this case would get ugly fast. The woman, Joanie, didn’t want to make a statement, and the trio left. One dropped 911 call later and Audrey and Tyler were plunged into a horrific situation: Joanie’s dead father surrounded by blood splatters up the wall and all over the room. (I visibly cringed when Tyler went down the hall to search other rooms and breathed out in relief when no one else was there.) It was all-hands-on-deck to find Karl Lucas—assumed to be the perp—before he could find his wife and baby.

As for Dulac, Suarez’s damaged car meant they teamed up for the night. There was a frank discussion, and Dulac revealed he was stuck in 19 because his family isn’t filled with quitters. Dulac is a fascinating character. At first, I figured he’d be the comic relief but he’s turned into a deeply conflicted guy who just doesn’t fit in with the rest of his squad.

Dulac and Suarez thought they had captured Karl, but it wasn’t him. Instead, Karl arrived at Joanie’s house while Nick and Ben were there. 19-2 had their guard down—Suarez and Dulac thought they had him in custody—and things went from bad to awful. No, no, NO, I said out loud as the thumping music began and Karl entered the home. Thankfully, Suarez realized his mistake and Ben alerted Nick as Karl lunged forward, swinging a hammer; the duo subdued Karl without injury (Karl wasn’t so lucky.) It was emotional enough to have Ben cradling Joanie’s baby in his arms; having Amelie there, telling him it was “a good day,” and it suddenly got very dusty in my basement. (Darn allergies!) That was good news. Even better news? Bear’s assignment came in: she was 19’s new sergeant.

When Ben and Mark did connect, Ben was in for a surprise: a dead deer their father shot but couldn’t keep because he’s not supposed to have access to firearms. There was a bit of symbolism in this: Ben has been referred to as “Bambi,” by Nick since their first day together and Ben has had visions of the innocent animal dancing in and out of his life during the last four seasons. Was the dead deer a symbol of Ben’s innocence dying? It sure felt like that’s what Smith was telling us. The butchered deer gave Audrey and idea … and she was off.

Nick saw his personal life rebound from two weeks ago. After heading to the waiting room while Ben was in court, Nick ran into Farah’s son, Antoine, and learned his father had stolen $800 from him. The pair bonded over fathers with criminal pasts and candy, leaving the door open for a possible reconciliation with Farah.

Some of the most memorable and enjoyable scenes in 19-2 are when the squad gets together to celebrate, so I was thrilled to see the key characters reunite for a tourtiere feast at Ben’s place. We were introduced to Tyler’s gal pal—the dispatcher he’s been speaking all sultry to all season—and Liam swung by too. We were also shown those left out of the party; the living in Dulac and Gendron and the dead in J.M., J.P., Amelie, Kaz, Houle and the high school gunman. So many ghosts haunting 19.

“Nick,” Ben yelled to his partner in the show’s closing moments. “It was a good day.” Nick nodded, smiled, and left to meet Farah.

Who have been your favourite 19-2 characters? Which storylines have you enjoyed the most? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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19-2: Memories and moving forward

With just one more episode of 19-2 left to air, I’m at a crossroads. I want to know how the series ends, but I’m not ready to say goodbye to the series. I’m thrilled and appreciative that showrunner Bruce M. Smith was given a fourth season to conclude the series but I really, really wanted more. With the series finale coming next Monday, Smith et. al had a lot to wrap up.

Would “Wake,” written by Nikolijne Troubetzkoy and directed by Louis Choquette, see Ben manage to get out from under the mob? When we last left his apartment, Martine had been grabbed by the man sent to kill Ben. Meanwhile, Nick was feeling the pain of meddling in Farah’s affairs and she had broken up with him. And Dulac appeared headed for some kind of breakdown after becoming addicted to oral sex via a prostitute.

Monday’s new episode began at Ben’s apartment, and from all of the cop cars and the ambulance, I was afraid Martine had been grievously injured. After all, last week’s final moments found her with a gun jammed in her mouth. Thankfully, Martine was just shaken. Ben, on the other hand, was pissed. The protection he was promised didn’t extend to his place and—apparently—thugs from Toronto were looking to muscle in. That meant putting Martine on a bus and her saying goodbye to Ben; for good if she had anything to say about it. “I don’t want to be here anymore,” she told Ben before climbing on a bus for Hamilton, Ont. “Bad shit happens.” Amen, girl, amen. The attempt on Ben’s life lead to an all-out response by 19; they targetted a bar frequented by a motorcycle gang and took everyone into custody.

I’ve written before about how I watch 19-2 with a terrible feeling in my stomach, wary a key character could die at any moment. So my guts were roiling when Ben and Nick accompanied a strung-out teacher back to the place he’d left all his clothes. Were they walking into a dangerous place with no backup? No, but Nick did receive a troubling phone call from his mother: she’d fallen and was hurt and scared. Turns out she’d broken her hip, but was suffering from malnutrition and abusing her medications. In short, she needed round-the-clock care and it was Nick’s responsibility to take care of it. A visit to his mother’s house revealed to Nick and Ben what she was going through: an empty fridge and freezer and a bedroom full of memories of Emelie. We also got a crash-course in the fractured relationship between mother and son. She doesn’t like his career choice and makes no apologies for her stance.

(The teacher, thankful Nick and Ben didn’t arrest him, asked the pair for help with one of his students. That brought the past back to the partners; they reported to the same high school where the massacre took place in Season 2. The bullet holes have been filled in, but the memories remain.)

Audrey, meanwhile, faced her past head-on when she requested to ride solo; the first time she’d done it since being violently assaulted. With flashbacks still fresh in her (and our) mind, Audrey came upon a group of people looking up: a woman was standing on the edge of a building. After attempting to talk the woman to safety, the pair tussled and for one horrifying moment, Audrey was in danger of falling. Then, as quickly as it started, it was over: the woman plunged off the roof and broke both her legs. She would survive, but the incident shook Audrey; J.M.’s ghost haunted her, explaining “the job fucks you up.” Will it do the same to Audrey? She was doing her best not to let it by calling Liam; talking to someone about her feelings is more important than bottling them up.

As for Dulac … well, things were getting serious for the rookie and Tammy, and not in a good way. Tammy’s ex-boyfriend had tracked her down and travelled from New Brunswick to Montreal to stalk her. Dulac ran to her aid off-hours and was promptly jumped by Tammy’s ex and beaten badly. I had an awful premonition recalling Emilie but that didn’t happen to Dulac. Instead, Tammy and her ex-boyfriend were collared and Dulac was admonished for dating a 17-year-old sex worker. Gendron was going to protect him … for a favour. Oh, how I’ve missed the sleazy side to Gendron.

After a long time away from 19-2, Maxim Roy returned as Isabelle, with a plan to help Ben shake his troubles for good. The plot? To arrest a mob guy with ties to several unions (including the police) while television cameras captured it all. It was a show of police force, but I couldn’t help but think the mob would consider it a middle finger and will come down on Ben even harder. Still, it does seem to have worked for now: the man who targetted Ben was found dead in the St. Lawrence.

The 19-2 series finale airs next Monday at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Comments and queries for the week of September 1

Love for 19-2‘s latest episode

It’s amazing how this episode was going. From the start, the funeral for J.M. was moving, as every cop in Canada including the RCMP attended. The procession which included the bagpipe version of “Amazing Grace,” as well as carrying the casket to the hearse and the movements to the hearse was tight. When the officer ordered everyone to salute, the arms snapped uniformly to the brim, and the service was reminiscent of a cop funeral.

As the show continued, Nick Barron and Ben Chartier, helped a homeless vet get into a shelter who was denied a bed because the shelter was run by a prison gang. The officers managed to be heroes of the community by kicking out the gang members. Alexander De Jordy (Richard Dulac), the Rook (Rookie), was your typical rookie who lost his head after a man insulted him, but it was Tyler Joseph (Benz Antoine) who came to his rescue. Joseph used his years of experience to get the Rook out of trouble … and a jacket.

This episode was spectacular, as the acting as well as the environment up in Québec gave the feeling of coldness, as snow covered the dingy streets. The snow gave the graveyard the emotion of emptiness as J.M. was going to get buried.

Born, raised and still living in Los Angeles, Ca., the city, Montreal, seemed rough. Though, comparing cities like Watts, Compton, East L.A. and other gang-ridden streets, the lack of graffiti is surprising. Google East L.A. graffiti, one can see the “rough” part of town, while Montreal seems cleaner. Googling Montreal graffiti may prove otherwise, the contrast between the white snow and dirtied buildings made this episode more believable. Even at night as the melted-snow-turned-puddle extols a loneliness that seems to haunt Chartier, a rural cop working in an urban setting.

Great episode. —Tim

This is uncharted territory, as the original French version of the show ended after three seasons, with a very different outcome. It’s interesting to see some more Francophone stars show up on the series (Patrick Labbé as the new guy threatening Ben) and the doctor who Audrey will undoubtedly see again (forget his name but he played a doctor on the series Trauma, I believe). I have no idea how this will end!! But man I’m glad J.M. is dead. —Sara

Well, I’m worried. Ben has a bullseye on his forehead and I don’t think it’s outside forces.

I’m suspecting that mob-former-cop (sorry, cannot recall his name) is working for Internal Affairs. Oh Ben, you just took his word that he was working for the mob? Did you see his car? Classic undercover cop car you see parked behind every cop shop … complete with missing hub cap plates to avoid them being stolen so cops won’t have to out themselves when cops are out on surveillance!

Did everybody catch how calm and change-of-personality the “Bad Cop” projected for a moment when he picked up the mobile phone to call in? He was very professional and his acting sense of menace was completely gone. For a second, he just looked like he was a guy calmly making a phone call. (It’s the little hints I love about this show the way it’s written and acted; you have to pay attention to catch them.)

And oh dear. Martine. I do fear she has gone over to the dark side. She might be in with the mob too since I doubted witness protection would last long with her. The way she blew off Chartier on his call to her seemed as though she couldn’t talk because she might have been with some bad guys.

Or … did Chartier’s letter to her delivered to the witness protection office cop/administrator give Internal Affairs the idea of using Martine to try to get a confession from Ben, since they are such good buddies? Ben helped her for sure, but I think she still blames him for her uncle, so might be playing Ben.

And I think Nick is also in the poo with his new romantic interest. I think before the season is out her former hubby is going to take out his son’s death on Nick by trying to do something to Nick’s son at college. I think “Junior” is going to be a major problem for Nick.

Just cannot figure out why of WHY Ben ran his mouth to bad-cop-possibly-IA guy about disposing of the drugs. What a moron! (Is Ben so naive that if this IS a gang representative they’ll just say “OK then. Never mind?”)

And oh no. The minute one of our fave coppers starts showing everybody his bucket list, he’s a goner for sure. Please don’t let Tyler be killed. Please. Not before he meets the dispatcher whose voice he’s in love with!

I think Dulac is going to be the death of Tyler. The little idiot. —Fiona

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

 

 

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19-2: Burying cops and bad memories

To say last week’s episode of 19-2 was shocking would be an understatement. I think we all knew, as loyal viewers, that J.M. was headed for a bad end, but I never imagined it would be in a hail of gunfire at the station, defending his fellow cops. That climactic finale capped off one hell of an instalment that had begun with the squad letting off steam at a rented cottage.

Appropriately, Monday’s newest episode, “Flowers,” dealt largely with the aftermath of the events at the station with a funeral for J.M. 19-2 will always rank among my favourite television shows not just because of the dialogue and action, but the quiet moments. Bruce M. Smith’s spare script and Louis Choquette’s direction was stellar in Monday’s opening moments as Ben prepped in his dress blues, the ghost of J.M. standing, reflected, in the mirror. Usually, when Ben sees something ghostly he turns away and it disappears; in the case of J.M. the dead cop was still there, a spectre over Ben’s shoulder. It was an incredible piece of drama and symbolism.

It was good to see Suarez attending the funeral, back on his feet and recovering from being shot, as well as J.M.’s wife, Justine. It’s been awhile since viewers have seen her and Justine looked healthy; kudos to Nick for sitting with her, lending support and holding her hand. Bear’s speech was heartbreaking and heartfelt, presenting J.M.—at that moment—as a hero who saved lives by engaging a suspect armed with an assault rifle with a mere handgun. The camera panned to Ben and Nick, two men who spurned J.M. and shut him out. Were they feeling guilty for the way they’d treated him in the days before J.M.’s death? And who would Audrey turn to now that the one person she could relate to was no longer there? (The music and camera work during the moving of the casket was spectacular.)

The moments of quiet reflection on 19-2 are always brief. The funeral over, Ben was approached by an ex-cop who shook his hand and then wondered where the items were that Ben stole. He was, of course, referring to the drugs and guns Ben secreted out of the car of the dealer he was doing surveillance on. The drugs and guns he dropped off a bridge into the river. (Reeling from that information, Audrey poured more pressure on Ben, demanding he recognize J.M.’s heroics.) Ben then told Nick he was reporting the incident to Internal Affairs and planned to inform them he’d stolen from the dealer and very likely gotten the man killed. I understand Ben wanting to get it all out in the open but—paired with him saying he ran down the student—it was going to be bad news. Would Ben choose justice or the truth?

The meeting with Internal did not go well. The suits weren’t interested in the threat against Ben but whether or not he did steal the items and why his partner left him that night. In fact, because Ben had killed a boy (he hadn’t) and of Nick’s history with Internal, the detectives didn’t want to work with Ben at all. Their advice? Take a year off patrol, work a desk, and get the stink off. Speaking of stink, Ben and Nick’s next call—trespassing—uncovered illicit goings-on at a homeless shelter being used for gambling, drinking and drugs. Gendron, smelling the opportunity to get even more support of the city behind them following J.M.’s death, ordered a public display of ousting the biker gang who’d taken up residence inside and ensuring the homeless had beds.

Dulac, who had been surprisingly quiet for most of the episode because he was internalizing everything, vented his frustrations on a mouthy ex-con who was trying to get into the shelter. The man shoved Dulac, who retaliated and broke the man’s leg; not good for public perception. Luckily, one idle threat from Tyler later and things had been smoothed over, but Dulac is acting out in a dangerous way that may jeopardize his career. That said, Dulac’s actions did have a positive outcome for Audrey. Delivering the man to the hospital personally meant she met a hunky doctor named Liam. Soooo … are things looking up for Audrey?

Nick appeared to be headed for some romance as well. He met up with Farah and a long walk ensued where the pair discussed kids, life and careers. Yes, it’s an unorthodox pairing, but both deserve happiness and it looks like they’re finding it in each other.

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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19-2: The squad loses one of its own

The advantage of being a television critic are many. Invites to cool events, the chance to interview folks about their latest projects and seeing episode images and screeners in advance. The disadvantage? In the case of Monday’s new episode of 19-2, seeing images minutes before watching the screener.

The result? I thought I had a pretty good idea of how J.M.’s storyline was going to end up. One image offered for me to use in my review showed Sgt. Suarez lying on the floor next to J.M. His eyes were open, so I wasn’t sure if he was conscious or not. I hoped he was because, as bad as that was, J.M. could still come back from it.  That image, and the one of J.M. looking down, shattered, was in sharp contrast to the others, with members of 19 at a cottage, shucking corn, barbecuing and consuming cold beer.

But I was totally wrong about J.M.

Monday’s “Labour Day,” written by Lynne Kamm, began with Ben haunted—literally—by the ghosts of the men dying amid the mob war in Montreal. After getting up to close his opened front door, Ben returned to see the body of the drug dealer in his seat, plastic bag fastened over his head. Ben didn’t even flinch … he just walked over to the chair and sat down again.

J.M. wasn’t flinching either, at least not on the outside. He walked the gamut of hospital staffers on the way to leaving, thanking them for the sponge baths—and in some cases smirking “You’re welcome!”—before walking out on to the street into the rain. Alone.

After mentioning Montreal’s traffic in last week’s review, it played into a dramatic setting when Audrey and Roxanne came free of bottlenecked construction-affected traffic to find an unmarked car had pulled over a vehicle. Problem was, unmarked cars aren’t used for officers. Audrey and Roxanne knew something was wrong. It was a guy impersonating a cop and brandishing a pellet gun. According to Rozanne, more than one had been collared in the last couple of years … and had been released after being given fines. If you can’t trust the police, who can you trust? It’s a recurring theme this season on 19-2.

The squad converged at Suarez’s rental cottage (all but J.M., that was), ready to let off some steam and relax for two days. It was so good to see the team out of uniform, laughing, Tyler taking over the kitchen and ordering everyone around, the sun dappling on the lake and the tension of their jobs left behind in the strangling city. We also learned, over some serious corn-shucking, that Bear and Roxanne’s date was a success until Bear chickened out at the end of it. Her plan? To unleash the dragon (tattoo) during the weekend. Ben’s trip to the store to get some fresh buns landed him a straddling from Audrey on the way, breaking the tension within them for at least a few hours.

Kamm’s script included a stunning scene couple of scenes involving Dulac. The first between Ben and Dulac had the former defending Tyler and his loyalty when the latter disparaged him as “a fuckup waiting to happen.” (I audibly cheered when Tyler opted to pour, rather than consume, the booze he was doling out.) Then, minutes later, Dulac and Suarez recalled their childhoods, with Suarez explaining how his father had hoped he’d become an engineer, but marks meant a police career. Dulac confided his father’s expectation was his son would be a cop.

“Then you haven’t disappointed him,” Suarez said.

“Not yet,” was Dulac’s reply. Those two words had so much meaning. Did Dulac’s reply mean he would inevitably disappoint his father? Was he hinting being a cop wasn’t what he’d wanted to do with his life?

A raw—and overdue—discussion about J.M. followed, with Audrey tearing into the team for not visiting once during his three-week stay.

“He tried to kill himself, and he’s going to try again,” she advised. “What the hell is wrong with you people?! You’re a bunch of cowards. I hope no one visits you.” She had a point, but I understood everyone else’s stance too. J.M. had been such a thorn in their sides over the years it was easier to cut him off than deal with him. As Ben said, he and Nick had pulled J.M. off his wife; if they hadn’t he’d have killed her.

Then it was back to work. J.M. returned to 19—gluten cookies in hand—to make friends. Ben told him no one wanted him there; Audrey told him that wasn’t true. But instead of J.M. turning his gun on Suarez, it was the impersonator Audrey and Roxanne arrested that did, arriving at 19 in his fake uniform. He opened fire inside, shooting Suarez and the more officers. J.M. stood up and took several shots at the man before he himself was gunned down. J.M. looked relieved as the bullets entered his body … this was his way out, decided by someone else. A hero. The perp killed himself before Tyler, Dulac, Ben and Nick could do it themselves.

J.M. was a remarkable character and congratulations to Dan Petronijevic for playing him in such a memorable way. He was alternately funny and frustrating, a fiercely loyal officer who believed in fairness for his fellow men and ladies in blue. He had his flaws, but I’m going to miss him as the rest of this final season rolls out.

What did you think of this week’s episode of 19-2? Were you glad J.M. was a hero in the end? Let me know in the comments below.

19-2 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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