PRIVATE EYES – Season 1 Episode 1 – SPOILERS
Angie Everett (Cindy Sampson) took over her father’s detective agency when he was killed in a car crash. Angie is acrophobic, loves her work, and seems to suspect that the car accident that killed her dad was not an accident. Her father was a cop before he was a detective, and his uniform is in a glass case on the wall of Angie’s office/home.
In the course of an investigation, she meets ex-pro hockey player Matt Shade (Jason Priestley). Shade, whose phobias have yet to be revealed, has a very intelligent, legally blind teenage daughter Jules (Jordyn Negri), and a somewhat philosophical father (Barry Flatman). Shade planned to take a job as a hockey scout but soon after meeting Angie Everett, he decides to stay in Toronto (where his daughter is going to school), and change careers.
The dialogue is sharp and the show is fast paced. Angie is charming and witty. (Sampson seems very relaxed and natural in the role, and brings a great deal of warmth and energy to the show.) Matt is comfortable with being a famous ex-hockey player and uses his fame to aid in the investigation, a tactic that will only work until people realize that he has switched careers. He always looks like he needs a shave. Priestley’s character is less hard-boiled than one might expect him to be.
PRIVATE EYES is unmistakably set in Toronto. Priestley told The Televixen: “The series of books that the show is based on [The Brad Shade novels by Gare Joyce] are set here in Toronto so we knew we were going to shoot the show here. We made the decision early on to not base the show anywhere else and shoot Toronto for Toronto. Toronto is a beautiful, international, multicultural city…A lot of other shows come here and try to masquerade this city as other cities but we thought it was a great opportunity to show this city off and not have to try to pretend that it’s somewhere else. And not have to shoot around the CN tower because it’s big.”
The series was created by Shelley Eriksen (who wrote 8 episodes of CONTINUUM) and Alan McCullough (who wrote the LOST GIRL Season 2 finale). Eriksen wrote the pilot, the finale, and episode seven. In the course of the ten episode first season, Everett and Shade will pursue cases involving (among other things): the hip hop scene, magic clubs, fine dining, and horse racing. Priestley was injured when thrown from a horse during filming of one episode (probably the horse racing one) in Mississauga. He seems all right now.
The theme music is the 1981 Hall and Oates song Private Eyes, covered by Vancouver based electronic duo Dear Rouge (Drew and Danielle McTaggart). Danielle is originally from Red Deer, Alberta, hence the group’s name.
Episode Three, titled ‘The Money Shot’ is directed by Anne Wheeler, who directed BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, and BYE BYE BLUES. Tassie Cameron, one of the creators of ROOKIE BLUE, wrote Episode Five, the title of which is ‘The Six’. (The first mention of PRIVATE EYES was a June 2015 tweet from Shelley Eriksen that read: “Wrote a pilot, Shaw ordered to series, Jason Priestley starring, and I’ve got the best consultant, Tassie Cameron, to help with the kickass.”)
Ennis Esmer is Detective Kurtis Mazhari in seven episodes. Clé Bennett is Detective Derek Nolan in six episodes. Both of them appeared on LOST GIRL. (Bennett was the original Ash, and Esmer was a lawyer in Judgement Fae.) In the first episode, Natalie Lisinska, who was Aynsley Norris in Season One of Orphan Black turns up as Jamie Linfoot, and Allana Harkin (Coach in LOST GIRL episode 2.16) is Linda Sinclair.
Jordan Negri (Jules) is Beth in the science fiction film DARWIN, which stars Molly Parker and is about a future in which people interact with one another entirely through electronic devices. DARWIN was filmed in Sudbury, Ontario, and has a 15 June release date. A trailer is available on YouTube.
Ennis Esmer (Kurtis) will be Brian in John Madden’s political thriller MISS SLOANE, about ruthless Washington lobbyists and the way they deal with the issue of gun control in the US. Production began in Toronto last February, and the film is due for release sometime in 2017. Esmer will also be Bobby Ferguson in the TV drama SHOOT THE MESSENGER, which will premiere this summer on CBC.