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The Final Season of '19-2' on Acorn
September 22, 2017  | By David Hinckley

Hundreds of cop series over the years have reached for that intangible extra dimension, and a small handful have found it: Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, The Wire.

The Canadian import 19-2 belongs in this group, and that’s confirmed again in the eight-episode final season that becomes available Friday on the streaming service Acorn.

19-2 has the trappings of a standard police procedural. It revolves around the partner team of Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso, top) and Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes, top) who catch a wide variety of cases out of Poste 19 in Montreal.

At least an equal measure of the drama comes within the precinct, where we find a group of flawed, sometimes unlikeable, but solidly human fellow officers.

To fully appreciate 19-2, a viewer should watch the three previous seasons. But it’s not hard to pick up the show with the new one.

The major carryover thread involves the murder of Barron’s sister, which has a huge emotional impact on Chartier as well. Her story was woven throughout last season, and she died at the end.  

These guys are already given to a bit of silent brooding, particularly Chartier, so it’s clear that we don’t know everything they’re thinking as the new season starts.

They don’t have a lot of time for reflection, though, because while Barron is on foot patrol – a new add-on for officers – he sees a restaurant blow up.

In another intense scene from a show that seems to specialize in such things, we see the appalling chaos and carnage. This being 2017 and all, we also see the police immediately fear terrorism.

Chartier and his partner du jour, Audrey Pouliot (Laurence Leboeuf), who has a history of troubling outbursts, spot a car that matches the description of a vehicle seen leaving the bomb scene.

They begin hot pursuit, with Pouliot driving and Chartier screaming at her to go faster, when a pedestrian happens to be crossing the street at the wrong time.

Suddenly we have a whole new drama, complicated by an impulsive decision by Chartier on what to tell investigators.

While 19-2 moves along rapidly, it doesn’t shortchange dramas and scenes like this one. We spend considerable time with both Chartier and Pouliot in the aftermath, watching how this tragedy affects them and how they begin to deal with it.

It’s those kinds of details that elevate 19-2 above most other cop shows. We see people we like, people with problems, confronting even larger problems that require them to either step up or crumble.

Some of the characters don’t make it or are so badly damaged in the process that we aren’t sure we want to know where they will go from here.

But others find ways to survive, which to various degrees and in various circumstances is what most of us do, and that’s probably the key to why 19-2 feels so engaging. So much of the time, just making it through to the next day is a win.

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