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A lot of Questions to Pursue on WGN's 'Shoot the Messenger'
February 25, 2018  | By David Hinckley
 


Shoot The Messenger
suggests the news is often less fake than the people trying to manipulate or discredit it.

An eight-part series originally broadcast in Canada in late 2016, Shoot the Messenger (WGN America, 10:00 p.m. ET) follows a young newspaper reporter who finds herself enmeshed in a crime story that rich and powerful people will do almost anything to bury.

It doesn’t portray reporter Daisy Channing (Elyse Levesque, top) as noble and perfect. She screws things up. She’s neurotic. She’s been sleeping with a cop, Frank Lutz (Lyriq Bent, top), who becomes a key player in this story.

Her mistakes are honest, though, and when she lurches forward, it’s in search of the truth. The same cannot be said for most of the subjects involved in the case.

Set in Toronto, the story kicks into gear when Daisy gets a text message to meet a potential source with an unspecified hot tip late at night in a park.

She arrives just in time to see a bullet rip through the back of a man with whom her source is having an animated exchange.

Paralyzed with shock and fear, Daisy watches several other mysterious people on the scene jump into their cars and bolt. She recovers her journalistic instincts long enough to snap a picture of the body just before the police arrive.

Back at the office, editor Mary Fowler (Alex Kingston, above) tells Daisy that if she writes a heart-wrenching story about witnessing a murder, it will go on the front page.

Daisy’s never made the front page before. Her eyes grow wide. She writes the story and goes home floating on air.

By the time she wakes up the next morning, things have gone bad. Daisy is summoned to the office by a furious  Mary, who says there’s a problem and puts star reporter Simon Olendski (Lucas Bryant, left) on the story to fix it.  

Simon and Daisy have an awkward meeting with the victim’s family, who are members of the Somali community, and we start to get the first small hints that something bigger may be going on here.

We also start to get a bit of soap-style melodrama.

Daisy and her sister, Chloe (Hannah Anderson), take turns looking after their mentally deteriorating father. He sits in front of the TV set all day watching The Three Stooges, which may be the most depressing end-game scenario since Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Chloe is the chief aide to Sam Charles (Ari Cohen), Toronto’s attorney general. They are, uh, close, and you can see where the connections could get awkward.

Frank has a female partner, Edie Inksetter (Jordana Ortiz), who isn’t sure this Frank-and-Daisy thing is a good personal or professional idea for him.

In any case, both the cops and the paper keep asking questions, and eventually disturbing information starts to trickle down.

Shoot The Messenger doesn’t match the original productions WGN America used to turn out, like Manhattan and Underground. It’s a solid, decent crime mystery that does suggest who’s trying hardest to get it right these days in the news game. 

 
 
 
 
 
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