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Guy Pearce Stars as Private Eye in Acorn's 'Jack Irish'
May 29, 2016  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

If you’re ready for a short binge toward the end of the holiday weekend, you could do a lot worse than the Australian series Jack Irish, which has been brought to these shores by Acorn TV.

You may not be the first on your block, since Acorn launched the series stateside on May 2. But the final episode of the six-part season doesn’t become available until Monday, so that’s the first point at which one can watch all six.

Not that you’d want to watch just because it’s convenient.

No, the two main reasons are Guy Pearce, who plays title character Jack Irish, and Marta Dusseldorp (below), who plays his frustrated would-be girlfriend Linda Hillier.

Pearce has the disheveled look of a private eye who still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, at least in his own life.

He cares deeply for Linda, but can’t quite get himself to pull the trigger and commit.

She, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense Type A, a journalist who wants to fast track herself to the upper ranks and long ago ran low on patience with Jack’s neurotic hesitation.

The series is based on the crime novels of Peter Temple and follows three Jack Irish TV movies.

Pearce plays Jack very easily by this point, while it could be said with little fear of contradiction that no TV series can be made in Australia without the omnipresent Dusseldorp.

That’s not a complaint. She’s terrific in all of them.

This series begins with Linda leaving for Manila, where she hopes to make a major splash by tracking down a terrorist who’s from Australia. When she arrives, however, she finds the “Manila bureau” where she is supposed to work is more like an ill-equipped outpost for writers who really don’t want to write anymore.

Her new boss tells her the only way she’s likely to get her name into the paper back in Australia is “if you’re lucky enough to get yourself killed. They love murders.”

Meanwhile, Jack gets hired to track down the ne’er-do-well brother of a local businessman. Only almost everything and everyone in the story he’s been given turn out to be quite different, and often dangerous.

It sounds like a tale built around lethal angry people and terrorists, and it is, except that the TV series, like the Temple books, is leavened with droll humor from a stream of quirky characters.

Jack’s shady drinking buddies Wilbur (John Flaus), Norm (Ronald Falk) and Eric (Terry Norris) toss one-liners around and also come up with crazy schemes that somehow manage to entangle Jack as well.

He’s further entangled by Sarah Longmore (Claudia Karvan, above), a sculptress who helps him out of a tight situation. Needless to say, she will eventually complicate matters with Linda.

Jack Irish shares a little DNA with past TV private eyes like Colombo, but his full neurotic profile is fully his own. Pearce and Dusseldorp make these six episodes flow fast and smooth.

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Jack Irish has 3 previous movies, as you noted. For those without Acorn, they are worth tracking down. They actually are somewhat chronological, if you do find them.
A different take on a "hero"-- really enjoyable!
May 30, 2016   |  Reply
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