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‘Jack Taylor’ is Another Winning Import for Acorn TV
March 27, 2017  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

Iain Glen (top) may have had some trouble winning Lady Mary and Daenerys Targaryen, but he scores a big win as a restless Irish private eye on the Acorn-imported series Jack Taylor.

Like a number of other overseas shows brought here by the streaming service, Jack Taylor is more like a group of related movies – three, in this case, each around two hours long.

It’s the third Jack Taylor series, and these new ones all become available for viewing Monday.

Jack Taylor, as you might have guessed, is the lead character. He’s an ex-cop who has moved to the private sector in response to a sort of midlife crisis, and if he thought giving up his badge would lower the stress or tension in his professional life, he was wrong.

Amazing how many appalling crimes are committed in the relatively quiet West of Ireland.

Glen plays Taylor as guarded, reluctant to let too much of the outside world in. Taylor’s not close to his family, though he loves his now-adult son, and he doesn’t have a lot of pals back in the police department.

The exception is Kate Noonan (Siobhan O’Kelly, left), who is still on the force and calls on Jack for help from time-to-time.

Kate has issues of her own, and she runs smack into a serious new one in the first of these new episodes.

In response to the obvious question, yes, they both seem to be single and available, but no, they aren’t an item.

Kate knows Jack well enough to see the value in keeping some distance, which is why she isn’t at all happy when her cousin Darragh (Jack Monaghan), who lives with her, signs on as a kind of semi-official assistant to Jack.

Darragh isn’t stereotypical Irish cop material. He does Eastern exercises and quotes Confucius. His idea of knocking one back at the bar to celebrate the successful closure of a case is to crack open a bottle of carrot juice.

The first episode of this season, which like all Jack Taylor productions is adapted from the Ken Bruen crime fiction novels, is titled “Cross.”

That’s because it opens with a man being found crucified, with no evidence he is the son of God. Jack is tasked with uncovering who would carry out such a grim execution, and the answer is the one that’s bad for him and the characters and good for the viewer.

The perp is both clever and fanatic, not to mention elusive enough that the case may not have claimed its last victim.

The writing and production on Jack Taylor are crisp and enticing, but the main reason the show scores is the performance by Glen.

He has some of the calculated reserve he brought to Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey and some of the street smarts of Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones. He also conveys a sense of unease, as if he’s searching for something he lost. Or hasn’t found.

In between pensive moments, he finds room for crime-case humor, and there’s even the occasional brief flash of James Bond-ian elegance befitting an elder statesman of the crime detection game.

Acorn continues finding the good stuff.

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Great acting is not enough.
If this is the original series, he was a yet-again, rough, hard-drinking (ie alcoholic) anti-social guy in midlife grunge, resorting to fists a bit often.
It is an overused set-up, and tedious.
Kudos, if this is the next act, where he ditches the misanthrope and takes a shower.
That would be worth watching.
Mar 28, 2017   |  Reply
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