Galway’s Private Investigator & Instigator
Practically hewn from the jagged coastal stone of Ireland itself, ex-member of the Garda Siochana Jack Taylor maneuvers through the city of Galway’s backdoors as a professional “finder”; a finder of things, people, and the truth, however twisted the path to get there. The Irish television series is based on Ken Bruen’s novel series by the same name and premiered in 2010. It features Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) as its surly and weathered lead. The show bears the well-used marks of hardboiled private-eye fiction. There are skeletons in his closet and weighty demons on his shoulders. His remaining family is estranged, he doesn’t care for pleasantry or formality, and he gives any noncompliant thug a good shake down for information. When he doesn’t have a drink in hand at his favorite thinking spot (the pub, in case you hadn’t already guessed), he takes on requests and cases of hopeless or unsatisfied people who need the resolution not given to them by the police.
Speaking of the police, they think he’s an exceptional pain in the arse. However, he has garnered the friendship of fiery and uptight Garda Kate Noonan, an ambitious officer who must often choose between helping her friend and keeping her career on the straight and narrow. Though she’s his informer and track-coverer (and often teases the idea of being a romantic interest), she’s not his Watson. That role comes in the form of Cody Farraher, a puppy-like fan-turned-sidekick that gives the show its streak of naïve comedy and optimism in a world of rainy cobblestoned streets and grotesque murders. But don’t worry, his fascination for Taylor and his work don’t detract from his wits. Between the three of them, there’s plenty brains and brawn to narrowly escape some darkly compromising situations including a murderous group of vigilantes, a psychopath professor picking off students, drug rings, and various attempts on their lives by nervous criminals.
What’s peculiar to Jack Taylor is that he fears but knows that he has to face reality, and the show makers don’t romanticize it; life is what it is – deal with it and keep going. Throughout the episodes, Jack Taylor monologues the conclusions to which his turbulent life has brought him, slicing open a private piece of Taylor and bringing light to his elusive disposition. Despite his inability to uphold a relationship, he connects with the down-and-out because he is often there, but doesn’t use it as an excuse for his rough habits. He doesn’t pretend that he’s particularly good at anything, and he still wears his old Garda coat, reminiscent of his days of badged truth-seeking. Now, he must remember them with a bitter taste in his mouth (but not without teasing the Garda, who wants his coat back). Despite all that is wrong in the world, he looks to what is good, in his silent and burly Irishman kind of way.
The first season is available on Netflix and each is an hour and a half long. Two seasons are available on Acorn TV.
Why It’s Worth the Binge: A refreshing take on old clichés; Jack’s honest perspective on life; a unique mother and son relationship; excellent acting, stories, and setting
You can catch the trailer here!
– Kelly Gatewood
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