King (2011)

King is a new Canadian procedural Police based series, only on the Canadian Showcase network, that is focussed on a female audience. The premise of the show is that a female Police Sergeant, Jessica King played by Amy Price Francis, on the verge of 40 and with a chequered career path (she outed the last Chief of Police to the press, supposedly when not realising she was on the record, as a “corrupt ass grabber” and has spent the last 18 months answering ‘phones as a punishment for same) is given a new assignment by the current Chief of Police to head the Major Crimes Task force (something odd in the way ranks are assigned in Canada perhaps but this would seem to me to be a job for someone of a far higher rank than Sergeant.) The role was held by another Sergeant who had a public meltdown when confronted by the press regarding the series first case, a child abduction and they are swapped back and forth in episode one with the Chief of Police making first one and then the other the leader of the squad before giving the role to King on a permanent basis at the end of episode one.

King is in a third, or is it fourth…hard to keep count, marriage and is seeking fertility treatment as her age and lifestyle, as well as the likelihood that she or her husband had an STD at some stage in their lives, make pregnancy difficult to achieve. It isn’t exactly my favourite choice of major, and recurring apparently, storyline but it is intended to grab the attention of a female audience. Perhaps any female readers of this review might care to enlighten me as to the probability that such a storyline will appeal to such an audience?

There is an attempt to have comedy as part of the make up of the show…the ladies toilets are not working so King uses the Gents thus having a chat with a hapless male PC while standing watching him use a urinal, an activity he is fast to conclude but which she appeared to find a normal, everyday, occurrence…wouldn’t she be risking a complaint of sexual harassment? As comedy goes it is seedy lavatorial humour and it isn’t even funny.

The intent of the series is to show King as insightful and lateral thinking but that hasn’t come off too well, at least in the first episode…the police investigation side of things was somewhat dull, pedestrian even, and offered nothing the average viewer of police procedural series won’t have seen countless times over. The crimes under investigation need to improve massively in their complexity and interest to the viewing public if this series is to survive. Other than the personal life of King this is a very yawn inducing show and even that is so slanted towards an attempt to appeal to a female audience that I feel it will leave male viewers dashing either for the remote control or some reason to be out of the room when it is on.

The only other characters of much note are the Chief of Police, the husband and the other Sergeant on her squad and of the three only the Sergeant is a role that’s fleshed out enough to be worth mention. Sergeant Derek Spears (Alan van Sprang) is portrayed as very fallible, so much so that one wonders how he is still employed, but fundamentally honest and decent…oh…and he has a crush on King.

The director of the first two episodes has suggested that we should compare their lead character to that of Michael Chiklis’s Vic Mackey in The Shield (he directed the pilot episode of that series)…he had better hope we don’t!

Judging only by the pilot episode is a bit risky but I don’t feel that this series will do well unless it improves vastly and in almost every area…but then being male I’m not the target demographic for it and if the network has things right it will attract a huge female following…we shall see!

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