If you took Ireland’s favorite investigator, Jack Taylor, made him a few years younger and shipped him off to Australia, you would have Jack Irish, the title figure in this short, but entertaining TV show from down under. The Jack Irish TV series is based on a set of detective novels by Peter Temple. So far, there have been three movie-length episodes, though only the first two – “Bad Debts” and “Black Tide” – are currently available on Hulu.
Guy Pearce stars as Jack Irish. He is a down and out former lawyer turned debt collector and investigator. The traumatic event that ends his legal career – we see it early in the first episode – turns him into a hard drinking, world weary, but likable guy, not at all unlike the aforementioned Jack Taylor.
As with most detective series, there are some humorous touches: a dry witted sidekick, Cam, and the old geezers at a local pub, forever loyal to the local football team. When Jack needs to retreat, he helps out a lonely, local woodworker who dispenses philosophical advice. There is also the usual love interest and an inside connection at the police department.
As cliched as the Jack Irish series is, full of film noir touches and plot twists, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable TV show. Much of the credit goes to Guy Pearce; he’s accomplished enough to make the character seem genuine, even though there is nothing new or original about him. The three episode series was directed by Jeffrey Walker and written by Matt Cameron. The first two stories aired in fall 2012, but episode 3 did not appear until two years later.
The good news for Jack Irish fans is a new six-episode series with the same central cast is airing on Australian TV as of February 2016. Let’s hope that episode 3 of the first series and all of the new episodes show up on Hulu or another streaming TV service* in the near future. While the Jack Irish TV series may not equal some of the best Australian TV shows, it’s a worthwhile addition to the TV detective series genre.
*AcornTV also has most or all episodes of the Jack Irish TV series available.
Jack Irish TV Series Trailer