Given that Irish jackCreated by Andrew Anastasios, Matt Cameron and Andrew Knight based on the novels by Peter Temple, it has been set over three films and two previous seasons, the final season of the Australian drama feels like being amongst old friends. And that will feel that way even if you’ve never seen the show before. Guy Pearce plays the title character, a former lawyer who is traumatized by his wife’s murder and decides to become a private investigator, becoming involved in cases that expose Melbourne’s most sordid criminal elements.
IRISH JACK SEASON 3: STREAM OR SKIP IT?
Opening shot: A man gets out of jail. His girlfriend is waiting for him, but so is a man in an informal-looking suit. When he opens the trunk of his girlfriend’s car, he sees a gun in a gym bag.
The essence: The guy who just jumped sees the gun and realizes he has work to do. He walks up to a guy ordering hamburgers at a drive-thru and shoots him in the head. Detective Barry Tregear (Shane Jacobson) is called to the scene to investigate, and he has a sinking feeling when he realizes that the victim is not just a former cop, but one he used to work with years ago.
Jack Irish (Guy Pearce) meets his friend Cam Delray (Aaron Pedersen) on a horse ranch while Cam’s boss Harry Strang (Roy Billing) looks at a horse he owns. Cam took time off after his father died, but he’s back and Jack needs Cam to help him get Harry to sign the probate documents Jack was hired to update.
Tregear receives vague threats from an internal affairs detective named Phil Maitland (Gary Sweet), telling him that the cop who was killed might not be the last, and that he knows what Tregear and those cops did years ago. Fearing for his life, Tregear asks Jack to keep an eye on another former cop, Mick Khoury (Robert Rabiah), who he knows will sell him for nothing. Jack watches Khoury all day, but he’s not as discreet as he thinks; Khoury bangs on Jack’s passenger window and asks who sent him.
When Jack tells Tregear, the cop has a heart attack. When he finally comes out of the coma, he tells Jack that the people who are after him have something to do with the murder of his late wife Isabel (Emma Booth) a decade earlier. Jack visits his former legal partner, Drew Greer (Damien Richardson), to see the files related to Isabel’s murder; being back in her old office and viewing the file, of course, brings back the memories of how she was murdered by an enraged ex-customer who committed suicide right in front of Jack.
After another return of his father’s friend Wilbur (John Flaus) to his nursing home, Khoury, hiding in Jack’s car, puts a gun to Jack’s head and demands that he drive to a shipyard. Jack somehow gets out of that difficult situation. But the next morning, he receives a sinister voicemail from Tregear, who had just left the hospital.
What shows will it remind you of? The totality Irish jack series, which dates back to TV movies made between 2012 and 2014. As for other shows, it has the vibes of a cable series like Damages or a series of networks like The good wife, which fuses the main character’s ongoing stories with cases that take a multi-episode arc.
Our Take: The set in Irish jack works well together, and Pearce – recently seen the lovely Kate Winslet in Easttown Mare – dwells in Jack so comfortably that you forget that it’s not often that you see Pearce playing the well-intentioned but troubled antihero. The connections Jack has made over the years are present in this final series, including Linda Hiller (Marta Dusseldorp), his intermittent, whom he turns to for help in Episode 2.
He also has to connect with Sami (Marcus Bagdas), his 5-year-old son who is the product of a night out with Evie Mansour (Nicole Nabout), who works at Wilbur’s nursing home. Wilbur and his roommate Eric (Terry Norris) have been delighting Evie with stories about Jack’s father, and she is rightfully concerned that Jack will become the “evil drunk” her father was.
What we appreciate is that the case Tragear got involved in is a good entry into Jack’s story, even at this late date. And the surrounding characters are so intriguing, we want to see more of the Cam-Harry dynamic, that we want to go back to the beginning (the movies and all three seasons air on Acorn TV – see link below).
Sex and skin: None.
Farewell shot: After receiving Tragear’s ominous voicemail, Jack goes to the cop’s house and is shocked by what he sees.
Sleeping star: Gary Sweet, who plays Det. Maitland is the embodiment of a cop who loves being part of the “rat squad.” He doesn’t care what other cops think of him and he’s as dirty as they come. It will be interesting to see Jack and Linda trace the current murders, and maybe some past ones, and get over it again.
Most of the Pilot-y line: There’s some light comedy to the show, and one character, Brendan O’Grady (Bob Franklin), seems to exist just for that. His connection to the show’s past is the one that will upset new viewers the most.
Our calling: STREAM IT. The last season of Irish jack benefits from a cast and team of writers who have lived with the main characters for nine years. And while the first episode is a good entry to watch this season on its own, it definitely benefits the new viewer to go back and watch the series from the beginning.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a television junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and other places.