Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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The Indian Detective? More Like Russell Peter Sellers!

Of course I'm gonna watch a show called The Indian Detective! It's about an Indian detective! Played by Russell Peters, oh well, I could think of many other South Asian men I'd rather see playing an Indian detective, but there are so few shows with Indian protagonists that I thought I could give four 45-minute episodes a whirl.

So Constable Doug D'Mello becomes a laughingstock in Toronto and gets suspended just in time for his dad in Mumbai to pressure him to visit, so away he goes...only to end up investigating the murder of a swami and then getting caught up in the machinations of a vicious crime lord. Also crushing on his dad's neighbor.

When it comes to the crime plot, The Indian Detective is fairly by-the-numbers, with obvious clues, weird leaps of logics, and ridiculously clichéd dialogue for everyone involved in the machinations of a vicious crime lord, including William goddamn Shatner, randomly here to be occasionally menacing. But because the show only has four episodes to get things done, it's refreshingly swift, meaning every single mystery Doug looks into is tied to the overall mystery (I say "mystery" but there's no mystery). Bodies keep piling up! Corruption abounds in both Mumbai and Toronto! Who can Doug trust?? (I say who can Doug trust but it's pretty clear who he can trust.) Hamza Haq shines as crime lord Gopal Chandekar and his twin brother Amal (he's so good I didn't realize it was the same actor for a couple episodes), and there are seeds of his being a truly fascinating villain with compelling motivations (he wants to raze the slums of his birth to build a skyscraper and prove how far he's come, which we know because he literally tells us his motivations several times). But, you know, this is not Breaking Bad, okay.

And what of the rest of the cast? They generally acquit themselves well, with Meren Reddy as Inspector Devo being my favorite secondary character. Russell Peters seems to be going for a Shawn Spencer vibe, but he is no James Roday. His jokes almost never land, but it kind of works in that it makes him doofily endearing (for instance, there is a running gag where he reminds people that Toronto is in Canada and it is never funny but the fact that he keeps doing it eventually charmed me). Mishqah Parthiephal as his bland love interest/Indian partner in detectiving is...consistently dull, especially compared to his other love interest/Canadian partner in detectiving, Christina Cole (also none of the romance plots work). Anupham Kher as Doug's dad provides both comic relief and pathos.

When you get right down to it, The Indian Detective is not a great show by any means. It's maybe not even a good show. But it's quite an okay show that does its job, even if it's a bit of a mess and it's flawed as hell. When I watched the first episode, I guessed that I'd make it to the end and be done. By the time I finished the last episode, I found I'd grown fond of most of the characters, and I'd even watch a second season.
Tags: new show squee, the indian detective, tv
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