Filmed in Canada by Alliance Communications Corp. in association with CTV Television Network Ltd. Executive producer, Paul Haggis; producer, Jeff King; supervising producer, Jean Desormeaux; director, Fred Gerber; writer, Haggis; “Due South” airs as a telefilm, but it’s really a back-door pilot, according to the network. If ever a TV film begged for its own series it is this fish-out-of-water/buddy cop tale: Although it is formulaic, the action drama scores points in every other department.
Paul Gross stars as Benton Fraser, unorthodox yet by-the-book Canadian Mountie who takes off to Chicago to catch the man who murdered his dad. David Marciano co-stars as Ray Vecchio, a fast-talking and slick detective who teams up with Fraser in the tough city to help him adjust and track the villain.
Naturally, at first they don’t get along; they are from different walks of life with polar-opposite ethics. But in the process of searching for their killer they gain respect and admiration for each other, as well as exposing a scandal involving the police.
The producers, director Fred Gerber and d.p. Ron Stannett deftly film both Chi and Canada’s Yukon; Gerber and Stannett never let the camera stagnate and choose nonconformist angles to relay the story. Stephen Lawrence’s editing aids considerably in maintaining the fast pace; of particular note is an exciting chase sequence through the snow.
Writer/exec producer Paul Haggis has developed endearing main characters and an interesting supporting group. He also touches on enough possible future storylines to keep “Due South” going: Vecchio’s divorced sister takes a liking to Fraser; there’s a burgeoning love/hate relationship between him and a co-worker; and, of course, he is offered a job by the Chicago police department.
Gross, as the naive yet smart cop, does well. Marciano, although playing a role that has been parlayed onscreen before, exudes confidence and provides comic relief without reducing himself to a caricature. “Due South,” despite telling a familiar story, remains thoroughly entertaining fare.