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Due South

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.

With:
Cast: Paul Gross, David Marciano, Wendel Meldrum, Charles Shamata, Joseph Ziegler, Page Fletcher, Ken Pogue, Kaye Ballard, Gordon Pinsent, Jim Millington, Victor Ertmanis, Michael J. Reynolds, Eric Schweig, Kimberley Ange, Jennifer Parsons, Steve Morel, Scot Dentor, Nigel Hamer, Johnathon Wittaker, Barry Kennedy, Philip Williams, Keith Dinicol, Jack Nicholsen, Gene Hack, Simon Lugassy, Dam Lett, Paulina Gillis, Ramona Milano, Vito Rezza, Elizabeth Berman, Sandi Stahlbrand, Farzad Sadrian.

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.

Due South

Production: CBS, Sat. April 23, 9 p.m.

Crew: Camera, Ron Stannett; editor, Stephen Lawrence; art director, Ray Lorenz; sound, Urmas Rosin; music, Jack Lenz, John McCarthy, Jay Semko. 120 MIN.

With: Cast: Paul Gross, David Marciano, Wendel Meldrum, Charles Shamata, Joseph Ziegler, Page Fletcher, Ken Pogue, Kaye Ballard, Gordon Pinsent, Jim Millington, Victor Ertmanis, Michael J. Reynolds, Eric Schweig, Kimberley Ange, Jennifer Parsons, Steve Morel, Scot Dentor, Nigel Hamer, Johnathon Wittaker, Barry Kennedy, Philip Williams, Keith Dinicol, Jack Nicholsen, Gene Hack, Simon Lugassy, Dam Lett, Paulina Gillis, Ramona Milano, Vito Rezza, Elizabeth Berman, Sandi Stahlbrand, Farzad Sadrian.

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