The Brits are no match for “Keen Eddie,” a snarky detective who bops through the U.K. with sarcasm and charisma galore. Fox’s flighty and funny hour is short on credibility but long on charm — the Euro equivalent to “Beverly Hills Cop” with the added bonus of a cute little bull terrier. Summer entry is missing all of the elements that make TV’s current legion of law-and-order skeins so beloved, but that’s exactly the point: While dragging the genre over the Atlantic, “Keen Eddie” eschews stern, solemn drama for breezy dialogue and eccentricities.
Title character is Eddie Arlette (Mark Valley), a boyish NYPD vet who thinks he’s got a jump on a narcotics bust that could rival Gotham’s biggest arrests. But after he bungles the case — bringing down plenty of uniformed officers with him — he’s sent packing to London, where he teams with Scotland Yard to find the felons, since he’s the only one who can identify the key suspects.
Once there, Eddie is the Ugly American to the nth degree. He’s brash, he’s loud, he’s arrogant and he can barely stomach his supervisor (Colin Salmon), a stiff suit whose eventual intentions are to ride the new recruit to a more dazzling career path.
Eddie’s adopted circle includes a high-strung roommate (Sienna Miller) and a partner (Julian Rhind-Tutt) whose peculiar behavior adds to an already off-kilter personality mix.
Front and center is Valley as Eddie, a hunk of a leading man who takes none of this too seriously and creates an entirely new characterization of law enforcement in the process.
Supporting cast is aces and establishes itself as a collective foil to Eddie’s uncouth behavior. Salmon is a delightfully dour boss; Rhind-Tutt is odd and odd-looking; and tyro Miller is a doll as the romantic interest who first can’t stand her tenant but probably will end up madly in love with him … if the show survives.
Tech credits are superb. Directed with style and verve by “Con Air” helmer Simon West — he’s also one of the exec producers, along with ex-NBC guru Warren Littlefield and creator J.H. Wyman — “Keen Eddie” makes terrific use of its setting, both in general spirit and in specific venues. But the hyperactive sequence bridging key scenes together has to go. It can look too much like “Fastlane,” and that’s the last thing this newbie needs.