Hakeem Jinnah

Created by Don Hauka

HAKEEM JINNAH (aka "Mister Jinnah) is an Indo-Canadian reporter working the crime beat for The Vancouver Tribune. He's smug, pushy, and even occasionally neurotic. His publisher would gladly can him in an instant, except for the fact that Jinnah's prying and scruple-free sensationalism get results, and sells a lot of papers. Like his Scotch swilling editor says (she should really be called "Crusty"), "He's a tabloid reporter trapped in a broadsheet."

His partner, Roger, just calls him "shameless."

He may have a long-suffering wife and a brooding teenage son at home, but Jinnah's an inveterate flirt, and a conniver and carouser of the first degree, prowling through the streets of Vancouver, looking for love in all the wrong places, or a get-rich-quick scheme (marrying off Russian peasant women to wealthy Chinese men or opening a chain of fast-food joints in Africa) that actually pans out.

In the meantime, while he waits for his ship to come in, he counts on his cop buddy, Sgt. Graham to keep him posted on the world of crime. He also has to keep an eye out for the latest competition on the scene -- the slick and sexy Caitlin Bishop, a TV reporter with even fewer scruples than he has.

So popular was Mister Jinnah: Securities (2000), the first novel in the series, that the CBC, ever on the eye for material that shows off Canada's multiculturalism, soon snapped it up. Okay, so Jinnah just happens to be also hopelessly, gloriously politically incorrect -- it's the thought that counts, right?

In Pizza 911 (the first in a proposed string of Jinnah movies), charred human remains are found in a pizza oven, and the police enlist Jinnah's assistance. Jinnah is played with great spirit by Dhirendra -- a semi-retired British actor (best known for his work on the popular British series East Enders)-turned-Windsor, Ontario restaurateur who, like Jinnah, uses only one name. "I knew that I had to do it for many reasons," Dhirendra says of being offered the role. "This film has a great deal of humanity, and heroes who aren't determined by skin colour."

Jinnah was created by Vancouver Province political writer Donald J. Hauka, who based the character on his colleague, award-winning Salim Jiwa, who's specialized in investigating and reporting on crime and terrorism since 1983, and is himself the author of the acclaimed Death of Air India Flight 182 (for which Hauka served as story editor).

Hauka's own writing goes far beyond journalism. He wrote Count The Days: The 1990 Bill Vander Zalm Scandal Notebook (1990), about the corruption-plagued premier of British Columbia. He's also written dramatic and comedic plays for CBC Radio.

UNDER OATH

  • "Hakeem Jinnah is the funniest and most original detective to arrive on the Canadian mystery scene since Benny Cooperman.

-- Kerry J. Schooley, Murder Out There

NOVELS

A novelization of the 2003 made-for-TV film.

TELEVISION

  • JINNAH ON CRIME: PIZZA 911
    (2002, CBC)
    Pilot
    A Force Four Entertainment Inc. production, in association with CBC Television
    Premiere: January 14, 2002
    Based on characters created by Don Hauka
    Teleplay by Don Hauka, Margaret Bard and Bartley Bard
    Directed by Brad Turner
    Produced by Debra Beard and Rob Bromley
    Executive producer: Hugh Beard
    Starring Dhirendra as HAKEEM JINNAH
    with Emily Holmes as Caitlin Bishop
    Pamela Sinha as Manjit
    David Lewis as Roger Sanderson
    and Christian Bocher as Sgt. Craig Graham

  • JINNAH ON CRIME: WHITE NIGHT, BLACK WIDOW
    (2003, CBC)
    92 minutes
    Airdate: October 6, 2003
    Based on characters created by Don Hauka
    Teleplay by Don Hauka and Michael McKinley
    Directed by Brad Turner
    Starring Dhirendra as HAKEEM JINNAH
    Pamela Sinha as Manjit Jinnah
    and Christian Bocher as Sgt. Craig Graham
    Also starring Vanessa King, Scott Hylands, Janet Wright, Ingrid Kavelaars, Mark Hammer, John Hamelin, Michael Puttonen, Anne Marie DeLuise, Ted Friend, Cas Anvar, Kenton Reid, Gavin Davies, Neil Thompson

RELATED LINKS

Private Eyes of the West Coast

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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