John Lawless and Jodie Keane
Created by Gavin Strawhan

Kevin Smith as a private eye!

No, really!

Gritty, hard-boiled ex-undercover cop JOHN LAWLESS (Smith) and his easy-on-the-eyes partner/boss JODIE KEANE (Angela Marie Dotchin) are private investigaters working the mean streets of Auckland, New Zealand in this short-lived TV series from Down-Under-and-Off-to-the-Side-a-Little.

Lawless is supposedly the street-smart one, a big bruiser prone to taking chances and relying on his "gut instincts" and his fists. Jodie's younger, more idealistic, more concerned with making a go of the business. We're supposed to believe there's some sexual tension between them -- or at least, that's what we kept being told, mostly by Andy, the sad sack, dog-loving part-timer they often call in who -- of course -- has the hots for Jodie himself.

It's slightly edgier than the American P.I. shows of the seventies it so clearly emulates -- it's bloodier, and every now and then you see a breast or almost an ass, but from what I've seen, there was nothing much here: just a mildly entertaining waste of time, strictly B-, deriviative and formulaic, and not even taking much advantage of its unique setting.

Smith's character drives an American muscle car and spends a lot of time squiring babes around on his sailboat, but he was no Tom Selleck -- or Robert Urich. None of it's really bad -- everyone's competent enough -- but it's just not very good. Supposedly there was an actual TV series that ran for a while, although I have no idea how many episodes actually ran, but it must have been successful enough to spawn two made-for-TV movies, Dead Evidence (2000) and Beyond Justice (2001).

Perhaps they planned more (regardless of what I think, Smith had quite a cult following, thanks to his playing the same recurring character on three different -- and extremely popular -- series simultaneously: Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules. Unfortunately, Smith died while on a movie set in Beijing in 2002.

By the way, this show apparently has nothing to do with Lawless, an American TV show starring former NFL linebacker Brian Bosworth as a former cop turned private eye. for that matter, the second TV movie, Beyond Justice, has nothing to do with the other 474 films that use that title.

TELEVISION

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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