Tom Stone
Created by Andrew Wreggitt

"Corporate crime, my ass."

When Tom Stone made its debut back in February 2002, I couldn't help thinking "A promising new P.I. show -- from Canada, no less! And it's set in Calgary!"

And it even turned out to be pretty good!

TOM STONE was the hero, a fast-talking ex-cop, ex-oil rig worker and ex-con (he was caught embezzling) who goes undercover for RCMP Corporal Marina Di Luzio, a straight-laced commercial crime specialist from Toronto who also happens to be a nationally ranked amateur boxer. But Marina herself is one step removed from official sanction, working in an "unofficial capacity" as an independent investigator, working out of, but not answerable, to the RCMP's Calgary commercial Crimes Unit.

I'm not sure what Stone's official standing, if any, actually is. As it is, he's acting like a private investigator for a horseman (sorry, horseperson) with a grudge or two. Put it down to TV logic, I guess. But the end result makes for good television. Quirky and off-kilter humour always strikes a chord or two with me, a guy who's been dying for something good in the P.I. vein to watch.

And it helps that Stone's strictly a beer and Tim Hortons kinda guy. He lives in a trailer out in the boonies, drives a shit-brown 1985 Camaro, and his prized possession is a Lanny MacDonald hockey card. He's also sometimes too slick for his own good, which rubs Di Luzio all kinds of the wrong way, yet there's some attraction there. Suffice it to say the leads, Chris William Martin and Janet Kidder (Margot's niece), have some kind of chemistry going for them.

And the shows make great use of local colour, gleefully playing up the contrasts between Calgary's high-gloss business deals, and it's aw-shuck's roots as Cowtown. As the PR gleefully points out, "Tom Stone is a departure for Canadian drama on many levels. It is the first time that a national one-hour prime-time dramatic series has been set in Calgary. Indeed, Calgary's characters are central to the whole premise of the series, and their interactions can be seen as a metaphor for the city itself. Tom Stone and its characters are full of dichotomies and juxtapositions crashing against each other to form an interesting and engaging whole."

Adding to the promise is Stuart Margolin, as both co-star and sometime director (he does the two-hour debut). Margolin, besides being a noted TV director, is of course best known as Angel in The Rockford Files and Bernie Fox in Mom P.I. He plays Tom's larcenous, scotch-swilling buddy, a former wildcatter turned slick wheeler dealer. There's also a looney tune landlady (and former exotic dancer), Sherry Goodstriker, whom Tom has to deal with, played by Carmen Moore. And there's a definite sense of playfullness in some of the stunt casting, which includes spots by NHL player Jarome Iginla and ex-Canadian politician Preston Manning.

Creator Andrew Wreggitt was the creator of the popular CBC drama North of 60. Unfortunately, Tom Stone never achieved that popularity and after two seasons of so-so ratings the CBC pulled the plug, leaving three unaired episodes in the can.

EVIDENCE

UNDER OATH

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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