Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Protector starring Ally Walker PREVIEW

Tisha and Gloria investigate murder in the park. Pic: Alibi
Rating: ★★★

Alibi: starts Monday, 29 October, 10pm

Story: Gloria and her detective partner Michelle investigate what looks to be a mugging gone wrong. But when Gloria uncovers evidence that links the victim to a psychic, it appears that it may have been a targeted murder.

Gosh, Americans are such a witty bunch, aren't they? At least, that's what their cop shows would suggest. The Protector is about two female detectives who just can't stop wisecracking as they investigate murders or visit a victim's next of kin with news of their death.

A couple of days ago I reviewed White Collar and the two male leads in that were the same, constantly bantering and larking about. Who would have thought homicide was such a hoot?

Gloria Sheppard – mom and detective
Anyway, the Alibi channel has two new shows launching on the same day this week, and The Protector is the better of the two. It is a like an American version of ITV1's Scott & Bailey, which in turn was a version of their Cagney and Lacey.

So, divorced mom Gloria Sheppard (Sons of Anarchy's Ally Walker) is juggling a complicated home life – two boys, live-in younger brother – with holding down a job as a homicide detective in that bastion of laughter merchants, the LAPD.

Gloria questions the victim's wife
Michelle and Gloria investigate a park murder
She's teamed up with Michelle (Tisha Campbell-Martin), who is equally fast with the quips but doesn't have Gloria's amazing intuitive gift. So good is Gloria's intuition that she leaps to conclusions with barely any evidence.

In the opening episode they're investigating what looks like a mugging gone bad. A man has cracked his skull in a park attack during which his briefcase with $300,000 was snatched, but his wallet and $30,000 watch were left behind.

Set up by a psychic?
In the wallet is a card for a psychic, and Gloria is able to conclude that the guy was set up by a psychic before the first ad break. Which leaves Michelle and us, the viewers, scratching our heads.

The victim was a rich guy in financial straits, with two mistresses that his wife was OK with (she didn't have to 'do it' with him any more).



Mistresses are quizzed, along with the victim's son, and there's another killing before the detectives unpick the red herrings. Gloria even manages to solve the case of the neighbourhood gnome thief brought to her by one of her neighbours, even while staying up all night making her son a uniform for the school play.

The Protector – easy-going entertainment
The Protector is not earth-shattering drama, and it is sometimes too cute for its own good. But as easy-going mainstream entertainment, it's OK and warm-hearted – though not as perceptive and interesting as Scott & Bailey.

Last month US cable network Lifetime, who make the show, announced there would be no second series. Perhaps even American audiences are finding the corny humour hard to take these days.

Cast: Ally Walker Gloria Sheppard, Tisha Campbell-Martin Michelle, Terrell Tilford Ramon, Chris Payne Gilbert Davey