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Jake Doyle, Canadian P.I.

by Annette Bourdeau, posted Jan 6th 2010 3:31PM


CBC is pulling out all the stops this winter, and is debuting two new shows this week – '18 to Life' and 'Republic of Doyle'. The latter follows a father/son private investigation team based in picturesque St. John's, Newfoundland. The duo tackles cases of all sorts, from catching adulterers to busting drug rings. The show's hero, Jake Doyle, is often distracted by his feisty ex-wife, the attractive local policewoman and his precocious teenage niece.

AOL TV Canada caught up with Allan Hawco, the co-creator and star of 'Doyle' (not to mention writer and producer), who gives off a strangely Colin Farrell-esque vibe. We picked his brain about everything from Newfoundland's fresh, fresh air to why he thinks women rule the world to Doyle guest stars like Mary Walsh, Gordon Pinsent and even Seamus O'Regan.

CBC is pulling out all the stops this winter, and is debuting two new shows this week – '18 to Life' and 'Republic of Doyle'. The latter follows a father/son private investigation team based in picturesque St. John's, Newfoundland. The duo tackles cases of all sorts, from catching adulterers to busting drug rings. The show's hero, Jake Doyle, is often distracted by his feisty ex-wife, the attractive local policewoman and his precocious teenage niece.

AOL TV Canada caught up with Allan Hawco, the co-creator and star of 'Doyle' (not to mention writer and producer), who gives off a strangely Colin Farrell-esque vibe. We picked his brain about everything from Newfoundland's fresh, fresh air to why he thinks women rule the world to Doyle guest stars like Mary Walsh, Gordon Pinsent and even Seamus O'Regan.

So, why a P.I. show in St. John's?

I had this idea 10-12 years ago, and it stayed with me. It's so bizarre after all these years to see it go from that idea to this creation. It's almost a little overwhelming to be here today seeing it come to fruition.

What were some of your inspirations for the show? Do you have a favourite P.I. of all time?

No. There are many P.I.s that I love! Rockford was one. When I was a kid I watched a lot of television. I watched 'Magnum, P.I.' and 'Remington Steele'. We're also inspired by shows like 'Life on Mars' – the British version – 'Cracker', 'Rescue Me', 'Californication', 'Monk'. In the end, though, I can't really compare it to any other show out there. Which is bizarre. It's kind of terrifying and at the same time it's interesting – hopefully.

How did you find Sean McGinley [who plays Jake Doyle's dad]?

It's a cool story – I have a theatre company here in Toronto called The Company Theatre. The first play we did was A Whistle in the Dark. I played Harry. It was the professional Canadian premiere when we did it here, 30 years after it was written. And McGinley played Harry in the first Dublin production. So when we met, I already knew who he was, and we both immediately connected by both having played Harry. It's not one of those roles that a lot of people get to play, and there was an immediate kinship between us because of it.

What's it like working in Newfoundland after working in Toronto for so long?

It's awesome to be there, and to be in my own house with my girlfriend, with my family, not having to fly away for auditions as much.

Since there are so many different crime shows out there, was it difficult coming up with an approach that was unique?

Yes and no, because the show has its own unique quality to it. The crime element is only one aspect. The rest is centralized around the family, the Republic of Doyle. We really wanted to do justice to the mystery element, but we also needed to keep it in the realm of believability. It's a TV show, sure, but it's still set in a small town in Canada so there has to be an approach to it that has a brightness and a lightness to it as well.

It seems like St. John's is quite different now than it was 10 years ago when you had the idea for the show. How did that impact the show?


The natural evolution of the city kind of went with the natural evolution of the show almost perfectly because St. John's is a city that's going through a lot of transitions, both good and bad. And I think that our show gets an opportunity to reflect that a bit.

What do you think makes Jake Doyle tick?

[Laughs] Jake is an interesting character. His big problem is his inability to understand others, particularly those of the opposite sex. And the show in general is sort of about that in a weird way. Jake gets himself in trouble and his father is left to pick up the pieces, and that leads to a very interesting dynamic.

But the show is really, as far as I'm concerned, about how women run the world. Jake's father is going out with this woman Rose. She runs the house. And then there's Tinny, Jake's niece. Jake truly is a slave to his niece, he will do anything to make her happy. And then Jake has an ex-wife, and he has a woman he's slightly in love with, but he can't quite figure out how to communicate with any of them, really. They have all the power in this situation, and Jake's biggest problem is he hasn't figured that out yet. The sooner you figure that out, the much happier you are in life, as a dude.

I heard that Gordon Pinsent is guest-starring, is that true?


Oh yeah. I can't tell you too much about his character because it's kind of a fun surprise. Gordon is someone I never thought I'd get to meet. He was one of the most interesting people in the world to me when I was a kid. And then I got to work with his late great wife, Charmion King, in a play at Soulpepper and I got to meet him and he has followed my career a bit since then. He's turned down many projects of mine over the years that I've invited him to be a part of. And with 'Doyle', he called me and said "Allan, I really like it." I knew there was a chance that he would come. And then when he came, man, he just lit the whole set on fire.

Any other noteworthy guest appearances?

Oh yeah. I'll try to make sure I don't forget anybody. Shawn Doyle, Sebastian Spence...Mary Walsh, Seamus O'Regan. Omigod, there are so many people.

I didn't realize that Seamus O'Regan acted.

Seamus started his career as an actor. He's a huge reason my career has gone the way it's gone. He's one of my best friends and he's a great supporter. His whole family sort of adopted me, because I kind of looked like the O'Regans, we just started acting like brothers. And even his brother and I are great friends.

What do you miss the most about Newfoundland when you're not there?

The air. It's a thing, man. You get off the plane, and immediately you're like 'Ahhhh!'.

'Republic of Doyle' premieres on January 6 at 9 PM on CBC.

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Boycott ROD

Yeah Allan Hawco and Republic of Doyle really screwed over Allan's Stunt Double. On top of Christy Ring being injured they never even credited him for his work. How can people have any respect for Allan or Republic of Doyle considering how they treated Christy read this - http://t.co/tFPlPTIO

January 09 2012 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Boycott ROD

Yeah Allan Hawco and Republic of Doyle really screwed over Allan's Stunt Double. On top of Christy Ring being injured they never even credited him for his work. How can people have any respect for Allan or Republic of Doyle considering how they treated Christy read this - http://t.co/tFPlPTIO

January 09 2012 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beverley

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
What a great show for everyone to enjoy......but especially anyone with Newfoundland heritage.
Being the proud daughter of two "newfie" parents and proud of my heritage I truly look forward to each Wednesday when the show airs. From the music to the individual references specific to Newfoundland culture/vocabulary to the individual story lines and the Canadian actor content......how refreshing!!!! What a great cast of characters that are easy to bond with as I root for them from the comfort of my couch in Newmarket, Ontario. Thank you for filming a show on location in Newfoundland and not trying to pretend that it is some anonymous place in the world.....not that there would be a chance to match the true beauty of this place. Over my 42 years I have had the priveledge of being able to visit Newfoundland on many occassions and hope that anyone who has the good fortune of catching Republic of Doyle will be booking a trip there themselves. What a fantastic show........THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! :)

April 18 2011 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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