Premiering in North America on Acorn TV September 10 2018 Jack Irish, Season 2 is one of those rare detective shows which just seems to get better and better as more episodes are produced. Staring Guy Pearce, in the title role, and Marta Dusseldorp as his now ex-partner, investigative journalist Linda Hiller, the six part series takes viewers on a journey into the murky world of big pharmaceutical companies and from Australia to India.
It all begins with a lost delivery. A parcel Irish had sent three years ago is discovered discarded in the woods by a bird watcher and returned. Curious as to how it ended up there he travels to the location only to find the delivery person’s body dropped down a mine shaft. Discovering the young man had been in Australia on a student visa he tries to find out more information about him and anybody who might know how or why he ended up dead.
His search leads him first to a bicycle courier service, then a school for foreign students, and finally to a pharmaceutical company whom the school had been supplying with students for testing drugs. Mysteriously one group of students tested on a specific drug were all deported on the same day, shortly after both the courier died and another foreign student ended up under a bus.
So Irish enlists his former partner Hiller, who happens to be in India covering another story, and her new man Orton (played by the incomparable Jacek Koman) to find out as much as they can about the students who came from India. Unfortunately someone doesn’t want them checking this out and Hiller is threatened in order to force her to leave India.
Of course this isn’t paying the bills so Irish is also involved with his old friends Harry Strang (Roy Billing) and Cam Delray (Aaron Pederson) in the slightly shadier side of horse racing in order to bring in some cash. Cam also is useful to have around when some of the people Irish is involved with become a wee bit ugly.
If you’ve seen either the three stand alone Jack Irish movies, or the previous series, you’ll know these shows are not only a wonderful mix of intrigue and comedy, but brilliantly written and directed. Heck how many shows can you say hook you from the song over the opening credits all the way through to the end of each episode?
Then there’s the acting. I’ve seen Guy Pearce in any number of roles, but every time I come back to Jack Irish it seems this is the part he was made for. While that might not be fair to a man who has played so many characters over the course of his career, here he seems to be as comfortable as I’ve ever seen him on screen. I think any actor would dream of being able to bring the amount of rumpled charm Pearce does to Jack Irish.
As for the supporting cast they are all equally magnificent. Marta Dusseldorp infuses a level of humanity into her performance of Hiller that makes her even more of an attractive character. While Koman, as her new partner, is both the perfect foil for her temperament and able to remind her of what’s truly important.
Meanwhile Pederson and Billing are the perfect odd couple to help introduce a lighter side to proceedings. Billing is ideal as the old school gentleman criminal always looking to work things to his advantage at the track and Pederson is perfect as his tough, but always classy, aide de camp/muscle.
All in all Jack Irish Season 2 is a remarkable piece of television. Plenty of action and excitement mixed with a dash of romance, a lot of intrigue and enough very strange humour to keep anybody happy. The first episode airs in North America on Acorn TV September 10 2018.