Switch in storytelling style for Republic of Doyle sendoff


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In the TV-series business, this undoubtedly ranks as the ultimate luxury: doing your show exactly the way you envisioned it, enjoying a multi-season run and then exiting on your own terms in a way that allows you to end your beloved characters' stories in a sensible and satisfying way.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2014 (3136 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the TV-series business, this undoubtedly ranks as the ultimate luxury: doing your show exactly the way you envisioned it, enjoying a multi-season run and then exiting on your own terms in a way that allows you to end your beloved characters’ stories in a sensible and satisfying way.

As the sixth and final 10-episode season of Republic of Doyle plays out, series creator/writer/producer/star Allan Hawco is fully aware of the fortunate position he’s in.

“It’s a dream come true for all of us,” Hawco said last week when he and series co-star Krystin Pellerin made a promotional stop in Winnipeg as part of a cross-country Doyle publicity tour. “The fact they ordered us (for a sixth season) and let us say goodbye is a real gift. I would have been heartbroken if we didn’t do a final season because we ended (Season 5) in such chaos — she (Pellerin’s character, Leslie Bennett) was in a box, and we didn’t know if she was alive or not, and I was going to jail. It really needed a resolution.”

Duncan de Young / CBC Allan Hawco stars as Jake Doyle; he also serves as writer and producer on Republic of Doyle.

As Republic of Doyle’s final season continues (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC), viewers may notice a slightly different storytelling strategy than has been employed in previous years.

“(Co-creator and writer) Perry Chafe was extremely passionate about making sure that our final 10 focused on a much more serialized, ongoing story arc from episode to episode, allowing all of our core characters to be touched by it, and giving our audience — those diehards who come to meet us in pubs everywhere across the country — a few nuggets from week to week.

“Those are our viewers; it’s not like we’re looking to build a new audience at this point, so we want to reward those people who’ve been with us all along.”

For the uninitiated — and let’s be clear, Hawco would be glad to welcome any viewers who decided to join the filmed-in-Newfoundland fun during the show’s stretch run — Republic of Doyle, which premièred in January, 2010, is a comedic-drama private-eye-caper show that follows the misadventures of Jake Doyle (Hawco), a former cop who, along with his father, Malachy (Se°n McGinley), runs a private investigation firm in St. John’s, N.L.

“It’s the characters that make the show appealing,” said Pellerin. “They’re so relatable and likable and lovable, and they’re always trying to do the right thing. They’re accessible and easy to connect with; they go right to your heart, I think.”

The tone and structure of the show, as well as the signature down-on-their-luck-ness of its protagonists, have drawn comparisons to another celebrated private-detective drama, The Rockford Files — a reference Hawco accepts as the highest form of compliment.

He does point out, however, that Republic of Doyle has one thing that Rockford never did.

“I think the biggest cast member is Newfoundland,” he said. “I think that’s what gives people access into (the show); at least, it’s what got them there in the first place — the scenic shots, and Newfoundlanders spreading the word of the show to their friends and relatives.

“I also think there’s a group of Canadians out there who want to be engaged by our own domestic entertainment. And thank God they’re there.”

In discussing the show’s upcoming finale and reflecting on its lengthy (by Canadian-series standards) run, Hawco was quick to dispel any notions that Republic of Doyle’s end was in any way motivated by the CBC’s ongoing budgetary woes.

“The financing struggles of the CBC were never part of the conversation,” he explained. “As far as I’m concerned, I have literally never had that conversation with them, and no one has ever told me that it’s a factor. We were never presented with any kind of ultimatum about ending the show.

“Before we were ordered for Season 6, my partners and I knew we were finishing this year. Now, if they had come back and said, ‘Why don’t you do two more years?’ we had a scenario where we proposed that… but we didn’t have that conversation, either. It was a very cordial breakup, a good, natural ending.”

One thing Hawco and Pellerin weren’t going to do during their Winnipeg stop was spill any beans about how that “good, natural ending” might play out.

“It’s tricky to talk about that, because I don’t want to skirt around it, but I also don’t want to spoil anything,” said Hawco, whose next screen project will be an adaptation of Lisa Moore’s award-winning novel Caught. “The best way to put is this: with our show, every season has had a high-stakes, dramatic ending. There has been an ‘epic-ness’ that we’ve tried to bring to the endings and beginnings of all the seasons.

“The series won’t end any differently, in that way, but because it’s our final (season), we wanted to make sure that we stay true to what the show really is — at its core, it’s a comedy first, a drama second, and then a mystery, an adventure and all that other stuff after that. And I think that with the way we’ve ended it, we’ve stayed true to the value system of the show. And I hope our audience will feel as satisfied as we do — though I will say that (the ending) is likely not the way people thought we’d end it.”

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @BradOswald

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Brad Oswald

Brad Oswald
Perspectives editor

After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.


Updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 9:50 AM CDT: Tweaked headline.

Updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 10:39 AM CDT: Fixes attribute.

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