Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Irish crime drama Jack Taylor, based on Ken Bruen's books, originated on TV3 in 2010. The Guards, its pilot TV movie, made its UK debut last thursday on Channel 5 where it will be followed by two other 90-minute standalone stories: The Pikemen and The Magdalen Martyrs.

Scottish actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Prisoners' wives) stars as Jack Taylor, a disgraced ex-sergeant ejected from the Guards - the Irish police (An Garda Síochána) - for punching a government minister and drinking. Now he makes a living as a "finder" of people and things in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. « There are no private eyes in Ireland. Too close to being an informer – a dodgy concept. » But he stubbornly won't give back his regulation garda all-weather coat because "once a guard, always a guard". Though  Superintendent Clancy (Frank O'Sullivan), his former partner, may disagree.

Jack's "office" is at the pub of his surrogate father and barman Sean (Barry Cassin). While a fourth dead girl has been discovered near the river, Anne Hennessey (Tara Breatnach) manages to locate Taylor and hires him to find her missing daughter. He asks around, including Father Malachy (Paraic Breathnach), and his search leads him to a factory illegally employing young women. Jack can only rely on Garda Kate Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone) and on former paratrooper Sutton (Ralph Brown), his drinking buddy who's now a painter. Things get nasty as a prominent local figure is involved: businessman and art collector Trevor Lanpert (David Heap).

Adapted from the first Jack Taylor novel (2001), The Guards is directed by Stuart Orme (Colditz, The Puppet Masters) and written by Tom Collins, Anne McCabe and German producer Ralph Christians. Christians's Galway based prodco Magma Productions is behind the Jack Taylor series. The pilot, filmed in Galway, is exec produced by Ralph Christians, Dirk Schweitzer & Richard Price and produced by Clodagh Freeman. It is a co-production with German private channel RTL and Richard Price Television Associates. The subsequent TV movies (1) are co-produced by  Molten Rock Media Production and ZDF Enterprises - the distribution arm of German pubcaster ZDF and distributor of Jack Taylor.

The plot itself is not original but The Guards successfully brings the hard-boiled genre to Galway, where author Ken Bruen was born and lives. Iain Glen is fabulous as the disheveled, straight-shooting and hard-drinking finder with cheap rates and a big heart. The talented actor said he always wanted to play a private eye (2) and in Jack Taylor it definitely shows. The Guards is a gripping crime thriller which will remind of German Krimi-Serie Schimanski (with Götz George) to some continental European viewers.

(1) Filmed in Galway and in Bremen, Germany (

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