Cracked, the new series premiering tonight on REELZ, is a police procedural with hurt. Not heart. Well, it’s got that, too, but it features, at its core, an emotionally wounded cop, Detective Aidan Black, who, after a psychological break where he ends up clucking at a rude man in a coffee shop, is now eager to get back to work.
But when he does return, what with his old SWAT team worried about his ability to perform, Detective Black (David Sutcliffe) is sent to a… different kind of division. Introducing the Psych Crimes Unit, a unit that pairs cops with psychiatric professionals, including a forensic psychologist and a psychiatric nurse. Psychiatric disorders are the cause of more and more police calls according to Calum de Hartog, the real life Toronto Emergency Task Force officer who created the series alongside veteran writer Tracey Forbes (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Canadian series Instant Star), which means that in order to do their jobs well, the police must possess more specialized knowledge than is possible for a cop just through basic training.
So why Detective Black? Well, despite his post-traumatic stress, he’s not broken… just cracked. (Yup, that’s where the title comes from.) Simply put by Black himself says, “Who better to catch criminals that are bananas than a cop up high in a banana tree.”
At first glance, Cracked is a lot like summer series Motive, it's a well-acted police procedural with high production values imported from Canada (where they consistently have some seriously nice police stations.) But it differs in a few key areas:
Where Motive never gave the series’ clichéd procedural regulars enough depth to make them worth caring about, Cracked is anchored by star David Sutcliffe's backstory and his ability to make you feel for him. And you do. You believe he's cracked. He might be recognizable to an American audience from his stint on Gilmore Girls as Rory's father, but otherwise, he's never really been given the opportunity to shine as a lead. Until now.
Motive also offered no twist on the police procedural format, other than focusing (too much) on the perpetrators themselves. Cracked's newly formed Psych Crimes Unit, however, combines procedure with psychology, which adds an element of the emotional to the usual rationality of solving crime; a bit of the unpredictable to the predictable. With Sutcliffe's Detective Black being paired with a forensic psychiatrist instead of another cop, if I had to find a comparison, this series is more Bones than NYPD Blue.
It's also important to note that the series has already been renewed for Canada's CBC TV for 2014, so you don't have to worry about it being cancelled after two episodes like is all-too-common in the US. Likely, REELZ has licensed the 13 episodes from Season One, so the odds are they’ll air them all.
The pilot episode, “How the Light Gets In,” airs at 10:00pm, followed by the second episode of the series, titled “Fallen.”
For more, check out the trailer above or click HERE.
BOTTOM LINE: Pretty compelling for a police procedural. And the ethnically diverse cast is worthy of praise. If you’re looking for a new procedural to add to your schedule, this one is worth your time. And hey, learn something about Canada while you’re at it!