Have you seen Veronica Mars? Let's assume you have. If you haven't, go watch it so my assumption will be correct. You can thank me later.
Okay, now that we're all up to speed, who is one of the best characters on the show? Keith, the dad, played by Enrico Colantoni. If I could rent a father, I would rent Keith Mars. He's that awesome.
Well, Veronica Mars ended, but Enrico Colantoni is an actor, so he went on to other things. (You also saw him as Mathesar, the head of the Thermians in Galaxy Quest--but that was before VM.) You may have seen him in Flashpoint.
You probably didn't though, not a lot of people saw it. It was a summer-released show to see if it would take in the regular CBS fall schedule. Premise? Toronto, Ontario, Quebec SWAT team is trained in negotiating tactics to attempt to settle volatile situations without unnecessary body count. Redubbed the SRU, they get to be all empathetic and polite while reserving the option to shoot you in the head.
I gave the show a try because it's Keith Mars and Keith Mars deserves a shot. Unfortunately, it wasn't that good a show. I stalled out by the third or fourth episode and that was that. It went for three seasons and got canned.
Well recently, we got our basement repaired and set the TV back up. I was looking for something to watch and was in the mood for some Enrico Colantoni. I decided to skip the first season and see if season 2 got any better. Sometimes shows do that.
Oh how I wish I hadn't stopped watching! About episode 7 or 8 of the first season, the show REALLY found its groove. My wife and I just watched the entire second season in the span of a couple weeks (and I watched half the first season as well).
Here's the standard breakdown of the show: start with out-of-context climax then flash back to a few hours before. Introduce situation, respond, try different methods, resolve the situation, make you cry.
That last part happens enough that it is part of the standard show outline. My wife says the show could feature a goat in a pudding factory and it would still make you cry. She is not wrong about this.
The thing is, it breaks a lot of stereotypes in the procedural drama realm. The big tough guy doesn't have to be closed off emotionally. The sniper doesn't have to want to kill everyone and everything. Shooting the bad guy isn't always the best solution (rarely is), and just become someone is a bad guy doesn't mean the cops will look the other way while a victimized citizen introduces him to Old West justice.
We like to say it's because they're Canadian, but really I think it's just snappy writing. I love taking an established genre and turning it on its ear without clubbing it over the head with a baseball bat. It's good to see characters portrayed as human and the hardships they endure having to be in a job where their decisions can cost people's lives. (Lewis! *tear*) I wish it had hit its stride sooner. I would have watched it while it was on rather than a few years later when it was too late to give it my support.
Anyway, if you have Netflix, it's available for streaming.