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Case Number 25785: Small Claims Court

Buy Jack Taylor: Set 1 at Amazon

Jack Taylor: Set 1

Acorn Media // 2011 // 273 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 6th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson has a cat named Jack Taylor. Crazy!

Editor's Note

Our review of Jack Taylor: Set 2, published June 7th, 2014, is also available.

The Charge

Self-destructive, pigheaded, and overfond of the bottle.

The Case

Those are their words by the way. Read the disc-case synopsis and that's how you'll find Jack Taylor described. Taylor (Iain Glen, Game of Thrones) is a one time cop who finds himself off the force and trying to make ends meet in the private detective racket.

But, yeah, Jack Taylor is self-destructive, pigheaded, and loves himself some boozing.

This first series offers up three feature-length mysteries on three discs.

• "The Guards"
Jack was a decent investigator for Ireland's "Guards" police force, but gets kicked to the curb because of some lively insubordination. Irked about his dismissal—and holding onto the past by parading around in his official Guard overcoat—he starts to nose around an apparent suicide and eventually gets hired by the victim's mother. What he uncovers is a filthy mess, perfectly suited for his gruff demeanor.

• "The Pikemen"
Jack gets himself a sidekick, a young wide-eyed wannabe crime-fighter who's willing to be verbally abused by this crotchety dick, in exchange for access to his acumen. Just in time too, because Jack gets himself dragged into the middle of a city-wide battle with The Pikemen, a group of masked vigilantes who dispense lethal justice.

• "The Magdalen Martyrs"
The final installment pits Jack against his most dastardly foe: a sadistic nun named Lucifer who takes pleasure in torturing young girls. As Jack digs, he peels back layers and connections to other crimes, once again landing himself in boiling hot water with the law.

This is good stuff, and considerably darker than your average British import mystery series. From the get-go, Jack Taylor is a classic anti-hero, hard to root for, but worthy of endorsement when you see him doggedly pursue the bad guy. Iain Glen is great, blasting out gravitas wherever he lumbers, and rendering the character of the broken protagonist with verve. He's a dink, but when he's squaring off with an exquisitely malevolent scumbag, you're all for his dinkness. The mysteries are well-staged and complex, with more and more story beats revealed as the investigation marches on. The fact that our lead is continually drawn into the machinations of these evildoers makes the show that much more compelling.

Acorn offers a slim release: standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, English SDH subtitles, and a photo gallery for each episode.

If you're a mystery hound and up for something different and grimmer than the usual fare, give Jack Taylor a spin.

The Verdict

Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Acorn Media
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 273 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Crime
• Drama
• Foreign
• Mystery
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Photo Galleries


• IMDb

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