Why True Blood Fans Should Watch Terriers

October 26, 2010 by  

Donal Logue, Michael Raymond-James, Terriers, True Blood, ReneIt’s been over a month since the Season 3 finale of True Blood, and by now I imagine most of you fans are suffering some serious withdrawal pangs. HBO summed up the feeling perfectly when it adopted the tagline, “Waiting sucks.” Many aspects of True Blood that are so addicting–colorful, engaging characters; sharp writing and an ability to evoke lots of different emotions; surprising plot twists that draw you into the story—they aren’t in abundance on television, which makes us love those shows that have them all the more. Terriers, which started airing its first season on FX this fall, is one such show.

Contrary to what the title suggests, this is not a show about dogs, though there is a dog in it (a bulldog named Winston). “Terriers” refers to the two main characters, Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack–best friends who work as private investigators. They’re a bit rough around the edges, but they have a quality that can only be described as scrappy and tenacious. Hence, Terriers.

At least one, if not both, of the lead actors will be known to you–Britt is played by Michael Raymond-James (formerly Bon Temps‘ very own vampire-hating serial killer, Rene). His partner, Hank, is played by Donal Logue (Grounded for Life). Britt is a former thief, mischievous and charming, whereas Hank is more hardened, a former drunk and cop who lost his job and his wife. The chemistry between Michael and Donal is what gives the show its heart. Things can get pretty heavy for Hank and Britt, especially given some of the dark paths the story takes, but the light banter provides a nice tonal balance. They’re constantly teasing each other, but with an ease and familiarity that only comes from truly caring for someone and enjoying their company.

As I alluded to, there are some darker elements to the show. In the pilot episode, an old buddy of Hank’s gets mixed up in a situation we don’t even fully realize yet, involving a sex tape, a murder, and a shady land development. The guy ends up dead, and that has driven the continuing arc this season and several questionable acts by Hank and Britt. Yet, in spite of some of the bad things they do, they always seem wholly human—flawed, but relatable.

There is a grittiness to the show, not just in characters and content, but also the style in which it is filmed. San Diego is a beautiful city, but through the experiences of Hank and Britt, we see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the place. It feels unpolished, and that makes it all the more interesting. This is no surprise, given the creative minds that are driving Terriers. Ted Griffin (Ocean’s 11), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), and Tim Minear (Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse) all serve as writers and executive producers.

The show might be testosterone-overload, were it not for the presence of great female supporting characters. Their storylines may only go so far as their interactions with the guys, but they are well-developed and well-acted. Katie (Laura Allen) is Britt’s caring, beautiful girlfriend who is studying to be a veterinarian. She accepts him and what he has done in the past because of how much fun they have together (although a recent mistake of hers threatens to wreck their happy home). Hank’s ex-wife, Gretchen (Kimberly Quinn), is clearly the biggest regret of his life. It’s implied that his drinking (and the decisions he made as a result) caused their marriage to end. She’s moved on and preparing to marry someone else, but she hasn’t cut ties with him. It’s lovely and refreshing to see an ex-wife character who still cares for her ex and wants him to be part of her life. There is also Stephanie, Hank’s sister (played by Donal’s sister Karina Logue, who also happened to play Denise “No Good Backwoods Trash” Rattray on True Blood!). She lives in his attic for weeks without him knowing, having escaped from a mental institute. She’s crazy and hilarious. Karina and Donal are so brilliant together–it’s a real treat to watch them portray these characters built on a foundation of their own relationship.

I could go on, but I know it’s better for you all to just watch it yourselves. If you’re wondering about which episode to try to determine if you’ll like it, I would recommend one of the great standalone episodes: “Ring-A-Ding-Ding” is probably my favorite, followed by “Change Partners” and “Missing Persons.” Hulu currently has every episode available except for the pilot, so catching up would be really easy.

Terriers airs Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/PT on FX. Enjoy!

(Photo credit: FX)