Created by G.B. Joyce
Developed for television by Tim Kilby and Shelley Eriksen
“I played with a bunch of names you’d recognize: Gretz, Mess, Mario. I played against all the others who mattered. I didn’t last long in the league: 457 career games. One year near the end I got called up from Hartford for a single game and was told I was being sent back down before I untied my skates. You can buy my rookie card for a nickel. For every league game I played, I played two in the bus leagues. My last four seasons I spent on a European tour–Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Finland.
One sportswriter tagged me ‘the Journeyman’s Journeyman,’ a pejorative squared. They always said I was ‘good in the room.’ I was just being pragmatic. I wasn’t good enough on the ice to have an attitude. Gifted, I wasn’t. I had to think my way around the ice, and I took the same approach off it.”
— Brad reveals his career highlights in The Code
“Congratulations, Dad, you’re officially a dick!”
— Jules (on television) finds out Matt has been running a background check on her boyfriend.
Former pro hockey player BRAD SHADE has bounced all over the NHL (including a stint playing for the Habs), never quite becoming the superstar he’d always wanted to be, but never quite giving up either. But after years of running down his hockey dreams, he finally hangs up his skates for good and takes a job as a talent scout for the LA Kings.
Brad’s a pretty cool guy, all things considered, possessed of a sharp wit, and a wry observer of the game both on and off the ice. Oh sure, during his career on the ice, and even post-hockey, he’s been a bit of an asshole, but he’s getting better.
Then, in the first book in the series, The Code (2012), Brad takes on a new gig — that of amateur sleuth, when beloved coach “Red” Hanratty, a hockey legend, is brutally murdered at a charity game in in Peterborough, Ontario.
It was an auspicious debut, and did well enough, particularly in Canada, to spawn a sequel, The Black Ace (2013), with Brad once again stumbling into a death investigation — this time the apparent suicide of a former teammate
But how many bodies can a hockey scout stumble across before the police get suspicious — or readers start throwing books against walls?
So, some Canadian TV producers decided to give him a hook to hang his sleuthing on by making him a private eye in the disappointingly titled Private Eyes (Really? Could they get any more generic?). Developed for television by Tim Kilby and Shelley Eriksen, Brad (now called “Matt” and played by Jason Priestley) finally gets a good reason to find dead bodies, when he teams up with female gumshoe ANGIE EVERETT of Toronto’s Everett Investigations. After a string of diminishing career prospects (including an embarrassing stint as a sportscaster) and a few other gaffes that haven’t done his personal reputation any favours in the years since he stopped playing, hooking up with the squeaky clean Angie seems like a good way to redeem himself. And he seems to have a knack for detective work. Mind you, it doesn’t hurt that Angie — you’ll be shocked to discover — is rather attractive.
In fact, in a candid interview, Priestley admitted they were “trying to make a low budget version of Moonlighting.” Or was it Castle?
Whatever. There’s no denying that Matt is a bit of a doofus, an entitled ex-jock tooling around T.O. in his silver 1969 Porsche 911 S (with vanity plates, no less), and that Angie’s a little too uptight for her own good, but they make a cute couple, and the inevitable sparks that fly between the two can be gently amusing.
Naturally, this being Canada, there has to be a family angle, as well. Which means Matt is a single parent, trying to raise a precocious teenage daughter. The twist is that 14 year-old Juliet (just call her “Jules”) is legally blind.
And if you thought the title of the show was generic and predictable, wait’ll you hear the show’s theme.
Yep. It’s a cover of Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes.”
Yet, somehow, I kinda enjoy the show. It’s no great work of art (it’s at time aggresively generic) but there’s something blandly reassuring and light-hearted about it; the video equivalent of comfort food. The hockey angle may be the only fresh bit on the show — the Toronto setting is generally downplayed, whereas Republic of Doyle reveled in its Newfoundland setting. The mysteries are so-so, but occasionally there’s a bit of unexpected wit, and a clever twist or two to keep things moving, particularly in the first season. By the second season, the focus shifted towards Matt and Angie’s personal lives, as Matt officially became a partner, and his ex-wife returns to Toronto. They even DiPesto Everett Investigations, saddling Matt and Angie with Zoe Chow, a yappy young Chinese-Canadian computer whiz, as office manager, who acts as a buffer between the two who — surprise, surprise — start to have feelings for each other.
The hockey angle may be the only fresh bit on the show — the Toronto setting is downplayed, whereas REPUBLIC reveled in its Newfoundland setting.
On the brighter side, I just scored the soon-to-be-released long-lost Cool and Lam mystery by A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner) to review for MYSTERY SCENE.
The author of the books, G.B. Joyce, is an award-winning sportswriter based in Toronto, who has written about “sports and more important things for newspapers and magazines for thirty years.”
UNDER OATH (ON THE BOOK)
- “(Joyce’s) knowledgeable, engagingly cynical perspective on hockey should prove compelling even for those readers with no interest in the sport.”
— Publishers Weekly
- “Part CSI, part L.A. Law, part Hockey Night in Canada — Gare Joyce deserves a championship ring for his uncanny portrayal of Brad Shade, the earthy, educated hockey scout sleuth. This is sports writing, crime writing, and just plain writing as good as it gets.”
— Roy MacGregor
- The Code (2012) | Buy the book | Kindle it!
- The Black Ace (2013) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Third Man In (2016) | Kindle it!
- PRIVATE EYES
(2016-19, Global TV)
Based on the characters created by G.B. Joyce
Developed for television by Tim Kilby and Shelley Eriksen
Executive producers: Tim Kilby and Shelley Eriksen
Theme Song: Private Eyes
Theme song performed by
Starring Jason Priestly as MATT SHADE
and Cindy Sampson as ANGIE EVERETT
With Jordyn Negrias Jules
Barry Flatman as Don Shade
Nicole de Boer as Becca D’Orsay
Ennis Esmer as Det. Kurtis “Max” Mazhari
and Samantha Wan as Zoe Chow
Guest stars: William Shatner, Nicolas Campbell, Doug Gilmour
- SEASON ONE | Buy the DVD | Watch it now!
- “The Code” (May 26, 2016)
- “Mise en Place” (June 2, 2016)
- “The Money Shot” (June 9, 2016)
- “The Devil’s Playground” (June 16, 2016)
- “The Six” (June 23, 2016)
- “Partners in Crime” (June 30, 2016)
- “Karaoke Confidential” (July 7, 2016)
- “I Do, I Do” (July 14, 2016)
- “Disappearing Act” (July 21, 2016)
- “Family Jewels” (July 8, 2016)
- SEASON TWO | Watch it now!
- “The Extra Mile” (May 25, 2017)
- “Boardwalk Empire” (June 1, 2017)
- “The Frame Job” (June 8, 2017)
- “Crimes of Fashion” (June 15, 2017)
- “Now You See Her…” (June 22, 2017)
- “The PI Code” (June 29, 2017)
- “Between a Doc and a Hard Place” (July 6, 2017)
- “Six Feet Blunder” (July 13, 2017)
- “The Good Soldier” (July 20, 2017)
- “Kissing the Canvas” (May 27, 2018)
- “Long Live The King” (June 3, 2018)
- “Getaway With Murder” (June 10, 2018)
- “A Fare To Remember” (June 17, 2018)
- “Finding Leroy” (June 24, 2018)
- “The Hills Have Eyes” (July 8, 2018)
- “Look Who’s Stalking (July 15, 2018)”
- “Brew The Right Thing” (July 22, 2018)
- “Shadow of a Doubt” (July 29, 2018)