Doug D’Mello (The Indian Detective)

Created by Frank Spotnitz and Smita Bhide

Okay, so DOUG D’MELLO is not a private eye. What he is is a recently demoted (to Constable Fourth Class) and suspended (for a month) member of the Toronto Metropolitan Police Force, following a spectacularly botched drug arrest. That went viral.

Of course, that’s not the real hook for The Indian Detective, a smart and entertaining 2017 Canadian television mini-series — it’s that Doug, a well-intentioned and affable doofus who’d fit comfortably sitting right between Bob and Doug McKenzie, having a few brews, is the Canadian-born son and only child of Indian immigrants and about as Canadian as a hockey puck.

Doug’s one big dream in life? To become a detective.

But the way things are going, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Especially after he and his partner, fellow Constable Robyn “Bob” Gerner’s epic fail at the U.S./Canadian border, stopping a truck allegedly stuffed with heroin that turns out to contain only… bicycles.

So Doug has a little time on his hands. Still smarting from his suspension, he gets an urgent call from his estranged father who moved back to Mumbai five years ago, after his wife (Doug’s mother) died. It seems dear old dad has suffered a heart attack — or at least that’s what Doug is told.

Doug rushes to Mumbai, only to discover it was a ruse to get him to visit — and that his father now pictures himself as something of a ladies’ man; a playboy with a new toupée.

It’s a classic fish out of water story, as Doug, hopelessly Canadian, bumbles around Mumbai, and promptly gets arrested. Tossed in the jug for a minor infraction, he meets an attractive criminal lawyer, Priya Sehgal, who just happens to live upstairs from his dad, and becomes embroiled in a murder investigation that may — or may not — have something to do with the debacle back home.

It’s all played for laughs, but middle-aged, awkward and out of shape Doug, as played by comedian Russell Peters, is an extremely affable and identifiable guy (my kinda hoser). The laughs, however, are built around a solid little crime story, full of twists and violence, and there are some light but telling observations about Canada, India, the immigrant experience, fathers and sons, and how the abuse of wealth and power transcends borders, as Doug and Priya find themselves caught up in the complicated business dealings of a Mumbai crimelord, his twin brother, a Toronto drug dealer, and a shady Toronto real estate developer, played with appropriate avuncular sleaziness by William Shatner (I told you this was a Canadian production!).

As I said, Doug’s not a private eye. But cut loose from his police department (except for a series of increasingly frantic long-distance phone calls back to Bob in Toronto), and not able to count on the local cops (who are mostly portrayed as either incompetent or compromised), Doug has to rely on his own “detectiving,” going down mean streets where he doesn’t even speak the language… or trust the food (“Uh, fingers!”).

There are rumours there’ll be a second series (Netflix picked up the first), and I’d love to see Doug back on the streets of either Toronto or Mumbai, as some sort of detective, either public or private. But of course you know which way I’ll be leaning.


    (2017, CTV)
    4 episodes
    Created by Frank Spotnitz and Smita Bhide
    Writers: Frank Spotnitz and Smita Bhide
    Directed by Sandy Johnson
    Produced by Trevor Hopkins
    Starring Russell Peters as DOUG D’MELLO
    With Mishqah Parthiephal as Priya Sehgal
    Anupam Kher as Stanley “The Manley” D’Mello
    Christina Cole as Robyn “Bob” Gerner
    and William Shatner as David Marlowe
    Also starring Hamza Haq, Meren Reddy

    • “The Indian Detective (Part One)” (November 23, 2017)
    • “The Indian Detective (Part Two)” (November 30, 2017)
    • “The Indian Detective (Part Three)” (December 7, 2017)
    • “The Indian Detective (Part Four)” (December 14, 2017)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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