Created by Sylvie Lussier and Pierre Poirier
Non-Montrealers may think the lead character in the Radio-Canada private eye TV show Les aventures tumultueuses de Jack Carter is some sort of hands-across-the-water homage to Michael Caine’s character in the iconic 1971 Brit noir Get Carter.
But they’d be wrong.
It’s all given away by numerous publicity stills which made the rounds, featuring shots of ex-cop turned Montreal private eye JACK CARTER posing in all his downbeat, rumpled glory under a landmark instantly recognizable by almost any Montrealais worth his poutine: the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
But that’s not the only Easter Egg tucked away for homesick Montrealers. Many of the characters are named after local bridges, tunnels and major streets: Samuel “Sam” Champlain, “Joey” Papineau, Pie IX, Victoria LaFontaine and Éléonor Mercier. Even his basset hlound (yes, he has a dog) Hyppolite is named after the tunnel that connects the island city to the mainland.
Suffice it to say that tongues are firmly in cheek here. Jack’s nothing if not eccentric: he insists on living in his office, he dresses like he’s on his way home from an all-night party he wasn’t even invited to, and he refuses to use anything that even comes close to standard detective methods or the law, much less use a computer or a cellphone. Not that the world is beating a path to his door–he only takes on those cases that interest him personally, anyway. The weirder the better.
Like a finding a missing tiger. Or a body stolen from a cemetery. Or a stolen secret formula that could prove to be the end the world as we know it.
Still, for all the attempts at being different, there are plenty of more-than-familiar tropes to be found in the show itself. Jack is a divorced ex-cop (his ex is, conveniently, the forensic pathologist for Montreal), with a young daughter (male P.I.s are apparently unable to father male children). One friend, a fellow ex-cop, owns a bar/restaurant (so Jack has a regular “cool” hangout), while another pal is conveniently still on the force and able to slip him occasional info. And, of course, there are numerous very attractive women floating around.
Then again, it is Montréal.