Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Due South was a Canadian television series which originally aired on CBS in the United States and CTV in Canada, as a made for television movie. The series ran from 1994 to 1996, when it was cancelled by CBS. After a one year hiatus, CTV revived the series in 1997 with international investment, and it ran for two seasons until 1999.
The post-1997 episodes have been referred to by a few websites as a new series spun off from the original series, but were in fact titled as Season Three and Season Four of the original series. Those episodes were also packaged as a single "Season 3" for syndication in the United States.
The series was produced by Atlantis Films (now part of Alliance Atlantis), and was the first Canadian-produced series to air in prime time on American network television. (Several Canadian-produced series, including SCTV and Night Heat , aired in late-night slots on American networks in the 1980s.)
Although Due South was never a hit in the United States, it was one of the highest-rated regular series ever aired on a Canadian network.
The basic premise of the series is an Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable named Benton Fraser who, accompanied by his deaf half-wolf, Diefenbaker, goes to Chicago to solve the murder of his father. After the murder is solved, Fraser decides to stay in Chicago, working for the Canadian consulate. As he often states,
I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture I have remained, attached as liaison to the Canadian consulate
His partner in Chicago is Ray Vecchio (David Marciano ), a tough, streetwise cop. Marciano did not appear in the post-1997 episodes, but was replaced by Callum Keith Rennie as Stanley Kowalski, a detective who was under orders to impersonate Vecchio while the real Vecchio was undercover. Marciano did return for the series finale, in which Vecchio ran off to Florida with Kowalski's wife.
Some location shots were done in Chicago but otherwise the show was primarily shot in Toronto, Ontario.
The show falls somewhere between a cop show and a comedy show. Although superficially following the police drama format, the comedy derives from the outrageous plots, the self-mocking Canadian and American stereotypes, and the occasional fantasy elements, all played with absolute deadpan by the actors.
The series was also known for its extensive use of in-jokes for character names. The characters who appeared over the course of the series included Dawn Charest, a police inspector named Margaret Thatcher, a doctor named Esther Pearson, a newspaper reporter named Mackenzie King and a trio of police agents named Huey, Dewey and Louis. As well, Stanley Kowalski's wife was, unsurprisingly, named Stella.
- Paul Gross - Constable Benton Fraser (series one and two)
- David Marciano - Detective Raymond Vecchio (series one)
- Callum Keith Rennie - Stanley Kowalski (series two)
- Tony Craig - Detective Jack Huey
- Leslie Nielsen - Sgt. Buck Frobisher
- Gordon Pinsent - Bob Fraser (ghost)
- Camilla Scott - Inspector Meg Thatcher
- Beau Starr - Lieutenant Harding Welsh
- Daniel Kash - Detective Louis Gardino
- Catherine Bruhier - Elaine Besbriss
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