I think the Jack Irish series by Peter Temple is not just the best crime series in Australia but rivals any crime fiction series in the world. When I first heard they were turning the books into a TV series I was very excited because I knew it would bring more readers to the series and to Peter Temple’s other books. However my excitement was met with apprehension when I heard that Guy Pearce was cast in the role of Jack Irish. I like Guy Pearce and think he has done some fantastic work, in particular his role in HBO’s Mildred Pierce but for me he just didn’t embody the character of Jack Irish that I had in my mind.
The Jack Irish character I had from reading the books was Jack Thompson-esque: laconic, strong, rugged. My mind began to change though after seeing Animal Kingdom, in which Guy Pearce played a detective. For the first time I thought there was a possibility he could pull the role off.
I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of both Jack Irish telemovies, Bad Debts and Black Tide, and I can say unequivocally that Guy Pearce is Jack Irish. Not only does he embody the role, he completely owns it. The whole production is also pitch perfect. You couldn’t imagine a better support cast, in every role. Melbourne and rural Victoria, which is evoked so well in the books is also filmed nice and darkly. Both telemovies are true to the books and the only negative I can think of is that Dead Point and White Dog aren’t filmed yet!
Bad Debts screens tonight (October 14) on ABC1 at 8:30 and Black Tide screens next week (October 21) and of course will be available to view on iView and DVD so there is no excuse for missing a great piece of Australian television. And if you like it make sure you checkout the books because they re of course always better and Peter Temple is a national treasure!