First aired:11th March 2007
Christina Cox – Vicky Nelson
Dylan Neal – Detective Mike Celluci
Kyle Schmid – Henry Fitzroy
Gina Holden – Coreen Fennel
Keith Dallas – Detective Dave Graham
Francoise Yip – Detective Kate Lam
Michael Eklund – Norman Bridewell
Nimet Kanji – Dr Rajani Mohadevan
Eilieen Pedde – Crowley
Jody Racicot – Greg the Doorman
Mark Oliver – The Demon
John Mann – Astaroth
Synopsis: Toronto. Vicky Nelson is speaking to her mother on the phone after a lacklustre first date, arguing her side of a disappointing lovelife. On the other side of the street a young man is killed by a caped figure, seemingly summoned by a ritual somewhere else.
Now the street is a crime scene, led by Vicky’s ex police partner and clearly ex-boyfriend Mike Celluci. Their terse exchange reveals that Vicky left the police and set up as a PI as she has been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition that will eventually cost her the rest of her vision, as it is, she is already feeling the effects, from impaired long distance vision, to a degree of nightblindness, leaving her view of events being less than 100% credible. At her office the next day, Coreen, the girlfriend of the victim (Ian Reddick) pleads with Vicky to look into the case and it’s more supernatural elements. Gina is of the opinion that the victim is a vampire.
Speaking of vampires, one is getting something to eat as well as some fun between the sheets with friend with benefits, whom he compells to leave. She leaves, his bite still fresh on her neck. This vampire, Henry Fitzroy talks a walk and learns of the ‘vampire’ murder and that this isn’t the first one. Wanting to keep a low profile as well as confident that he isn’t murdering people, he deicdes to look into it, after all it’d be hard to stay under the radar if people are actually looking for vampires.
Vicky visits Rajani at the morgue, who confirms the lack of blood in the victim and the bite marks. Elsewhere the client Coreen is being stalked by the man from earlier who is doing the summoning of the the real killer. As he friends arrive, we learn that this is Norman and his main goal is to acquire money and a nice car to make him more appealing to women, or more particularly, that woman. He summons the creature again to steal things for him.
Vicky and Celluci discuss the case inbetween rehashing old arguements and reigniting their chemistry. As this happens, a TV executive is murdered in her car. Vicky and Mike part at her door after a passionate kiss and a barbed comment from Vicky.
Henry Fitzroy tracks Ian’s last movements to his job at a club and goes in to find Vicky doing the same and gets to a bunch of people causing trouble that night before, just before Vicky does. After a brief but entirely one-sided scuffle, one of the thugs is dead, the other terrified and Henry, well he isn’t so hungry anymore and he leaves. Vicky gets there just as Henry leaves, with Henry getting home as the sun rises.
The next morning, Celluci checks out a lead, whils Norman fails to impress a college student. Vicky speaks to Rajani again, finding out that the vampire hypothesis is starting to hold water. Vicky visits Celluci and the pair argue again and at her office, Vicky uses the location of the crime scenes and a pentagram image plot where the next killing may take place. Henry does the same sort of thing, while Norman summons the creature again, this time aiming him at the college student. The creature before he leaves, plants the seeds of the idea of freeing his master in Norman’s mind.
A the park, the nominated victom is attacked by the creature, this time intercepted by Henry, the creature escapes and Vicky arrives, seeing the fully fanged Fitzroy and adding two and two together. He accidentally knocks her out trying to defend herself and carries her off.
At his home, Fitzroy explains that the creature is a demon and not a vampire and he wants to help stop it, seeing as he hates black magic. He’s a vampire and he’s not keen on sharing his feeding grounds with another. He agrees to partner with Vicky and explains that Astaroth is coming.
Vicky researches thefts as per Fitzroy’s suggestion, narrowing the search to the local university and that night, the pair head to the past point of the forming pentagram that the killings have been putting over the city. Fitzroy (with Vicky in tow) finds and battles the demon and it doesn’t really go that well. He’s injured and fading fast and Vicky opens a vein and feeds him some of her blood and gets him home and past the doorman, who is becoming more convinced of the vampire killings, making him more suspicious of one of the building’s tenants, Henry. He pops up to Henry’s flat with a croquet mallet and a stake and Vicky has to bluff him away with a comment about him being tied up (helped by her being in her underwear) he walks away cursing his stupidity for even thinking Henry was a vampire. Henry who is actually a vampire lies deathlike in his bed, until the sun goes down.
Meanwhile Norman has kidnapped Corinne, so that Astaroth can make her love him, when Vicky learns that Norman (one of the list of people of interest she has put together with help from the local university’s occult specialist) is with Corinne, she calls both Fitzroy and Celluci and tells them to meet her at Norman’s house. Once there, Norman gets the drop on her and knocks her out, painting occult symbols on her forearms. Norman then begins the ritual and the painted symbols become brands, burning into Vicky’s flesh. Astaroth is beginning to manifest, Fitzroy bursts in and banishes Astaroth, who pulls Norman back with him as Celluci arrives and witnesses.
Later Corinne asks for a job, Fitzroy states his intent to stay in Vicky’s life and Mike arrives to be friendly and so the love triangle is formed.
Notes: Lets get this out of the way. This by no means high art. It’s shlocky as hell, the design of Astaroth is a 70’s as can be and there’s so much cheese that lactose intolerant viewers should have a warning. This is not high quality television.
That said, it is fun. Vampire detective shows aren’t new, there are three on this blog alone and there’s another am trying to pin down. Each has their own take, Moonlight is a love story, Angel is about redemption and connecting with humanity, whilst Blood Ties is about well it’s about sexual tension.
Christina Cox’s Vicky is the hero of this show, with Celluci and Fitzroy clearly playing eye-candy/sidekicks. She’s bossy, strong-willed and thoroughly competent at what she does. Her eyes are failing her, but she still keeps putting herself into situations that most people with 20/20 vision would clearly avoid. Most women in this genre are the damsel in distress or the partner of the hero and there’s none of that shit here. Vicky is unarmed and half blind and kicks ass all the same. She sparks with Dyland Neal’s Mike and Kyle Schmid’s Henry is very different ways, giving each relationship an energy that makes it believable. She’s into both guys and both guys are into her. Dylan Neal is given a bit of a thankless job as the regular cop, but he plays it as the playful ex-boyfriend, equal parts giving her grief and flirty banter that’s dripping with intent, he’s not given much to work with, but he actually does a lot with it. Kyle Schmid is allowed to have a bit more fun. Henry is a Tudor royal, he’s full of himself, a bit stuck in his ways and very comfortable with both being a vampire and the things he’s had to do as one. He’s not tortured, seeking redemption or refraining from feeding. He’s eating all the time, but doesn’t have to kill to. He contrasts a religious upbringing and belief with a very hedonistic lifestyle and it’s never clear whether he’d get involved in all this if his cushy existence wasn’t threatened. His interactions with Vicky are fully of subtext and pointed innuendo. He makes no bones about the fact he wants her, nor is he interested in putting pressure on her. He’s confident and patient, which paints a much more realistic impression of a man older than his years. He’s in no rush, he can wait.
The rest of the cast are a mix of boring tropes (over eagar assistant Coreen, comic relief partner Dave and stern captain/leutenant Crowley) and the odd bit of gold, like the doorman having his own adventure in his head and Rajani, the deadpan ME, who doesn’t blink at the strange and unusal facts she uncovers, while she maintains respect and consideration towards her clients (despite them being dead) and she becomes the break-out supporting character for me.
But ultimately, despite the supernatural angle, this is the story of Vicky Nelson’s sex life. Vicky and Mike fill every scene with the flavour of unfinished business, you get the feeling they broke up for petty and silly reasons and neither than can back down from it, because neither can back down from anything. Maybe it was her leaving the police that did it and them no longer being partners on the job took a lot of what made them partners elsewhere, or maybe the fear of that did the damage first. It’s clear that neither want the other too far away, the feeling of ‘my toy, I haven’t finished playing with it yet’ is all over them and everyone but them seems to be able to see it. With Henry it’s more the new and possibly dangerous thing. There are moments in the scenes between them when Vicky looks like she’s panting she’s so into Henry and him being a vampire? He’s noticed. You honestly expect that it’s going to turn into a porn film before long. The number of almost moments here is so high it could honestly be a drinking game.
I’m glad I got to watch this show again, yes it’s a bit silly, yes it’s a bit cheesy, but it’s a lot of fun as well. There’s no tortured soul angst, no gothic misery, it’s just fun and bypasses the who po-faced elements of this type of genre. It’s work checking out and when this blog is done, I may very well go back to this series to watched the following 19 episodes.
Does it work? Yes, a cime procedural with a helping dollop of supernatural shenanigans and romance for good measure.
Does much need fixing? Not really, we need some more characterisation, but nothing really beyond that.
Does it stand up? Have to be honest, this isn’t the highest quality of shows, others stand up better.
Do I want to watch the next one? Yes, I was hooked again.
Did I enjoy it? Very much, forgot how much fun it was.
Overall: 4 out of 5. A joy to watch with the MIGHTY Rosie and a favourite for both of us.