The show takes place in Newfoundland, Canada, but as you can tell from the title, the theme song, and pretty much just by listening to a few minutes of dialogue, its roots are firmly Irish, as are those of the show's characters. Rounding out the cast are Malachy's lovely younger girlfriend, Rose (Lynda Boyd), who handles the techie investigative side of the business, Des (Mark O'Brien), a former street tagger/spray-paint artist turned intern at the agency, and Jake's wily niece, Tinny (Martha Bernard), who shares the same penchant for trouble as her Uncle Jake.
The primary undercurrent of the show is Jake's story - he is in the process of getting a divorce from Nikki, an attractive doctor but one who has come a bit unhinged, mostly because she and Jake drive each other nuts. Jake is living at his father, Malachy's house, that is also shared by Rose and Malachy's granddaughter, Tinny, whose mom is AWOL. He relentlessly pursues Sgt. Leslie Bennett, but she mostly deflects his attention, although she can't deny his appeal. They end up working together a good bit as case after case seems to bring them into each other's paths. A dangerous man from Rose's past will make an appearance, threatening her relationship with Malachy and Jake's older brother, Christian (Jonathan Goad), returns to Newfoundland and joins the cast towards the end of the season, providing plenty of interesting plot twists that will lead viewers into the Second Season.
The detectives Doyle seem to pick up some wacky cases, whether it be a young woman hoping to find a father she's never met, or a friend trying to beat a murder charge, tales of rum-runners and arson, even cheating spouses and a beautiful amnesiac. The cases are all quite amusing, but the family interactions between the Doyles are what will bring the viewer back time and again. The writing is smart and funny, while the cast is completely charming. Everyone is attractive, but not so beautiful as to seem unrealistic. This is a fun group of interesting characters and I found myself falling in love with the whole group more and more as I watched each episode. Newfoundland is the perfect backdrop for Republic of Doyle with its brilliantly colored homes, quaint pubs, and active docks, and it is like another cast member of the show. Aside from the strong Irish underpinnings, the show also has a very 70's cop show feel to it. Whether its Jake's muscle car screaming down the street, or he and Malachy chasing after some punk along the colorful streets of Newfoundland, or even the constant fistfights Jake seems to find himself in, Republic of Doyle gives off a Starsky and Hutch type vibe, but with more humor.
Special features include audio commentary on two key episodes and a handful of making-of featurettes that give some insight into the show. The cast is wonderful, the writing strong and witty, and the cases entertaining. If you like your cop shows with a comedic edge, check out Republic of Doyle, Season 1 to see how it all began.