Did the success of its creator doom Jo? For years Rene Balcer was synonymous with Law and Order. At one time, at least four Law and Order offshoots aired on TV. Balcer shoots Jo in 2012 and it airs in Europe in 2013. A ratings success in Europe, Atlantique Productions looks to expand its market. It finds no takers and the eight-part series surprisingly cancels after one season. Did the fact that Law and Order shows overcrowded American TV impact the decision?
Why watch Jo? First, this is Jean Reno‘s first lead TV role. You’ve seen him in such big budget films as The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible, and Ronin. Next, each murder takes place at a prime Paris landmark, the first at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the second at the Eiffel Tower, for example. Third, the Law and Order influence is quite apparent. And, you get to see old friends Jill Hennessy and Sam Waterston (see bottom pic). Quite a few other recognizable faces appear, such as Olivia d’Abo, Leslie Caron, and Geraldine Chapin. Even Jo‘s boss, played by Orla Brady, is familiar from Star Trek: Picard. You can find the show on Amazon Prime. I give Jo 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 6.8/10 IMDb score.
Divorced some years ago, Jo Saint-Clair is estranged from his daughter, Claire, some twelve years. He seeks to repair his relationship with her through the advice of Sister Karyn who runs a refuge for prostitutes. Recovering from a heart attack, Jo struggles to refrain from drugs and alcohol and worries that Claire is headed down the same path. Episode One finds a world-renown organist dead at the steps of Notre Dame, the second a famous model dying on the beams at the Eiffel Tower. Each case has no shortage of suspects. Will the irascible Jo Saint-Clair play well with others?
Some actors have a presence, some wish they did. Jean Reno (Jo Saint-Clair) encompasses the screen, so eminently watchable, his character rather unpredictable. After Law and Order, Jill Hennessy went on to star in Crossing Jordan and continues to keep busy. If she weren’t a nun, might some sparks fly between Sister Karyn and Jo? After all, she does say, ” I don’t have drinks with handsome men.”
“Are you still using? It’s a shame you can’t find a reason to stay alive.” All great characters have flaws and Jo Saint-Clair is no different. His demons run deep, he’s not unwilling to cross the line to achieve his goal. Partner Marc Bayard warns him that he can’t keep this up. What does Claire see in drug-dealing boyfriend Yannick Morin? Just how deep is his involvement in the drug trade?
“The English-language, Canadian and French production offers viewers a traditional crime-solving procedural with an international flair thanks to an array of Parisian landmarks that are connected to each story in some way. Veteran French actor Jean Reno’s solid performance also helps embody the show’s gritty-but-cosmopolitan vibe.” CommonSenseMedia.org
“With a tightly controlled central performance from Jean Reno, Jo is a series that takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Paris’ most sensational locations, and its most depraved, but never shifts focus from the story of a man who will always be enslaved by anguish.” Eurodrama.wordpress.com
If you liked Law and Order, you might want to take a brief stop in Paris.