The key background is that Jack Irish was married, but his wife died. He had been a criminal lawyer, but is now a kind of private detective, lives alone (although has a relationship of some manner with Linda (Marta Dusseldorp)), does some work with horse punter Harry Strang (Roy Billing) and his offsider Cam Delroy(Aaron Pedersen), and likes to do carpentry in his spare time. Now, Jack has been introduced to his new niece – the daughter of his wife’s sister. His wife’s father, Justice Loder (Barry Humphries) has asked him to look into the death of a junkie who was blackmailing him, and he discovers a very dangerous underbelly to the city he loves.
Jack Irish is a complex and broken character whose loyalty and dedication to the cause leave us wanting to see him succeed. One thing I really love about this is that things are taken to the extreme; people die and big, horrible stuff happens. But it is excellent Australian television making, with strong scriptwriting, excellent production and a wonderful cast. And the touches of humour mostly brought by the scenes at the Fitzroy Youth Club (apparently, the bar was rebuilt into a set for the filming, but it feels totally genuine. For a Jack Irish experience, head to the Napier in Fitzroy for a pot).
Last year, two of Peter Temple’s Jack Irish books were turned into television movies. Guy Pearce played the role of Jack Irish. For me, having Guy Pearce in a production is enough to get me to watch; possibly with the exception of Prometheus, he picks interesting roles and I enjoy his performances.
Jack Irish is a former criminal lawyer whose wife was killed and he went on a downward spiral. After emerging from rock bottom, he has become a private detective and debt collector. In each film, the course of his work leads him to a situation that he wants to look into in greater detail. There is danger and violence, but nothing over-the-top and Hollywood. Overall, it is a very Melbourne production, from the pub with all of the Fitzroy memorabilia where Jack likes to share a drink with the old blokes who hold up the bar (the Napier in Fitzroy, in case you were wondering) to the bluestone alleys.
Producer Ian Collie has announced that he plans to turn the next two Jack Irish novels into television movies, and has optioned the fifth, which is yet to be published. Fabulous news; with the majority of Australian-produced television being reality television or soap opera, it is wonderful to know that there will be some good quality Australian drama to come.