Blu-Ray Review: ‘Jack Irish’ Series 3

by Rachel Bellwoar

Jack Irish has always had this sort of rambling existence. First there were the Jack Irish TV movies, which started in 2012. Then came season one in 2016. The only other series I can think of that followed a similar timeline is The Librarians, though that series was lighter in tone, but it’s always been cool how Jack Irish could take these long breaks and then return, without skipping a beat or losing cast members.

Guy Pearce and Marta Dusseldorp (Photo Credit: Easy Tiger Productions/AcornTV)

That’s hard to pull off, and while the series has treated each season and movie as a jumping on point for new viewers (and mysteries can do that more, since there’s always a new case), the numbering could be a hurdle for new fans to look past.

The reward for longstanding viewers, of course, is getting to see Jack (Guy Pearce) and his relationships develop over time, but unfortunately, it does sound like series three is going to be the last (which you could say “never say never” since it’s come back before, but that’s how it’s been promoted – as the final season).

The screenwriters have come up with a case to match the occasion, too. In the same way Monk’s series finale dealt with the murder of Monk’s wife, Trudy, Jack Irish series three deals with the murder of Jack’s wife, Isabel (Emma Booth), who was killed by one of his clients, Wayne (Fletcher Humphrys). It’s not a question of who killed Isabel – Jack was there when it happened – but what transpired to make Wayne so angry, and while it’s not like Jack hasn’t looked into the case before, series three begins with him getting a new lead from an unexpected source.

Guy Pearce and John Flaus (Photo Credit: Easy Tiger Productions/AcornTV)

It’s been three years since series two aired but, on the show itself, even more time has passed and while no number is ever given for how many years it’s been exactly, there are some clues that point to the number being significant. In that time it’s very clear that Jack has been making healthier choices, too.  For one thing, he’s still in one piece, but he also hasn’t been taking surveillance jobs. His wife’s case draws him back in.

The Jack of season three, then, isn’t that different from the Jack we’ve seen before, which is the point. Jack has never been good at breaking old patterns, but while it’s one thing to have one character be that way (and sometimes it even feels too much — like, yes, he’s old-fashioned and against new technology but does that include not even being able to do a basic Internet search or carrying a handkerchief?), none of the people around him seem to have learned either.

One storyline that’s very believable this season, for example, is the Prince of Prussia pub trying to attract new customers, and where that leaves Jack and the other regulars, but if series two let Linda (Marta Dusseldorp) have a smaller role on the show, since realistically she wouldn’t be in Jack’s life as much post-breakup, her presence in series three feels forced (even though it’s always wonderful to see Dusseldorp)

Again, it does speak to the fact that two people can have very different experiences. For Jack, very little has changed, but Linda’s created a whole new life for herself. It should be said, too, that it’s great to see a show recognize what it’s got, in a terrific supporting cast, that almost feels like a theater company. If that means the show feels a little small world sometimes, at least the twists in Isabel’s case are well constructed.

Jack Irish Series 3 is available on Blu-Ray and DVD and streaming on Acorn TV.

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