The new and familiar herald autumn TV

The new and familiar herald autumn TV Tony Danza and Josh Groban star in The Good Cop (Netflix).

It can be hard these days to find a TV drama that’s not marred by gratuitous crude language and worse, so I took notice of pre-publicity for a new show whose creator was reported as saying “the show I want to produce is playful, family friendly and a celebration of old-fashioned puzzle solving”.

So said Andy Breckman about his new show The Good Cop (Netflix) which launched last Friday, so I was very keen to tune in. It features Tony Danza (star of Taxi and a fine modern version of 12 Angry Men) as well as singer Josh Groban. Danza is the grizzled street-wise cop out on parole after some apparent low level corruption, while Groban is the son, a good cop who plays by the book, obsessively at times. One standing joke is the two of them at a red light, the father saying go ahead it’s broken, the son saying no, we’ll wait a bit. His philosophy – if one rule goes, they all go!

Based on the first episode it’s an amiable show, with likeable characters, a sense of conscience and maybe even spirituality (the son keeps a Bible in his bedside locker). A break from all those dark thriller dramas is welcome, but pacing is a bit limp and it could surely do with some more dramatic tension. However the script is quite witty at times – at one stage the father says to the overly fussy son “you’re making the coffee nervous”, and a lazy cop muses on questions like “why do the Flintstones celebrate Christmas?” and “why does Hawaii have an interstate highway?” (think about it!).


Also launching last Friday night was a welcome new series of Leap of Faith on RTÉ Radio 1. Not surprisingly, Michael Comyn and his guests took a look back on the recent papal visit. However it was disappointing in that it once again covered just the familiar topics of abuse, LGBT issues and the role of women. Not that these shouldn’t be discussed, but they were done to death before during and immediately after the visit, and I heard nothing new here from Patsy McGarry of the Irish Times, Joe Little of RTÉ and Sarah McDonald, freelance journalist on religious matters.

Now, media people might say these were the key issues of the visit, but to a large extent it was the media that made these the almost exclusive filters through which the visit was reported.  There was no mention of the upbeat arts events at the World Meeting, nor even of the Croke Park concert.

The huge variety of talks and topics in the RDS didn’t get a mention, nor did the cheerful and enthusiastic activities in the dedicated spaces for teens and children. Is this positivity not to get a look in at all?

This show needed diverse voices, not just a few guests largely agreeing with each other – we had McGarry referencing Mary McAleese, a lengthy clip of a McAleese interview where she referenced McGarry, a clip from Colm O’Gorman – all singing from pretty much the same hymn sheet.

McGarry did think people engaged with the person of Pope Francis but not with the institution – he didn’t think it would lead to any extra vocations, or any increase in Mass attendance. And maybe he’s right but who knows? He also suggested the visit was too short, with too much trying to be squeezed into such a short time, and maybe that’s true too.

Lead reform

Michael Comyn pointed out that apart from those who attended the Mass in the Phoenix Park, about one million people followed it on TV, and McGarry agreed that many engaged with enthusiasm. Asked by Comyn if Pope Francis was the right man to lead reform he said yes, but that he needed the help of strong people around him convinced of the evils of clericalism.

Speaking of clerics, I hesitate to review Mass per se, but I have to say that the music for last Sunday’s Mass on RTE, under the direction of Fr Liam Lawton was exceptionally good. Fr Lawton’s own parts for the Mass were excellent, but other composers were represented as well – I was impressed by ‘The Lord Will Bless All People’ by David Haas, used for the Responsorial Psalm, ‘Healing Light’ by Karl Jenkins and in particular the ‘Peace Blessing’ of Chris De Silva – a worthy celebration for the World Day of Peace.


Pick of the week
BBC1 Sunday, September 30, 2.30 pm

Seán Fletcher meets people who have managed to forgive in difficult circumstances and those who work for peace.

Virgin Media 1, Sunday, September 30, 4.30 pm

Sarah McInerney returns with a weekly studio show reviewing the week’s news and politics.

EWTN, Tuesday, October 2, 10 am

Fr McCloskey and Harry Crocker address the real causes of the Crusades.

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