Entertainment

Russell Peters brings tired quips to The Indian Detective: Schneller

CTV miniseries harkens back to Due South, in which Paul Gross played upright Canadian Mountie in Chicago. But here in Due East, Peters is just bland, writes Johanna Schneller.

Russell Peters doesn’t bring anything new to The Indian Detective, writes Johanna Schneller.

Bell Media

Russell Peters doesn’t bring anything new to The Indian Detective, writes Johanna Schneller.

The Show: The Indian Detective, Season 1, Episode 2 (CTV)

The Moment: Dad’s massage

Toronto constable Doug D’Mello (Russell Peters) is visiting his father Stanley (Anupam Kher) in Mumbai. Returning home in midafternoon, Doug hears noises from Stanley’s room — moans? Or moans of pleasure?

Doug cracks the door open. Stanley (fully clothed) is sprawled across his bed. A woman (also clothed) straddles him, massaging his chest. “She’s working on my chi!” Stanley calls out.

Doug shuts the door. “So gross!” he mutters, wincing.

This series obviously harkens back to Due South, in which Paul Gross played an upright Canadian Mountie in Chicago. With Gross, you knew what the joke was: With his impeccable posture, his leading-man looks and his unflappable politesse, he was ever-so-gently sending up Canadian stereotypes.

But here in Due East, Peters is just … bland. He’s not really Indian — however brown Doug may look at home, in Mumbai, he’s a white Canadian. He’s not really a detective — he’s alternately overmatched or underestimated, as suits the vagaries of the plot.

He borrows the tired TV trope of the chubby, ordinary guy who longs for a beautiful woman out of his league — in Doug’s case, two women, his Toronto police partner Robyn (Christina Cole) and his Mumbai neighbour Priya (Mishqah Parthiephal) — but brings nothing new to it, only a few equally tired quips.

And this moment with Stanley is so not-gross — and wouldn’t be gross even if Stanley were having sex, because Stanley is a grown man — it makes Doug look puerile. We’re supposed to root for Doug just because he’s ... there, I guess. But whatever he touches turns to dull.

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