16 April 2010 | dunklast
"Everyone lies, everyone cheats"
Canada has been producing a lot of quality television of late with such shows as 'Flashpoint', 'Intelligence', 'Republic Of Doyle' & 'The Border'. 'Cra$h & Burn' is another example of this continuing trend.
Cra$h & Burn is a darkly comedic drama that centers on the insurance industry. It revolves around the character 'Jimmy Burn' who is an insurance adjuster for 'Protected Insurance'. This involves our protagonist swimming in the murky waters that surround the insurance industry. This makes it difficult for Jimmy who is trying to reconcile his checkered past whilst cultivating a brighter future for his fiancée and himself. Jimmy's struggle for a better life is continually challenged by the darker underbelly of corporate life. He has to deal with Russian Mafia come auto mechanics / medical professionals, ambulance chasing lawyers, shady cops and ethically challenged insurance managers. The theme in the show is summed up in the first episode when Jimmy says to his work colleagues in the pub, "God protect them because insurance won't"
All of the characters are fully fleshed out and 3 dimensional and everyone single one is flawed. The drawing of these characters, warts and all is what makes it so interesting to watch. Jimmy is intriguing because each episode unwraps a layer of his darker past. Catherine is sexy because she is cold and all business during the day and a reckless party-girl by night. Pavel is funny because he outlandish and seemingly care-free but also brutal. All of the 'Protected' employees hate their jobs because all of them know that the insurance game is a morally gray which forces them to make unsavoury choices that still fit within the legal framework of the law.
Cra$h & Burn is an engrossing story with brilliant dialog and character development. The show's creator Malcolm MacRury, describes Cra$h & Burn as a mixture of "The Office" and "The Sopranos". I think it's comparable to "The Wire" perhaps due to the calibre of the writing and acting.
This tightly scripted show enables solid performances from Luke Kirby (Jimmy Burn), Leela Savasta (Lucia). The standouts would have to be from Steve Bacic (Pavel the dodgy Russian mobster), Caroline Cave (Catherine the hard-nosed in-house attorney), Clark Johnson (Walker, Protected's insurance investigator).
Personally this show fits into my top 10 list of all-time favourite television shows (a list that includes Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Californication, Firefly, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Spooks & The Wire). There is no news yet of a second season however the fact that BBC world has picked it up gives me hope.
Seeing a show like this pop up on the radar is a welcome change the cheap and frankly pointless deluge of the so-called 'reality TV'. If you like your TV with gritty drama and some giggles thrown in, you won't do much better than 'Cra$h & Burn'.