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'Da Vinci's Inquest - Season 3'
(Nicholas Campbell, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2008 / Acorn Media)

Overview: As the crusading and charismatic coroner for the city of Vancouver, Dominic Da Vinci has a mandate to determine "the manner and cause of death" in any suspicious accident or crime. To carry it out, he relies on experience and gut instinct—as well as the cops, forensic specialists, and medical experts with whom he works. Together, these investigators probe back alleys and suburban bedrooms to cast light on the shadowy means and motives for murder. Season 3 finds Da Vinci snubbed for promotion, bedeviled by a new bean-counting boss, and haunted by demons from his past.

DVD Verdict: I'll admit my bias upfront. I like this show, and I like what Acorn Media does on DVD. Still, being a skeptic by nature, I did my homework regarding the claims that Acorn's release of the "Da Vinci's Inquest" series was somehow edited from the Canadian versions. What I found was that the Canadian version that some people are praising actually clocks in SHORTER than Acorn's release! So there ...!

However, another thing that seems to be missing from the Canadian release is closed-captioning. Speaking for myself, a few too many rock concerts in high-school have done a number on my hearing, and I love captioning!

Anyway, as for the show itself, I think this series can be best compared to the cult crime show "Homicide." Dominic Da Vinci's comment that he "[speaks] for the dead" very much echoes the attitude of the detectives on "Homicide." Indeed, Da Vinci strikes me as what "Homicide" would have been like had the medical examiner been the main character rather than primarily a supporting role.

Shows like "Law & Order" are entertaining enough, but programs like "Homicide" and "Da Vinci..." go a step beyond that. Where "Law & Order" seldom stretches beyond the generic police procedural drama, "Da Vinci..." makes you feel like you've stepped into a world that is completely concrete. You know that these characters had a life before the episode started and (assuming they're not the victim!) will have one that goes on after.

DaVinci himself is thunderously human, an alkie who still drinks, a man with a broken marriage who has to work daily with his angry ex-wife and who has a beloved teenage daughter with whom he doesn't always connect.

One important thing is that the stories always place work first - the personal lives of the characters are shown, but they never take over the storyline -- no "jumping the shark." A truly great ensemble cast backs up Nicholas Evans, the seemingly inexhaustible actor who plays Dominic. This show is something special so PLEASE buy this third season (and the others) as soon as you can. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Behind-The-scenes Clips
Photo Gallery
Cast Filmographies
Bio of Series Creator Chris Haddock