A year ago, when the English remake of "19-2" premiered on Bravo, I thought it was good, but I admitted it wasn't the best cop show I had seen. I feel like I might have to change my statement, because after watching the Season 2 return, I am awestruck.
Look, every hour of "19-2" is quality television and, at times, it can be a little too sombre. The premiere is like nothing you've ever seen (unless you've watched the original Quebec series), from the way it was shot, to every actor (whether it be the stars or the extras) involved, to the subject matter.
"19-2" tackles a high school shooting, and for anyone who lives in a city or town where this kind of violence has occurred, it's a doozy. But the episode might hit Montrealers harder, since not only is the series filmed there, but the storyline was inspired by the events that took place at Dawson College in 2006.
"School" starts off innocently enough, with Ben (Jared Keeso) and Nick (Adrian Holmes) investigating a snake at a daycare, but the cops get a vandalism call to a nearby school -- which rapidly becomes an all-hands-on-deck situation. As Ben and Nick approach the doors, they hear gunshots and it all goes to hell from there.
This is as grim as TV is going to get. "19-2" is already a dark show, but everyone can relate to and feel something when it's something as horrific as a school shooting. Whether you have kids, love a kid or are a kid yourself, you can identify; school should be a safe place, but "19-2" is showing that the world we live in is unpredictable and anything -- good or so very bad -- can happen.
As more and more officers arrive, it gets more and more grisly. "19-2" can sometimes (OK, oftentimes) be an emotionally draining show, but this episode is physically draining as well. As the cops go around combing the endless halls of the school (no, really, how big is this place???) searching for the shooter, the audience is taken on a wild ride.
Every corner the officers round, you heart will race. Every time a shot goes off, you will jump. Every time a kid is hit, you will freak. Every scene is heavy as the officers go from room to room, up and down different stairwells, through long hallways with nowhere to hide in case they do run into the shooter. But it's the shots, whether it's a continuous one that lasts over 10 minutes or just a typical "19-2" shot, in which the camera doesn't focus right away so you can't see what may or may not be about to happen.
It's a powerful, compelling, exhausting hour -- one that definitely should not be missed. Because the note it ends on only paves the way for loads of drama for the rest of the season. You ready for it? Consider yourself warned.
"19-2" premieres Monday, Jan. 19 at 10 p.m ET on Bravo.