Recap / Due South S 1 E 0 Pilot

Season 1, Episode 0:

Pilot

Somewhere in the Northwest Territories of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Bob Fraser treks through the snowy landscape.

He comes upon a set of suspicious marks and uses his pocket knife to clear away some ice, revealing that a dead caribou is encased within it. As he continues on, he's stopped in his tracks by the sound of a bolt-action rifle being loaded. Though Bob gives a threat to the unidentified gunman that killing him will lead other Mounties to hunt him down, the assailant shoots him and Bob falls down dead in the snow.

Two thousand miles to the northeast, Bob's son, Constable Benton Fraser, mushes through the snow with a pack of wolves. As the officers in a nearby Mountie detachment office talk about Benton's heroics, he marches in with a suspect and throws him into a jail cell. After explaining to his superior officer why he tracked a man for 300 miles in the midst of a bad snowstorm, Fraser receives a fax alerting him to his father's death and reels in response.

Fraser and his loyal half-wolf Canine Companion, Diefenbaker, take a chartered plane to his father's former detachment. Once there, a superintendent named Gerrard tells Fraser that the elder man must have caught a stray bullet and that it was a senseless way to die. Fraser begins an investigation of his own at the death site, and also discovers the dead caribou. He also finds an Inuit hunter who tells him that the caribou died because they "drank too much" of something, which piques his curiosity.

After speaking with the owner of the charter plane that flew him up, Fraser finds out that the man had ferried a group of dentists from Chicago, Illinois a week earlier, and says that they killed their limit of animals before heading home early. He also delivers one of the caribou corpses to a local coroner and asks him to find out exactly why the animal died. Afterwards, Fraser and other RCMP officers attend Fraser Sr.'s funeral.

At a wake held that night, Fraser and Gerrard discuss Fraser Sr.'s past. Fraser asks to be transferred to the RCMP Consulate in Chicago so that he can track down the killers himself. Despite Gerrard's attempts to dissuade him, Fraser remains resolute and turns in his badge. Gerrard's superior, Chief Underhill, authorizes the request.

Fraser boards a passenger flight the following day and flies to Chicago. He is forced to walk into town and eventually finds the Chicago Police Department's 27th Precinct office. Inside, a desk sergeant directs him to Detective Ray Vecchio, who is attempting to woo a prospective garment buyer as part of an undercover sting. Fraser unintentionally blows the sting by referring to Ray as a detective, which causes the other people locked up to glare at him. Afterwards, Ray becomes exasperated when Fraser tells him about the reasons why he came to Chicago, and tells him that the case is in his backlog and he'll get to it when he's ready. Fraser explains that the Mountie who died was his father, leading Ray to realize that he was acting like a jerk.

The next day, Fraser reports for duty at the local RCMP Consulate. After hearing a less-than-rousing job briefing from his superior, Inspector Moffat, he is shown to his new office by Moffat's assistant, Leeann. Fraser initially has some friction with her, but she apologizes and says that she was hoping to get the position he's been assigned to.

Ray visits the Consulate later on and finds Fraser standing motionless on guard duty. After trying unsuccessfully to move him, Ray gives up and gives an update on the case — he tells him that he found the address of one of the alleged dentists on the list. After Fraser gets off work, the duo heads to the address, where another dentist gives them a picture and says that one of the individuals was a friend who accompanied them on the trip and didn't do any hunting of his own. Ray recognizes the individual as Frankie Drake, a local hitman who has prior convictions.

They head to a local bar where Drake was last seen hanging out, stopping on the way to pick up Diefenbaker from the airport's animal quarantine area. When they arrive at the bar, Ray heads inside and immediately runs into friction when he tries to question some of the locals and they pull their weapons on him. Fraser arrives and tries to defuse the situation, but once again blows Ray's cover in the process. Nonetheless, they manage to pull out their weapons and disarm the individuals carrying guns. After this, they see Drake leaving the bar and attempt to stop him, but he pulls out a shotgun and fires several rounds in their direction before fleeing. Drake escapes on a motorcycle and calls an unseen contact before pledging to get rid of Fraser for good...

The following morning, Ray's supervisor, Captain Walsh, chews the duo out after they attempt to honestly explain what led them to the bar. Afterwards, Fraser calls the Canadian coroner he spoke to previously and discovers that the caribou he brought in drowned on dry land. As Fraser struggles to make sense of the situation and what it means, he begins poring through his father's journals and finds a mention of how Bob left him when he was only a boy. Ray visits him and apologizes for how rash he's been over the last couple of days, and says that he sympathizes with Fraser's situation. He invites him to join him and his family for dinner as a way to make amends.

Fraser discovers that the Vecchio family is loud and boisterous. After meeting several people, including Ray's parents and his sister, Francesca, Ray comes to a realization during dinner and tells Fraser that they have to find Drake's wife. They rush out and go to her last known address, and successfully find out that Drake is hiding in an apartment in Chinatown. When they leave, it's revealed that Drake has been in her apartment the whole time, and used her to lure Fraser and Ray into a trap...

The duo arrives at the apartment and Ray calls for backup before they head inside. When they arrive at the apartment, they bust the door down and search inside. Fraser accidentally triggers a tripwire and Ray pushes him through a window before an explosion rocks the building. Ray is seriously injured in the aftermath and Fraser is left stunned at what's happened.

As Ray is recuperating, Superintendent Gerrard arrives and tells Fraser that he'll have to come back to Canada for a hearing and that he shouldn't have been part of the investigation. He orders Fraser to head back with him, but as they're preparing to leave, Drake attacks them in the parking garage. Fraser manages to disarm him and chases him through the parking garage. Just when it appears that he's nabbed Drake and tries to press him for answers, Gerrard appears and shoots Drake dead. He tries to justify his actions to Fraser after the fact, but the latter sees through it as other policemen arrive.

Fraser and Diefenbaker fly back to the Yukon, and he once again visits the site where his father died in order to get some answers. He sees the dam the pilot flew him over a few days earlier in the distance, and is surprised when he comes upon the same Inuit hunter who had previously told him about how the caribou died. The hunter reveals that the construction of the dam has seriously impacted the local ecosystem and is what killed of the caribou. He also claims that he told Fraser Sr. about the matter, but nothing was done. Fraser is disturbed by this revelation.

On his way back, Fraser finds Gerrard waiting for him by a local road and confronts him with the information he's learned. Gerrard reveals that he's the one who covered up the dam's problems, and had Fraser Sr. killed on his orders because he threatened to leave the operation. When Fraser pulls a gun on him, Gerrard tells him he can't, under threat of destroying both his and his father's reputations, before driving off.

Fraser and Diefenbaker trek to his father's old cabin. Inside, he looks through his father's old mementos while trying to figure out what to do. The next day, Gerrard attends a press conference for the next phase of the dam's development. After it completes, the CEO asks him if Fraser will spill the beans on their plans. Gerrard says that he won't talk, but both men are stunned when they walk into the CEO's office and discover a dead caribou lying on the table. The CEO orders Gerrard to take him down.

Fraser loads a shotgun at the cabin before hearing Diefenbaker bark outside. He goes to the door and throws it open to attack, only to discover Ray (wearing an arm sling and a neckbrace) chiding him for not calling for some backup. Fraser is glad to see him, and he explains that he figured out that Drake was connected to Gerrard by the payphone due to the call he made just outside the bar. Ray also reveals that he's brought a number of weapons for the inevitable confrontation.

Gerrard and several of his men arrive soon after on snowmobiles and wielding shotguns and rifles. As one of the assassins tries to spam gunfire into the cabin where Ray is, another tries to attack Fraser in a nearby vehicle shack. Diefenbaker attacks and disables Fraser's attacker, while Ray uses the knowledge of Drake's booby-trapped apartment to set off a tripwire-activated hand grenade to blow up the cabin and several of the attackers. They are then forced to flee by sled as the remaining four attackers pursue them on their vehicles.

Using his knowledge of the environment, Fraser baits several of them into crashing into natural obstacles, while Ray disables the last attacker by jumping onto the man's vehicle and beating him with a stick.

Fraser discovers that Diefenbaker has been wounded in the chase. As he tries to comfort him, he hears a gun cock in the distance. Fraser sees Gerrard a far distance away in a cove, and tells him that it's over using the same words his father once said. Like before, a gunshot rings out, but this time it's Gerrard who falls down wounded. Fraser looks over and sees the Inuit hunter, who feigns ignorance and apologizes for the recent "hunting accidents" before he leaves. Ray arrives and they bring the wounded Diefenbaker and Gerrard back with them.

In the aftermath, Gerrard and the conspirators plead guilty to several charges and the dam's construction is halted. Chief Underhill tells Fraser that the claim that Fraser Sr. was involved in the cover-up was a lie, and that he never was never tied to the project in any way and was framed by Gerrard. Underhill tells Fraser that he'll have to remain stationed in Chicago due to his antics.

Before he leaves Canada again, Fraser repairs his father's cabin and once again takes Diefenbaker with him. After taking another flight back to Chicago, Fraser resumes his guard duties at the Consulate while Ray tries to get him to lighten up a bit. At the end, the man who Fraser gave $100 to earlier walks by and repays the money before giving both of them a nod...

Tropes:

  • Always Gets His Man: A key part of the Mountie philosophy, based on what Fraser and his father do throughout the episode. Fraser Sr. says a Badass Boast to his killer about the Mounties hunting him "to the ends of the Earth" before he's gunned down, and Fraser himself turns in his badge just to follow the trail of the killers to Chicago.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Fraser's Establishing Character Moment. "That's the last time he'll fish over the limit!" Taken Up to Eleven when it's explained that the crook was fishing using dynamite
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Just from outside observation of the environment and the discovery of a footprint in the snow, Fraser (correctly) deduces that whoever shot his father was wearing new boots, drove a Jeep Wrangler and came equipped with several weapons.
  • Badass Boast: Fraser Sr.'s "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner. Fraser later says the same thing while confronting Gerrard at the end of the episode.
    Bob Fraser: You'll shoot a Mountie? They'll hunt you to the ends of the Earth.
  • Book Ends:
    • The episode begins and ends with a sequence where a Mountie (Fraser Sr. and later Fraser himself) threatens an unseen assailant not to fire upon them, upon reprisal from Mounties who will hunt them to the ends of the Earth. However, the situation is reversed in the finale, as Gerrard is shot by the Inuit hunter.
    • The first time Fraser arrives in Chicago, he hitchhikes into the city by walking along a train line (passing a "Welcome to Chicago" sign) at night. At the end of the episode, he does the same thing at the crack of dawn.
  • Brick Joke: The man who Fraser gives $100 to when he first arrives in Chicago comes back to repay his money in the final scene of the episode.
  • Canada, Eh?: The Series.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The dam that the pilot flies Fraser over near the beginning of the episode (causing the latter to remark on how things have changed) is revealed to be the catalyst behind the local environmental problem and Gerrard's attempts to cover up its faults.
    • Fraser tells Ray that he learned a piece of advice from his father — never chase a man off a cliff. During the final battle, Fraser uses this advice to trick one of Gerrard's men into driving straight off a cliff.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Inuit hunter, who shoots and wounds Gerrard just when it looks like the latter is going to kill Fraser.
  • Chekhov's Skill: After Ray sees Fraser unintentionally set off a booby-trapped tripwire in Drake's apartment, he later uses the same trick to kill several of Gerrard's men when they attack the cabin at the end of the episode.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander:
    • The desk sergeant at the police station, sharing his concerns about the loyalty of the pigeons. It's not clear if he was just trying to mess with Fraser or if he was really just mildly unhinged.
    • The other Mounties see Fraser as one of these as well, due to his outrageous Determinator traits.
  • Dead Man Writing: Benton Fraser inherits his father's journals, and reads from them in search of insight in how to solve his problems. Benton and his father hadn't spoken much for years due to their jobs, and now this is the only way Benton can spend any time with him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The other Mountie assigned to the consulate in Chicago is very rude to Fraser when she first meets him, feeling that she has been marginalized because she is a woman, and that Fraser being posted to his position (admittedly due to his own personal connections within the RCMP) prevented her from the opportunity to be promoted into it. To her credit, she realizes how rude she is being and immediately apologizes.
  • Determinator: Fraser exemplifies this. In the opening, his superior officer asks him why he tracked a man for 300 miles through one of the worst snowstorms they've had in years just to bring him in.
  • Dirty Cop: It turns out that several RCMP members were being bribed to cover up the damage being caused by the construction of a new dam. Ultimately subverted when it turns out that Fraser Sr. (who Fraser thought was involved) turns out to have no connection whatsoever with the conspiracy, and Gerrard made the bribes independently.
  • Domestic Abuse: It's implied that Drake beat and threatened his wife not to reveal any information before Ray and Fraser visit her, though this appears to have been part of his plan, as he sets up an ambush in his Chinatown apartment for them to walk into.
  • Eagleland: Fraser is able to determine that a group of hunters were American because they all wore new boots, rode in a jeep, and carried big guns.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Fraser establishes his Determinator/Always Gets His Man tendencies from the get-go, as he walks into the local RCMP detachment after riding for 300 miles to catch a criminal who was using dynamite to catch large amounts of fish.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Bob Fraser. Especially badass considering that he can't even see his killer. He knows he is about to be shot when he hears a hunting rifle's bolt cycling.
    You're going to shoot a Mountie? They'll hunt you to the ends of the Earth.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Bob Fraser, in the opening sequence.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Interestingly subverted. Fraser randomly stops to taste a piece of dirt outside of the apartment complex where Drake's wife lives, but Ray is freaked out by it and the dirt doesn't seem to reveal any pertinent information. After they get the information they need and walk back out, Ray claims that Fraser could taste the peanut shells from the bar, showing that Drake had been to see his wife. Fraser claims that it was actually just a hunch and he tasted the dirt just to make her believe he found something because she was looking out the window at them.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Gerrard had Fraser Sr. executed because he knew about the problems with the local dam and threatened to blow the lid on it.
    • Gerrard also executes Drake to keep him from spilling the beans on the environmental cover-up, then tries to tell Fraser that he was stopping Drake from pulling a weapon afterwards.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Gerrard justifies his Evil Plan to Fraser by claiming that "progress has its price", and Fraser Sr. was killed to protect the livelihoods of many local residents who rely on the dam for power and utilities.
  • Idiot Ball: Gerrard and Drake have several chances to kill Fraser, but fail to do so due to their own botched planning. Drake cocks his shotgun and waits for several seconds right beside the passenger-side door, allowing Fraser to kick it open and disarm him. T He hidden revolver Drake pulls from his ankle holster has no ammo loaded in it, even when he has the opportunity to fire a round point-blank into Fraser's head. Gerrard shoots and kills Drake instead of Fraser, who doesn't realize that Gerrard is an enemy and has no reason not to doubt him at that point in the story.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Francis Drake, "like the explorer".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • When Fraser arrives at the 27th Precinct, he deliberately botches Ray's undercover work by walking into the holding cells and asking for a "Detective Armani". Cue the other inmates beginning to threaten Ray, who becomes exasperated now that his cover has been blown.
    • He does the same thing again in the bar when he busts in and blows Ray's cover with the locals, although it was shown that Ray was in a bit of trouble after several people held him up while interrogating him.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: One of the patrons wielding a gun in the bar points out that Fraser (a Canadian Mountie) has no jurisdiction in Chicago. Fraser says that the man is right, and goes into a long-winded explanation about how his service pistol has no ammunition and he doesn't have the right to intervene. He then points out that Ray does have authority, causing the latter to whip out a hidden pistol in an ankle holster and demand that everyone else disarm.
  • Oblivious to Love: Fraser himself, who doesn't seem to pick up that Francesca is romantically interested in him.
  • Pilot Movie
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: By the end of the episode, Fraser is not well-liked by his chain of command, and is permanently assigned to Chicago. The alternative was to send him to Russia, but his old boss, who rather liked him, decided to just leave him in Chicago where he had at least made one friend.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fraser's blue to Ray's red. Fraser is polite, by-the-book, and generally expects the best of people. Ray is rude, works on gut instinct, and expects the worst from people. So basically they're Anthropomorphic Personifications of their National Stereotypes.
  • Spotting the Thread: Fraser figures out that the supposed "garment buyer" Ray was undercover talking to when they first met is not who he said he was, as he had a hole in his shoe and someone with that level of prestige wouldn't be caught dead with ratty clothing.
  • Stupid Good: Fraser skirts the line, as he has no problems giving $100 to a man in the Chicago airport who looks like a criminal and gives him a seemingly made-up story about how he needs money to help pay for his daughter's surgery. Becomes a Brick Joke when the same man shows up later and repays the money Fraser gave to him.
  • Trash the Set: Fraser Sr.'s cabin is blown apart by the booby-trapped grenade during the climactic fight, though Fraser later restores it to its original glory before heading back to Chicago.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Fraser turns in his RCMP badge when he is told he can't go to the United States to follow up on the investigation of his father's killer. In order to keep him from leaving, the RCMP decides to give him his transfer to the Canadian Consulate in Chicago.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Constable Brighton seemingly exits the story altogether after Fraser escorts her to a taxi after a day in the office, and isn't seen again for the rest of the series.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/DueSouthS1E0Pilot