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Series / Almost Paradise

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Almost Paradise is a 2020 Detective Drama show executive produced by Dean Devlin and Gary Rosen (who previously worked on The Librarians together) and staring another Librarians alum, Christian Kane, as lead Alex Walker (who also worked with Devlin on Leverage) alongside a bunch of Philippine-based actors/actresses due to the show being co-produced by ABS-CBN and Electric Entertainment. It's schedule to air 10 episodes on WGN America and it's available via Amazon Prime. While the language used is English, there are subtitles for non-English languages, including Tagalog.

Alex Walker (Kane), a former DEA agent who was forced into early retirement. Once the DEA’s most resourceful undercover operative, the combination of his partner’s betrayal in a joint operation with the Spanish National Police in Barcelona and a life-threatening battle with hypertension has made him decide to leave the agency and live in Cebu as an expat, where he's employed by Paradise,note  a resort hotel located in Mactan. While Alex is content to start all over (and while just leaving his only daughter Evelyn to attend her university studies in America), he ruins a Mactan Police-led undercover op. From there, Alex does lend a hand to his new friends in the MPD by using his law enforcement experience while trying to ensure that he pays the bills in Paradise (mostly for rent and other utilities that he may encounter in the hotel) and attends to the needs of the hotel's guests.

On June 4, 2020, Devlin announced that all of the show's episodes will be on a streaming platform to gauge potential fan reception for a Season 2, as he was told by WGN America that they cannot back him for Season 2 due to their change in their channel's format (specifically into NewsNation). However, IMDBTv announced that they are willing to back the production of Season 2 depending on how many people are able to watch it online via their website.

In February 2022, it was renewed for Season 2, which will be streamed via Freevee. The episodes streamed online on July 21, 2023.

The show has the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Prior to them discovering the presence of Alex in Mactan, and him occasionally lending his aid, it was apparent that the local police department had little luck at countering the island's criminal element; in the first episode, he practically awes them (and right in the middle of Kai's presentation, no less) with his in-depth knowledge of how drugs are made in and moved from one country or hemisphere to the next without the presiding authorities being the wiser, along with naming to them the most likely culprit factions orchestrating such stock-in-trade. And it also helps that he's a non-Asian since it allows him to better conduct sting operations on their behalf, more convincingly than any Mactan local, when getting up front with foreign criminals. Kai herself got busted this way, in the second episode, simply because the person whom she and Alex were trying to intercept immediately identified her as not the person he was supposed to meet, all because she was obviously native to the island. Later, after hearing that Alex was rushed to the hospital after a stroke, Kai, Ernesto and Ike all went there to check up on him - showing just how much of a close friend and ally-slash-asset Walker is to them, whom they cannot afford to lose.
  • Action Girl: Kai is dedicated to her job as a police officer and definitely able to throw down with anyone who test her.
  • The Alleged Car: Alex's boat frequently breaks down, often when Alex needs it to go somewhere.
  • The Alleged House: Alex did see the gift shop before he bought it but it was fifteen years ago. In the present, the gift shop is in a serious need of repair and the furniture is falling apart. It takes Alex quite some time to fix it up enough that it can be opened up as a business again. It is then subverted when it is revealed that the building is built solid enough to withstand the area's frequent monsoon storms.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Not three seconds after Evelyn snaps at Alex that she no longer wants him in her life, he collapses to the ground, the stress of her Calling the Old Man Out having aggravated his heart condition, and has to be wheeled to the Emergency Room.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Alex goes to a lot of trouble to have a large stuffed marlin hanging in the gift shop. His friends point out that marlins are not native to the area but Alex insists that it is his good luck charm. In a later episode we find out that the marlin is hollow and Alex uses it to store his guns.
  • Chekhov's Skill: When she was 10 years old Alex taught Evelyn how to free herself from plastic zip ties. This comes in handy when she is kidnapped and restrained with plastic zip ties.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Even ignoring the fallout from his time with the DEA, Alex didn't have a very good childhood, apparently losing his parents in some unspecified way when young and being raised by his less then ideal Con Artist uncle who frequently made Alex part of his cons.
    • Kai was a former juvenile delinquent who cleaned up her act when her mother was murdered when she was young.
  • Faking the Dead: Alex and the Team do this for his Uncle Danny in order to get a hitman off his back.
  • Fair Cop: Kai fits the bill.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Despite starting off on the wrong foot, Alex grows close to Kai and Ernesto the more he is called in to assist them, down to the point where Evelyn refers to them as his "new family."
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Mactan Police Department, which does not exist since the Philippine National Police is the main police force providing general law enforcement functions to the Mactan area.
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus in "Lone Wolf" shows the State Bureau of Investigation under the Department of Local Affairs, standing in for the National Bureau of Investigation.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Alex suffers one thanks to Evelyn showing up on his doorstep and chewing him out for missing out on most of her life between his undercover assignments during his DEA days and him splitting for Cebu afterward.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In S 2 E 6 Ghost Month, Alex may be haunted by the hungry ghost of Victim of the Week Ivan Ramos after deliberately breaking several taboos like don't take photographs after dark and don't take the last bus. Alternatively, he could have seen Ivan's photograph on the memorial wall and had hallucinated him after being told about hungry ghosts. The episode leans toward magic, as Ivan says goodbye to Alex after the crime is solved.
  • Not So Remote: The opening has Alex talking of having visited the island years ago and loved how quiet it was. He figures this remote spot will be the perfect place to retire...only when he gets there, he discovers the "quiet" island has now become a hugely busy cruise ship port and tourist destination to add to his stress.
  • Papa Wolf: Evelyn gets kidnapped. Cue Alex arming himself with enough ammo to practically level Cebu and tracking down the people responsible with no outside info. Unfortunately, the Big Bad behind her abduction was counting on this.
  • Running Gag:
    • A sad one for Alex as he tries to gets his disability pensions paid up in time. This is explored in "Finding Mabuhay" where he insists that the pension was there is due to Todd Carpenter double-crossing the joint DEA-SNP task force. In general, the 'late pay' running gags are rather a common and recurring element in many Philippine-broadcasted sitcoms and gag shows.
      • In connection to this, Alex tends to be highly impressed by how big payouts can be for some activities on the island, only for the locals to point out how little the amounts come out to in dollars.note  Again, it's mainly justified by Alex living on pension and whatever profits he can turn from the giftshop.
    • Alex does not have a car and is usually broke so regularly has to ask Kai or Ernesto to drive him to his destination. When Alex's daughter Evelyn shows up, Kai and Ernesto wonder how a father and daughter can be so different until Evelyn asks them for a ride to the airport and they finally acknowledge that she is a Walker.
    • Alex often has trouble understanding words spoken in Tagalog and had to be translated for him by Ernesto, like in the first episode where a local gangbanger tries to intimidate him in the native tongue or when he has to be told the Filipino equivalent of the word "typhoon" just when one was brewing outdoors leaving his gift shop unprepared and completely vulnerable, leading up to scenarios and confrontations at his expense.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: The local gangs can be dangerous but they are mostly small-time. However, Mactan's recent growth as a tourist town has attracted many foreign criminals who like to use the location as a new place to do business. In the pilot a Malaysian drug lord wants to use the area to manufacture a new synthetic form of heroin and he recruits the local gangs as his muscle. He kills the one gang leader who prefers to remain independent then sends out a hit on Alex upon learning (and that was mostly Alex's fault, seeing that he unwittingly interfered a Mactan PD sting in a coffee shop after shopping for some basic DIY renovation supplies for his gift shop) that there is an ex-DEA on Mactan, just to send out a message.
  • Scenery Porn: The series show off beautiful shots of Mactan, which drew a portion of its viewers.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Working undercover jobs as a DEA agent will take a serious toll on your family life if you aren't able to maintain contact with them and splitting for another country, even if it's on the doctor's orders, without taking them with you compounds the problem. Alex ends up divorced with an estranged daughter as a result.
  • There Are No Therapists: Thus far averted, as therapy both physical and mental is part of Alex's hypertension treatments. Whether or not Alex actually does his part to participate in his own therapy is another matter though, but for the most part he tries and is seen talking to his doctor.
  • Truth in Television: Given that English is one of the Philippines' national languages and lingua franca other than Tagalog, it justifies a lot of the language's usage in the show; as an American, it still allows Alex to communicate with the locals well enough.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: It's set in the Philippines, largely in and around Cebu, so.