The Border: Season One

The Border: Season One
As someone who works as an investigator specializing in criminal patterns and emerging modes of electronic fraud, this reviewer has a particular insight into the material offered up on The Border. Much of the terrorist Intel is surprisingly insightful and well researched, taking into account the many complexities involved, such as inter-community lawbreaker interactions and sideline criminal enterprises unknowingly exploited for the purpose of terrorist financing via the obscuration of funds sourcing. What is missing, however, are the many legal barriers and obfuscated privacy rulings that law enforcers are trapped behind when dealing with known criminals, in addition to the naturally dark sense of humour that one develops about malefactors when dealing with corruption and seediness on a daily basis. Otherwise, the show tackles immigration and criminality in a sober light, occasionally embellishing some trafficking realities for dramatic impact, but tackling the touchy subject matter with a politically "fair" vision. The show follows an elite squad of Canadian Immigration and Customs Security led by Major Mike Kessler (James McGowan) as they battle illegal immigration, terrorism, kidnapping and weapons smuggling. Character conflicts arise occasionally, with Leyla Hourani (Nazneen Contractor) struggling morally after shooting a 15-year-old in the line of duty, and computer expert Slade (Jonas Cherniuk) dealing with some relationship problems in his private life, but the show sticks most to episodic investigations. Artistically, The Border takes some time to find its footing, with some early episodes having ludicrous plotlines, expositional character development and disastrous cinematography, but by the mid-season point the show finds a balance and sticks with it until the end. In addition, while the show features solid research, some of the writing is extremely clunky and the performance from Nigel Bennett as CSIS agent Andrew Mannering often seems like that of a tall, thin woman who just wants to make a coat out of Dalmatians. The DVD set includes a commentary on the pilot episode, in addition to some very brief interviews. Aside from the cheap interface, the most interesting features are the excerpts from the TVO documentary series The Undefended Border, which details the day-to-day lives of immigration officials on the job. (VSC)