The Six Most Canadian Moments of 'Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent' So Far

Including Toronto Island, Jean-Pierre Lafrance and a huge maple leaf flag

BY Alex HudsonPublished Feb 28, 2024

Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent made its debut last week (February 22), and oh boy, is it ever Canadian! The CN Tower appears in the background of the very first shot, with a later scene taking place in front of that big "Toronto" sign in Nathan Phillips Square.

In the show, Detective Sergeants Henry Graff (Aden Young) and Frankie Bateman (Kathleen Munroe) solve violent crimes in the GTA. Local references abound.

I'm not all that familiar with Law & Order, so I can't say how this one compares with other versions — but it really stinks! There are quippy one-liners whenever something bad happens, comically ominous synth drones, and the melodramatic acting of bad community theatre. Throughout, I was consistently reminded of Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime, the fake show from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Still, as brutally bad as Law & Order Toronto is, it's extremely Canadian, so there's plenty of fun to be had for local viewers who simply want to spot all the references.

The second episode airs tomorrow (February 29). Until then, here are all the most quintessentially Canadian moments from last week's premiere, titled "The Key to the Castle."

A Fancy Party on the Island
In the show's opening scene, a yacht cruises across Lake Ontario for a fancy crypto party on Toronto Island. Okay, it looks suspiciously like a sound stage with the CN Tower green-screened in the background — but when one character tries to bribe another with a "private island in Muskoka," we know that we're officially in Toronto.

The Currents of Lake Ontario
If there's one thing that Torontonians know, it's that the currents in Lake Ontario move counter-clockwise. Duh! Come on, everybody knows that. Detective Sergeant Henry Graff makes that much clear when, after someone falls into Lake Ontario, investigators begin searching for a body at Marie Curtis Park in Etobicoke. Why focus on the west side? "It's obvious," Graff explains. "It's Lake Ontario — the currents move counter-clockwise. It's the Coriolis effect." Obviously!

Unnecessary Apologies
Canadians are known for apologizing more than is strictly necessary, and that's exactly what happens when a policewoman finds a dead body on the beach. "I got a call to search the beach," she reports to the detectives. "At first I thought it was just some, I don't know, floating garbage. I'm sorry — that sounded really rude."

Jean-Pierre Lafrance
Montreal painter Jean-Pierre Lafrance isn't quite as famous as, say, the Group of Seven, but he does have the most French name imaginable, so it's only natural that L&O Toronto decided to use one of his paintings as a clue (even though it's never brought up again and doesn't pay off in the slightest). "That's a Jean-Pierre Lafrance, right?" Detective Sergeant Henry Graff asks. "Well, if it is a Lafrance, the gallery would have installed it themselves, but it's upside down." Okay?

Aden Young's Accent
Co-lead Aden Young originally hails from Toronto, but he has spent much of his life Down Under and has an Australian accent in real life. As Detective Sergeant Henry Graff, however, he affects an over-the-top Canadian accent like he's been hanging out in Tim Hortons binge-watching Corner Gas and The Red Green Show. It's absurdly fake, but it certainly gets the point across: this is Canada, baby!

Canadian Flag in the Credits
The opening credits show the CN Tower and Nathan Phillips Square — but, just in case those are too subtle, one of the final shots of the sequence is a gigantic Canadian flag flapping in the breeze, making sure viewers really feel that true patriot love.

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