Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The culture clash between the U.S. and Canada was at the heart of the lighthearted weekly, hour-long police drama Due South, the first instance since the days of Sergeant Preston and Dudley Do-Right that an American network featured a series about a Canadian mountie. Paul Gross starred as Constable Benton Fraser of the RCMP, who in the series' two-hour pilot episode left the Great White North and headed to Chicago in pursuit of the miscreant who murdered his father, also a mountie. Accompanying Frasier on his Southward trek was his pet wolfhound Diefenbaker, who suffered from "selective deafness." Although Benton got his man, his methods proved so embarrassing to his superiors that it was thought best to keep him out of Canada for a while and to assign him to the Chicago Canadian Consulate. Here, the naïve, effusively polite mountie was teamed with tough, street-smart police detective Raymond Vecchio (David Marciano) of Chicago's 27th Precinct, who befriended the fish-out-of-water Brendon despite the glaring personal and professional differences between them. Both Fraser and Vecchio were directly answerable to short-tempered captain (and later lieutenant) Harding Welsh (Beau Starr), while Fraser took additional orders from the local Canadian consulate, where, beginning with the series' second season, his superior was gimlet-eyed Inspector Margaret Thatcher (Camilla Scott). And occasionally, Fraser was guided in his detective activities by the ghost of his father (played by Canadian movie and TV favorite Raymond Pinsent). Other Due South regulars included the 27th precinct's attractive civilian aide Elaine Besbriss (Catherine Bruhier), who was sweet on Benton; and Ray's abrasive sister Francesca (Ramona Milano), likewise attracted to the stalwart mountie. Later in the series, Francesca succeeded Elaine as civilian aide when Elaine joined the police force. At the beginning of the series' third season, Benton returned from a visit to Canada to find that his apartment had been torched and Ray Vecchio had disappeared. It was soon revealed that Ray had gone on an undercover assignment for the A.T.F.; Benton's new partner was Det. Stanley Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie), who posed as Vecchio so that Ray's cover wouldn't be blown. Making its American debut September 15, 1994 on CBS, Due South was canceled by the network at the end of its first season, but because of the series' popularity in Canada (where it was filmed), that country's CTV network commissioned a second season. The show was brought back to CBS as a mid-season replacement in December of 1995, only to be canceled a second time. Thanks to an influx of funds from various foreign TV distributors, CTV was able to keep Due South alive on Canadian television for an additional two seasons, which were shown in the U.S. in off-network syndication. The show ceased production in early 1998, but remained on CTV's schedule until the end of 1999.