TV reviews: EndGame and Jo

TV reviews: EndGame and Jo
In Endgame, Shawn Doyle (left) plays a genius Russian chess master, and French actor Jean Reno (right) shares the spotlight with Paris sights in Jo.

UNITED STATES - Every crime-buster on television at least goes out the front door to do some investigating.

But not highly temperamental and pompous Arkady Balagan (Canadian actor Shawn Doyle from Big Love), in the light, highly improbable Canadian crime series, Endgame.

He does not go anywhere because after his fiancee was killed in a carpark (a recurring mystery here), he suffers from agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) so dramatically acute that in one episode which requires him to venture out, he is fitted with a bag over his head like the Elephant Man.

Actually, he is not even a cop.

Instead, Balagan is a Russian former world chess champion, a prima donna so brilliant and brilliantly eccentric he walks around barefoot in a bathrobe anywhere he pleases in a swanky hotel, the Huxley, which he calls home.

Everyone, including the stressed-out hotel manager who chases him for unpaid bills and the bone-headed resident security officer (Glee's Patrick Gallagher) he mocks freely, is a mere pawn in his cerebral kingdom.

Oh, here we go again, another escapee from the Weirdo Detective Asylum which also churns out oddballs from Monk, The Mentalist, Psych, Numbers, Perception, et cetera. This time, it is a chess master as a crime master.

The deal here is that Balagan is such an amazing brainiac he solves cases by re-imagining and re-enacting them from various angles - suspects pop up as little pieces on a chessboard to talk to him - and letting his adoring minions (a hot-babe bartender, an eager student) do the legwork for him.

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