Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jason Priestley has moved postcodes.
The 47-year-old actor and director – who played Brandon Walsh for nine years on the hit 90s teen drama – headlines the detective series Private Eyes.
Based on Canadian author Gare Joyce’s novels (including The Code), the series, which is filmed in Toronto, follows ex-professional hockey player Matt Shade (Priestley), who changes his life when he teams up with fierce private investigator Angie Everett (Supernatural’s Cindy Sampson).
Angie is just one of many women in his life. There is also his visually impaired daughter, Jules (Jordyn Negri), ex-wife Becca (Nicola De Boer, The Dead Zone) and Angie’s mum Nora (Unreal’s Mimi Kuzyk).
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Private Eyes is a homecoming of sorts for Canadian-born Priestley, who confesses while he will not be resurrecting his past ice hockey skills, he is more than happy to be able to showcase some of the other attractions of his birth country.
“It’s been a lot of fun to shoot a show in Toronto and not have to hide the CN Tower or change all the street signs because you’re pretending to be somewhere else,” Priestley says.
“Toronto is the third-largest city in North America now. It’s an incredibly vibrant, multi-cultural, very historic city that has a massive population. It’s a city that’s a destination for people from all around the world so why try to pretend it’s somewhere that it is not.
“Our show certainly is a love letter to Toronto and everything that it has to offer. We utilise some things in the city, and maybe showcase sights that people aren’t that familiar with, which is exciting for us.”
One of the most-watched new series on Canadian television last year, Private Eyes has already been sold to dozens of countries.
It is currently filming its second season with guest stars including William Shatner and Indycar driver James Hinchcliffe.
It is a particularly sweet success for Priestley who first saw the potential for a television series when he read Gare Joyce’s Brad Shade novels.
“I really like the world that Gare had created for these characters to live in and I really liked Matt and I really liked Jules and I really liked his ex-wife who is a big part in the books too. I liked that whole dynamic,” he says.
“I liked the idea of playing a guy who is sort of going through a mid-life crisis and trying to figure out what he wants the rest of his life to look like and who he wants to be for the rest of his life.
“And a guy who is constantly challenged by all the women that he has around him. Whether it’s his daughter or his ex-wife or his co-worker, he’s constantly being challenged by women. The opportunity to get to play in that sandbox was one that I took advantage of.”
The result is a whodunit that is also funny, with the attraction between the two detectives a nod to the 80s series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.
“Moonlighting – that’s really one of the touchstone programmes that we were looking at when we developed this show,” Priestley says.
“We sort of saw that there wasn’t anything like that on TV at the moment and we wanted to try to create something that could fill that void in the marketplace.”
The first season episodes cover everything from identity theft to horse rustling.
“It’s a little adventure every week. Obviously there’s the procedural whodunit aspect but the show is also a lot of fun,” Priestley says.
“They design a lot of shows these days so you have to binge watch them almost because there’s so many moving parts in them. Our show is one you can drop in and watch anytime and you’ll never be on the outside of anything.”
Private Eyes, Vibe, starts Tuesday May 9.
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