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This Year, Summer Television Means Dragging in Shows from Canada, England

  • Coroner. The CW. Thursday, August 5, 9 p.m.
  • Hitmen. Available Friday, August 6, on the Peacock streaming service.

Fear not the dog days of August. (At least, on television. War with China and mass starvation are on somebody else’s beat.) TV is turning its multicultural eye to the comparative anthropology of criminal justice systems, and your brain cells will be aflame by the time it’s all over.

Though, I’ll confess, the more interesting thing on The CW’s Canadian import Coroner is dating culture on the great northern tundra. Here, for instance, is the introductory conversation between romantic leads Jenny and Liam: She explains that her husband, who died three months ago of an aneurysm, was a degenerate gambler who defaulted on two mortgages on their home and let his life insurance lapse, throwing the family into hopeless debt.

“So what about you?” she inquires brightly.

“I was in the army, in Afghanistan,” Liam replies. “I killed a bunch of people.”

Lascivious outdoor sex ensues, after which they examine one another’s old bullet-wound scars. You think I’m making this up. I soooo wish.

Coroner, which has already aired for two seasons in Canada, is part of the puzzling summer crop of reruns masquerading as new shows.  It’s the tale of crusading forensic pathologist Jenny (played by Canadian actress Serinda Swan, known mostly for looking a bit like the 1975ish incarnation of Tyne Daly.)

Her city Toronto having apparently already defunded its police department, Jenny has to solve every homicide, but that’s not as weighty a responsibility as it sounds because the criminals, like everybody else in Canada, are pretty nice. (When Jenny asks what one murdered reform-school inmate was in for, a prison social worker earnestly explains: “He was antifa. He was all about the future.”)

Curiously, Canada seems to have a continuing fascination with heroic pathologists. Coroner is at least the fourth show in the country’s TV history

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