As a rule, I don't like getting my ass kicked for free.—Hank Dolworth
Terriers is a Detective Dramedy, created by Ted Griffin and co-executive produced by Shawn Ryan, that premiered on FX in the fall of 2010. Critics have made favourable comparisons to The Big Lebowski and Brick.
Hank Dolworth (Donal Logue) is an ex-cop and a recovering alcoholic who makes his living as an unlicensed Private Detective in Ocean Beach, California, along with his partner Britt Pollack (Michael Raymond-James), a reformed thief. They typically get jobs from their lawyer Maggie, some reluctant police help from Hank's former partner, Detective Mark Gustafson, and usually part of the mix each episode is Hank's ex-wife Gretchin and her new fiance Jason, and Britt's girlfriend Katie. Life is cruisey, until the duo agree to take on a job from real estate developer Robert Lindus that involves tracking down Eleanor Gosney, the daughter of Hank's old buddy Mickey. Cue a murder, a scandal, and the beginnings of the biggest and most dangerous case Hank and Britt have ever had to deal with.
The show only lasted one season.
- Addiction Displacement: Mark Gustafson quit smoking, but he always keeps an empty cigarette holder in his mouth because he likes the familiar feeling.
- Affably Evil: Ben Zeitlund.
- The Alleged Car: The "Gomez Brothers" pick up that Hank and Britt share.
- Amateur Sleuth: Hank, a former cop, and Britt, an ex-con.
- Amoral Attorney: Zeitlund again.
- And the Adventure Continues...: Possibly, if the boys decided to go straight at that traffic light and head for the Mexican border.
- Big Bad: Ben Zeitlin.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Steph. However, she's perfectly aware that she's mentally ill.
- Corrupt Cop: Reynolds is revealed to be a serial rapist in "Sins of the Past"
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Robert Lindus. And, at the end, Tom Cutshaw.
- Defective Detective: Hank, albeit a low-key one.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Subverted when Britt tries to fake a car crash.
Hank: What, did you think the car was going to explode?
- Framing the Guilty Party: After Lindus orders a hit, Hank and Britt hide the murder weapon in his house.
- They do this again to Britt's former partner to get him off Britt's back in "Change Partners"
- Friend on the Force: Gustafson. Though "loose friend" or "ex-friend" might be more accurate; Hank and Gustafson were partners back when Hank was on the force.
- Heroes Love Dogs
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Hank and Britt.
- Hollywood California: Magnificently averted; the show is revels in its depiction of metro San Diego.
- Ho Yay: Hank and probably half the male cast, but with Britt especially.
Britt: Will you visit me in prison?
Hank: For conjugal visits, yeah.
- Gustafson even refers to Britt as Hank's boytoy.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Almost everything in the first season is connected to something that resolves in the finale.
- The Jinx: Even though it hasn't been explicitly brought up, Hank, considering he was partly responsible for Jason and the informant's death in "Quid Pro Quo", the husband's suicide in "Change Partners", and Lindus's imprisonment and death. Poor guy.
- Kansas City Shuffle: It seems as though the bad guys want to stop Hank, Britt and anyone else from revealing the results of the geological survey, so our intrepid detectives figure out a way to leak the survey to Gustafson, thereby shutting down the development on that land... which winds up being exactly what the bad guys want, as Hank realises once he learns that the survey's results were faked.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Hank proves to be one in the pilot.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Literally Steph.
- The Man Behind the Man: Tom Cutshaw.
- Mr. Fanservice: Britt: A blue collar Loveable Rogue, who has his problems, but always puts his educated, beautiful girlfriend first. And is very often shirtless and boyishly grinning while doing do.
- Monochrome Casting: Pleasantly averted.
- No Ending: Frustratingly so, since the show only lasted one season. In the final scene of the series, as Hank is driving Britt to prison so that he can serve out his assault sentence, they get to a stoplight. Hank tells Britt to make a choice: they can either turn right and continue on to the prison, where Britt can pay his debt to society and look forward to many years as a family man...or they can drive straight and head for the Mexican border, where they can look forward to many unpredictable years on the run from the law. The screen cuts to black just as the light turns green, and we hear an engine rumbling...but we never get to see which direction they went.
- Non-Indicative Name: Detective Gustafson is an African-American.
- The title of the show itself.
- Origins Episode: "Sins of the Past"
- Police Are Useless
- Private Detective: 'Natch.
- Rian Johnson: Directed the fifth episode, "Manifest Destiny."
- Real Life Relative: Donal Logue's younger sister Karina as Hank's sister Steph.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hank and Britt trade places constantly. In the first half, Hank is the red oni to Britt's blue oni. About midway through, Britt crosses into red oni territory when he has a breakdown after discovering Katie's infidelity, and Hank becomes the blue oni as he tries to balance him out.
- Shaped Like Itself
Hank: You know what this reminds me of? The time we had to climb down the ravine to the car we crashed with the dead guy inside.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Subverted by Katie who seems to harbour no desire for Britt to get a "real" job and even gets turned on by the revelation he first met her after finding out where she worked while robbing her apartment
- There Are No Therapists: Averted. Hank seems to think this. Steph - y'know, the actual schizophrenic - is the one who convinces him she needs professional help.
- Tim Minear: Executive producer, and writer of episode 11, "Sins of the Past." Unfortunately living up to his fan nickname of The Tim Reaper.
- Title Drop: Subverted in the second episode. Britt decides they need a mascot, and he and Hank try to come up with an animal that will represent how they latch onto cases and never let go (a stereotypical trait of terriers). They can't think of anything.
- The Un-Reveal:
- We never do find out what was on that photo that the boys used to blackmail Tom Cutshaw.
- We also never find out the results of Katie's paternity test, since Britt tells her outright that he doesn't care if he's the father or not--he plans to be there for the child either way.
- Wham! Episode: "Quid Pro Quo". Culminating with Jason getting killed in the liquor store
- Word of God: The producers have revealed what would have happened in Season 2 Britt decides to do his time. While he's in prison, Katie delivers the results of the paternity test which reveals Britt IS the father.
- Your Cheating Heart: Katie.