It was widely reported a few months ago that Fox International Channels had acquired first run pay-TV rights to the new Jean Reno-led French police series, Jo. What wasn't widely reported is that British actress Wunmi Mosaku and French actor Eriq Ebouaney co-star in the series.
And while it doesn't surprise me, it still annoys me when talented actors of color seem to be purposely excluded from the marketing of a film or television project. Don't the show helmers realize that they are neglecting a viewing demographic that could drastically improve their ratings? I mean, we watch television, too, you know.
"FIC has picked up the series in territories that include Latin America, Africa, Italy, Korea, Russia, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Poland and Turkey." C'mon, son . . . how are you going to take the show to Latin America and Africa, and not even promote the fact that it features actors of color?
Regardless of the BS, I plan to watch the 8-episode cop thriller if it ever airs here in the U.S. (or when I'm able to get my hands on a DVD copy of the series.) Jo is produced by Atlantique Productions with Red Arrow International handling sales.
What can we expect from Jo? There's nothing really new here in terms of premise.
"Jo” presents Hollywood superstar Jean Reno as Jo St-Clair, a veteran detective in Paris’ elite Criminal Brigade tackling the city’s most challenging murder cases. “Jo” takes the audience behind the scenes of Paris’ most iconic locations – the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Catacombs, Place Vendome – as we follow St-Clair in his relentless pursuit of justice.
Mosaku plays the role of "young sharp-tongued Coroner Angelique Alassane". I haven't learned how Ebouaney's character fits into the story, but if you squint really hard while watching the trailer, you'll catch a glimpse of the back of his head, sitting at what appears to be a table full of cops.
Why am I so looking forward to watching Jo? I'll give you three good reasons.
Reason #1— I love a good cop series, regardless of who stars in it. But when I learned that Wunmi Mosaku and Eriq Ebouaney would co-star (and IMDB indicates that they both appear in all 8 episodes), I knew for certain that I'd be tuning in. Ebouaney has had a long career in French film and television, and is probably best known for his performance in the titular role of 2000's Lumumba. Mosaku has become quite the police-drama veteran in recent years, with roles on both ITV's Vera and BBC's Body Farm.
Reason #2— Two of the series' directors– Charlotte Sieling and Kristoffer Nyholm— previously directed Swedish TV hit The Killing. If you're like me, and have fallen in love with that riveting series, then I need not say anymore.
Reason #3— In my opinion, the quality of European TV shows is often far superior to our own here in the U.S. Just compare the aforementioned Swedish series to its American-version, and then tell me I'm lying. I even prefer Law & Order: UK to the original (and that's saying something, considering they're the same old stories, retold.)
Jo, shot in English on location in Paris, will air in 2013.