Diesel vom Burgimwald is no ordinary pup.
In addition to eating treats, playing with his ball and cuddling his favourite stuffed teddy bear, the two-year-old German Shepherd plays the role of a crime-solving canine on the new Canadian-set police procedural drama Hudson & Rex, premiering tonight on Citytv.
The series stars John Reardon (Scary Movie 4, Continuum) as Charlie Hudson, a dedicated detective in the Major Crimes unit of the St. John’s Police Department. Hudson is meticulous and personable — so much so that when a K9 dog, Rex (Diesel), loses his unit officer in the line of duty, Hudson is the only one who Rex is willing to warm up to.
Subsequently, Hudson gains a new partner on the field, and Major Crimes a new team member with keen canine senses.
“We work on a level that we are both bringing something to the table — our own strengths to solve the crimes,” Reardon says of the unique partnership. “My strengths lie in the deduction and his strengths lie in his ability to detect things that humans can’t.”
Police work aside, Rex’s attention to detail is not the only strength Hudson benefits from on the show.
Reardon said he sees parallels between the positive effects of Ryerson’s therapy dogs on students and Rex’s personal impacts on his character.
“I think Rex is a great partner for Charlie in his personal life as well as on the case because Charlie lives for his work — he doesn’t really have a lot of time for life outside of work — so he has a few blind spots when it comes to his emotional life,” Reardon says. “I think they both need each other for different reasons.”
Though falling in sync with a canine can be challenging, Reardon said his connection with Diesel was quite natural.
Before filming started, the pair spent about a week training and getting comfortable with each other. Reardon described one instance of taking Diesel for a drive and singing him the same songs as his son.
“It was really helpful to be able to have that time because we wanted to build a little bit of trust between us and develop this notion of communicating with each other without words,” Reardon says. “That comes with time and history but it’s what Charlie and Rex are doing, and what John and Diesel are doing, so it’s kind of fun to see that evolution happen at the same time.”
As the series progresses, Hudson and Rex demonstrate the value of teamwork, friendship and communication. Hudson may be able to get the job done alone, but Rex brings a new level of support and companionship that elevates the end result.
It’s also something audiences can connect with, Reardon says.
“I feel like everybody has this type of relationship with somebody,” Reardon says. “We feel comfortable enough with each other that we can give each other a hard time, but then nobody else can. So, you know, it’s kind of like a best friend relationship.”
Ahead of tonight’s 8 p.m. premiere, Reardon offered one very convincing reason for audiences to give Hudson & Rex a chance.
“Tune in or you’ll hurt Diesel’s feelings.”
(Photos: Chelsea Dolan/Ryersonian)