“Terriers” [Wednesdays/10pm] has the structure of a comedy but in many way plays like a broken record. Like the aspect of “The Cleaner” on rival cable network A&E, the leads in this new series from FX are wholly broken and that is what makes them interesting to watch. The darkness might play a little too raw for some viewers but it becomes about the balance between the humor and the brimming drama. Donal Logue plays Hank, an ex-cop seemingly bent on his own destruction in very improbable ways. Like a Fisher King doing good deeds on his road to calamity, there is a throughline that points to something bad happening along the way. Michael Raymond James, late of “True Blood”, brings alot of brevity as his would-be partner Britt who has problems of his own. Having talked to Michael at Summer TCAs where he revealed that he and Donal crashed in the same house while shooting the first season [which had already been fully shot], what works the best is the easy going manners between the two of them and how that is balanced by Laura Allen who plays Katie, Britt’s girlfriend.
Over the first three episodes, the sense of Hank’s self-destructive sensibility also begins to affect everyone around him as if he has begun to form a deep black hole where some good is done but ultimately a price is paid. In the third episode which co-stars Olivia Williams, the morality and mortality of Hank begins to take a more realistic turn. Ted Griffin, who wrote “Oceans 11” and created this show, knows how to mix humor and drama but having Shawn Ryan, who worked on FX’s “The Shield” and recent a season of Fox’s “Lie To Me” as show runner shows an interesting balance. Like “Sons Of Anarchy” but with less operatic overtones, “Terriers” has the possibility of great television simply because it understands that human nature is about high and low points wherever they exist. Out of 5, I give it a 3.