A powerful introduction to this series! It contains everything I look for when being introduced to a series: storyline and characters.
It instantly grabbed my attention when the episode opened with Nick's "conversion" to vampirism; then it flashed forward 800 years to the present. In that scene a display case in the ROM containing a Mayan goblet is shattered and a guard is slain. Opening credits complete with atmospheric music and a deeply haunting voiceover by LaCroix and I'm hooked for good.
As the story unfolds, we quickly learn that somewhere the stolen goblet has a twin and together they hold the key to Nick becoming human again. This episode also effectively introduces the viewer to the regular cast, and I was pleased to see that the actors seemed very comfortable working with each other rather than going through a break-in period.
Nick is assigned to team up with Det. Schanke. Schanke is coarse and insensitive, seemingly incapable of tactfulness when tact is needed. He'll set any partner's teeth on edge. Then we have Dr. Natalie Lambert, a pathologist who is very good at her work and shares Nick Knight's secret; she is working to find a cure for his vampirism. And rounding out the list of police characters comes Captain Stonetree, the long-suffering head of Homicide. He not only must keep things running smoothly internally, but is the man the public pressures for answers when controversial cases hit Homicide's blotter.
LaCroix and Janette--the vampires who brought Nick over--appear regularly through flashbacks to previous times. They are very much in present day Toronto and encounter Nick near the end of this first installment.
Other things that make this opener really work: 1)The viewer's introduction to Nick's extremely acute senses. While driving through town with Schanke, Nick hears a violent hostage situation occurring a good distance away. An exciting sequence follows in which the two detectives confront a machine-gun wielding dope addict; Nick uses his otherworldly powers to neutralize and take out the addict. 2) The music score really gets the blood pumping, especially in the scene at Janette's bar, The Raven.
And finally, two other complications provided immensely enjoyable fare for me. First, aside from the murdered museum guard being a genuine vampire victim, a serial killer roams the streets murdering the homeless and draining their blood. Thus, a citywide "vampire panic" exists. Second, the museum's curator, Alyce Hunter, discovers a photo of the archeological team that originally found the jade goblet many decades earlier. There stands Nick Knight in the photo. Curious, confused and suspicious, Dr. Hunter secretly follows him around.
This initial entry works perfectly for me. Between the flashbacks to LaCroix and Janette in earlier parts of Knight's life, an excellent murder mystery and Nick dealing with his own inner conflicts I couldn't ask for more. As Nick races off to meet LaCroix at Part 1's conclusion (with Alyce hot on his trail), one is left with the sense that Part 2 will have quite a denouement.