Photo: Craig Blankenhorn / NBC

Logue Connection

Sarah digs Donal, even in mediocre projects; here's why.

I can't lie: the first two things that brought Donal Logue to my attention -- the "Jimmy the cabdriver" spots for MTV, and The Tao of Steve -- bugged the shit out of me. Logue himself didn't; it's not his fault that MTV overdid it with Jimmy during Real World marathons in the pre-DVR era, or that Dex's studied aloofness with women appealed with such a literal intensity to the indie-film dorks with whom I surrounded myself. And as a crushable type, he's right in the Buntsy wheelhouse: a big old Hibernian gingerbread bear who looks good in long hair or a sharp suit. I really liked him as Chuck on ER (what is it with me and dudes who played paramedics on that show? I've had a thing for Ron Eldard for 20 years!).

Still, I didn't consider him a dealmaker until recently -- and I'm that one person besides Mrs. Logue who watched all of Knights of Prosperity. ("Don't look at me, I bailed when they changed the name from Let's Rob Jeff Goldblum." - Mrs. Logue.) The late great Terriers played a part in making Logue essential viewing for me; although I admired that show more than I loved it, its genius lay in imagining what these two somewhat irregular regular guys would do in various unexpected and extraordinary circumstances. It's what Stephen King used to do better than anyone, in his earlier work -- keeping the humanity of a supernatural situation in the foreground -- and it's actually what makes Logue so reliably quality. He doesn't always play the same guy (sometimes he's a villain, sometimes he's just some shitbag) and he doesn't always pick scripts perfectly (…SVU; more on that in a sec), but Donal Logue is always a guy you know, whether it's a good guy or a dicksmack or your brother's friend who always makes you laugh with Archer quotes.

…So: SVU. This is when I realized that Logue improves shows and subplots just by existing, because the "Rollins spirals down…aaaagain" episode…I mean, you know? My attitude as of the episode's airdate was "let's just get this over with," but then there's Logue, his brogue, and his suit with the gangster break on the pantlegs that cost more than my car, sleazing at Rollins in his Irish caporegime drag, and my first thought, I regret to inform you, was "That's…kinda hot." Then it turned out he's NYPD, undercover his own self and not about to make Rollins hum for her supper, and I'm like, "That's even better!" And then William Lewis escapes, because of course he does, and Logue's Lt. Murphy rolls into SVU; relieves Benson of acting command, thank God; makes a bunch of snarky comments about how she shouldn't get used to the captain's office; and immediately gets on Amaro's nerves, and stays there through the most recent episode, during which Amaro petulantly slammed the door of Murphy's office and Murphy was like, "Whatever, ass." Preach, my ginger brother. Lt. Murphy also wears his glasses pushed girlishly up on his head, sort of holding his hair back, which he did in Terriers and is probably more Logue himself than his characters, but it goes to my previous point -- it's such a regular-guy, who-cares bit of business, and that's what I love about Logue. If he hadn't showed up to bring a much-needed shot of reality to the SVU proceedings, I might have bailed on it at last.

…Hee! Of course I will watch SVU until its last flickering frame, but Murphy has helped make the last few episodes bearable -- and he won't be sticking around thanks to Gotham's full-season pick-up, but since I'll be watching that in no small part because of Logue, that works out nicely. (The other part: Ben McKenzie. Any credits cast from SouthLAnd tends to get me on board with a given project.) I even considered starting to watch Vikings, which is about as solid a chunk of Bunting kryptonite as you'll find in your TV listings, because of Logue. And I feel positive about Logues in general; Logue's sister, Karina, is probably my favorite part of Terriers. But Donal is just appealing; I think he's kind of foxy, but even if marmalade isn't your jam (sorry) (…not really), there's just something comforting about Donal Logue appearing on your screen. You know something interesting is going to happen, even in the midst of stupidity. That's why he's a dealmaker.

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