I admit it. I am a bit surprised by how much I like this series. I was prepared for another cliche-ridden plot, peopled with stock characters and predictable conclusions, etc. After all, who hasn't seen this sort of series in some other iteration before? Let's face it, the concept of a female detective, going toe-to-toe with chauvinistic colleagues and hardened criminals -- while simultaneously juggling the demands of a family -- is not exactly a new theme. And yes, the series has some flaws. Irene has a improbably supportive (not to mention, gorgeous) husband who not only does all the cooking, but sets out vintage wine with cheese and fruit when she come home after a long and stressful day(Really? In my house, I'd be lucky to be pointed in the direction of the bag of chips); her teenaged daughters are pretty, talented, and generally well-behaved; Irene moves effortlessly between languages (she even has a smattering of Chinese); she has earned a black belt and spends hours in the dojo; still, she manages to fit in her morning run and apprehend the bad guys. Where does she find the hours in the day? Further, she is surrounded by some fairly stock characters: for example, the hard-bitten Jonny, a cop of the "old school" who, despite his predictable run of politically incorrect declarations, still seems to respect Irene and works well with her; the gruff but supportive boss, the ambitious younger female, just waiting to step into Irene's shoes, etc. Somehow, though, this series is ultimately compelling. It rises above the cliches that have weighed many another series down. Irene does have doubts (worrying that her husband is a bit too good to be true). She loses her cool demeanor occasionally. She doesn't always get things right -- at home or at work. Angela Kovacs plays Irene with great subtlety and that goes a long way in making her character seem real, despite the improbabilities. Furthermore, the ensemble acting is equally excellent; the plots are inventive; and the settings are fresh and intriguing. Overall, it's a very good series, indeed.