Screening Room

Mip TV Picks 2008: Downbeat

It's hard to understand what life is like in East Van until you've experienced it for yourself. It's estimated that 6,000 junkies call 12 square blocks of downtown Vancouver home, making it a desolation of drug abuse, violence and crime, and enabling it to lay claim to the dubious distinction of having the highest HIV transmission rate in the Western world.
April 3, 2008


It’s hard to understand what life is like in East Van until you’ve experienced it for yourself. It’s estimated that 6,000 junkies call 12 square blocks of downtown Vancouver home, making it a desolation of drug abuse, violence and crime, and enabling it to lay claim to the dubious distinction of having the highest HIV transmission rate in the Western world.

Downbeat is a cop show set against this backdrop. With cameras following officers on the job and at home 24/7, viewers will gain access to this underworld like they have never been able to before. What they will find is a police force that has adapted, and is making use of techniques that would be unheard of in most other metropolises.

Part social workers and part law enforcers, these cops know each abuser by name and know their family histories and stories. Though unflinchingly tough on crime, the force has gone beyond traditional black-and-white policing into a gray area in the hopes that some might be saved from this perpetual cycle of drugs and crime.

Stories about an underground slave trade involving illegal immigrants or a ring of meth addicts running an identity theft business are set against human stories about the officers who work the beat – will a veteran cop finally cave to his wife’s demand that he work a safer beat? Is the rookie tough enough? Or, can one undercover cop finally get pregnant? This series recognizes that behind the drama, there are real people on both sides looking for resolution. Partners: Galafilm (Montreal), with OLN (Canada), through Galafilm
Wrapping: 2009
Length: 10 x 30 minutes
Rights available: All worldwide, excluding English language in Canada

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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