Da Vinci's Inquest is a Canadian dramatic television series that aired on CBC Television from 1998 to 2005. While never a ratings blockbuster, seven seasons of thirteen episodes each were filmed for a total of ninety-one episodes.
The show, set and filmed in Vancouver, stars Nicholas Campbell as Dominic Da Vinci, once an undercover officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but now a crusading coroner who seeks justice in the cases he investigates.
The cast also includes Gwynyth Walsh as Da Vinci's ex-wife and chief pathologist Patricia Da Vinci, Donnelly Rhodes as detective Leo Shannon, and Ian Tracey as detective Mick Leary.
Da Vinci's Inquest was loosely based on the real life experiences of Larry Campbell, the former chief coroner of Vancouver, British Columbia, who was elected mayor of that city in 2002. The part of Da Vinci, however, was written specifically for actor Nicholas Campbell. Elements of the series storylines were also taken from sociopolitical issues faced by the real-life Vancouver, such as the plight of the homeless, the controversy over a designated injection site for drug users, the idea of establishing a red light district, and the disappearance of homeless women and sex workers-similar to the case of Robert Pickton.
Nicholas Campbell received the Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role for his work on the series and has guest-starred in American shows such as Monk and T.J. Hooker. Donnelly Rhodes also received a Gemini Award for Best Actor in 2002 and the Earle Grey Award in 2006. The series was critically acclaimed as the best television series in Canada after winning the Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series for five of its first six seasons. When Da Vinci's Inquest completed its seventh and final season, it was continued in 2005 as Da Vinci's City Hall. In 2002 actress Keegan Connor Tracy won a Leo Award for her guest appearance in Season 5's "Pretend You Didn't See Me" and was brought back for a second appearance in 2005.
Da Vinci's Inquest made its U.S. debut the week of 17 September 2005, when it was already in syndication after the original run. The show continues to air in syndication and airs nationwide on the Retro Television Network. The series is distributed in the United States by Program Partners with ad-sales done by Sony Pictures Television. It formerly aired on Sleuth (now Cloo).
In Australia, it aired late Monday nights on the Nine Network, and its affiliates WIN (although on a different night) and NBN. In mid-2006, the show was replaced with Quizmania. As of early 2007, it has been screening again late on Thursday nights (technically early Friday morning). With the launch of 13th Street on Foxtel on Sunday, November 15, Da Vinci's Inquest has begun airing in Australia again.
It has also been aired in late night slots on RTÉ One in Ireland.
In Iceland, Skjár einn has aired the show in various slots, including Saturday evening.
The show currently airs daily at 3am in the United Kingdom on the Living Channel and on late Saturday evenings in Finland and northern parts of Estonia on Finnish YLE TV2.
In Spain it airs daily on Sony Entertainment España.
In Canada, the new spinoff series, Da Vinci's City Hall, premiered on 25 October 2005. However, after airing a complete first season of 13 episodes, the CBC cancelled the program.
In the U.S., Da Vinci's City Hall airs as part of the Da Vinci's Inquest rerun package, regarded as the eighth season of the series (even using the titles from the last three seasons of Inquest instead of the titles for City Hall). City Hall debuted in the U.S. on Superstation WGN on April 27, 2007, and released into national syndication to local stations, also as part of Da Vinci's Inquest, on November 4, 2007.
A TV movie following up on the two series, The Quality of Life, aired on CBC on June 14, 2008.Nicholas Campbell as Coroner [Mayor in season 8] Dominic Da Vinci
Suleka Mathew as Dr. Sunita "Sunny" Ramen (credited as "Sue Mathew" in the first season) (seasons 1-5 & beginning of 6)
Sarah-Jane Redmond as Sergeant Sheila Kurtz (seasons 2-7, recurring in 8)
Donnelly Rhodes as Detective Leo Shannon (seasons 1-7)
Venus Terzo as Detective Angela Kosmo
Ian Tracey as Detective [Coroner in season 8] Mick Leary
Gwynyth Walsh as Dr. Patricia Da Vinci (seasons 1-4)
Alex Diakun as Detective Chick Savoy (seasons 5-8, recurring in 1-4)
Sarah Strange as Helen (seasons 5-7, recurring in 1-4)
Robert Wisden as Chief Coroner James Flynn (seasons 1-2 & beginning of 3)
Gerard Plunkett as Chief Coroner [formerly Crown Prosecutor] Bob Kelly (seasons 3-7; recurring in 1-2 & 8)
Kimberly Hawthorne as Detective Rose Williams (credited as "Kim Hawthorne") (seasons 4-7)
Simone Bailly as Constable Jan Ferris (season 8)
Stephen E. Miller as Accident Investigator Sgt. Zack McNab (retired in season 8; recurring in 1-7)
Brian Markinson as Police Chief Bill Jacobs (season 8; recurring in 6-7)
Mylène Dinh-Robic as Rita Mah (season 8)
Benjamin Ratner as Sam Berger (season 8)
Emily Perkins as Sue Lewis (seasons 1-7)
Robert Clothier as Joe Da Vinci (season 1)
Joy Coghill as Portia Da Vinci (seasons 1-5)
Duncan Fraser as Staff Sgt. Regan (season 1 & beginning of 2)
Terry Chen as William Chen (seasons 3, 4, 6 & 7)
Lee Jay Bamberry as Det. Roy LaBoucane (seasons 2-5)
Max Martini as Danny Leary (seasons 1-4)
Jewel Staite as Gabriella Da Vinci (seasons 1, 3-4)
Colin Cunningham as Detective Brian Curtis (seasons 5-8)
Camille Sullivan as Detective Suki Taylor (seasons 5-7)
Alisen Down as Dr Maria Donato (seasons 6-8; Down also appeared in seasons 1 & 2 as guest characters)
Peter Williams as Morris Winston (seasons 1-5)
Patrick Gallagher as Internal Affairs Detective Joe Finn (season 7, regular in 8; Gallagher also appeared in seasons 4 & 6 as guest characters)
Callum Keith Rennie as Detective Bob Marlowe (seasons 2-4)
Dean Marshall as Constable Carter (seasons 4-7)
Fred Keating as Councillor Jack Pierce (seasons 2-8)
Bill Dow as Mayor Russ Hathaway (seasons 6-7)
Rob LaBelle as Phil Rosen (seasons 6-8)
Nathaniel De Veaux as Morris Steadman (seasons 2-5)
Keegan Connor Tracy as Jackie (seasons 5,7)
Warren Takeuchi as Wayne (seasons 1-5)
Crystal Lowe as Sylvia (seasons 1-3)
Hrothgar Mathews as Constable (later Sgt.) Charlie Klotchko (seasons 5-7, regular in 8; Mathews also appeared in seasons 1 & 4 as guest characters)
Chris Britton as Richard Norton (seasons 7 & 8)
Hiro Kanagawa as Fire Captain Roy Komori (season 8; Kanagawa also guest-starred in an episode of season 4)
Charles Martin Smith as Joe Friedland (season 8)
Simone Bailly as Constable Jan Ferris (season 8)
Gina Holden as Claire (season 8)
Rebecca Reichert as Marcie (season 8)
Eugene Lipinski as Lloyd Manning (season 8)
Rekha Sharma as Constable Cindy Winters (season 8)
Da Vinci's Inquest is notable for its unconventional story formats. Unlike most crime dramas, many crimes on Da Vinci's Inquest aren't fully explained, and some aren't even solved; often the episodes end with the resolution implied or even withheld entirely. Many of the show's fans hail this characteristic as one of its finest qualities. Also unusual is its handling of story arcs. Some arcs span the length of one or more seasons, but aren't touched on at all for several episodes at a time, similar to the Mythology / Monster of the Week format of The X-Files (which was also a Vancouver production, though not at the same time as Da Vinci's Inquest); several main and guest actors appeared on both shows). An exception to this is the final season, which features at least three main plots that are addressed in every episode. Two episodes, Season 3's "It's Backwards Day" and Season 5's "Pretend You Didn't See Me," are notable for their extended opening takes, which follow Da Vinci as he walks around a location and speaks with multiple characters in one continuous, ten-minute shot; the former is also noted for playing out largely in real time.
Major story arcs include Da Vinci's attempts to balance his work life with his ex-wife and daughter, Leo Shannon struggling to care for his mentally ill wife, the relocation of an old mental hospital's cemetery and the intrigue that follows, Sunny overseeing an archaeological dig at a construction site, Angela Kosmo's battle with a corrupt, manipulative Vice cop, and Da Vinci's quest to establish a red light district and safe injection site to protect the sex workers and drug addicts of Vancouver, which leads him to run first for police chief and then mayor. The sex trade is a recurring theme throughout the entire series, and early season premieres and finales center around high numbers of homicides where prostitutes are the victims, which often turn out to be the work of a serial killer. Relationships between characters (such as Da Vinci's many romantic flings and that between Mick Leary and Sunny Ramen) are often left in the background of or take place between episodes.
In Internet fandom, the plot line following Mick Leary's downward spiral into depression after an unstable female constable infatuated with him commits suicide is often considered one of the most powerful and best-written arcs in the entire series by many fans.
Acorn Media UK has released the first three seasons on DVD in Region 1 (US only). Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released.
In Canada, Alliance Atlantis released the first season on DVD on October 14, 2003. Season 2 was released on February 3, 2009 by Alliance Films, more than 5 years after the release of the first season.