The Lies and Mistakes of Hank Dolworth

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By Dave White

It’s about a man who makes mistakes.

The simple answer, when people ask what Terriers is about, would be this: Two private investigators get tied up with a Californian conspiracy. The two work the cases, banter back and forth and never give up until the job is done.

That’s the simple answer.

But the show is about so much more. Hank Dolworth is an ex-cop, ex-alcoholic who just wants to do the right thing. He wants to help out the common man with his partner Britt Pollack. He wants to make sure his ex-wife is marrying the right guy. He wants to make sure his sister, once institutionalized, gets the best care she needs. But with each move Hank makes to meet those goals, the more mistakes he makes.

Hank wants what’s best for the people around him. By trying to do that, he convinces people to lie to each other. He tells Britt’s girlfriend to lie, after she’s cheated on him one drunken night. Despite the obvious fact the guilt is tearing her apart, she agrees.

He refuses to put his sister back in the institution, even though it’s clear he can’t care for her. He’s too busy working, and she’s too busy wandering. He’s convinced his ex-wife still loves him, and wants him to protect her. And Hank is too worried about finding out who helped overdose an old friend, than he is protecting those who can be killed because of his investigation. You see, Hank is lying to himself as well.

And that’s what’s so compelling about Terriers. When you watch how the other characters react to Hank, you know these lies are going to blow up in his face one by one. Watching how these lies damage the people around him, and ultimately waiting for that first, second and third slip-up keeps me coming back week to week.

Because at some point, Britt’s going to find out about his ex. Because at some point more people are going to be killed. And Hank can’t do anything about it.

Terriers isn’t a typical PI show. The case of the week isn’t the highlight of the show It’s about characters, the banter, and how deeply they hurt each other even though they’re just trying to help. Hank’s going to get destroyed by all the mistakes he continues to make. It’s only a matter of time.

And I can’t wait to find out how it happens.

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