Colin Farrell in a scene from “Sugar” 2024. IMDb photo

Sugar … “Olivia”

Well, here he is. Colin Farrell fresh out of Ireland and with no accent at all (mostly just a hint of San Fernando Valley).

He’s here in a new tailored suit on the street driving a sleek convertible he had hidden in a friend’s (handler’s?) garage. She is Ruby (Kirby), who comes across like a connected lady who loves and cares for her tiger, and will watch out for him.

It’s already clear that a man with a “handler” usually works for someone bigger than anyone yet seen. So where’s John been so long that he and the car are still dust free?

This first segment of “Sugar” gives us a crisp sleek new PI drama, created by Mark Protosevich and directed by Fernando Meirelles. Adam Arkin directed episodes 6, 7 and 8.

Arkin has never been a Bogart or Mitchum tough guy, but now, when you see Arkin’s name attached to anything, you buy it. Get used to this.


The opening of “Sugar” all starts in a ratty Tokyo apartment where Sugar is on a job calmly looking for the kidnapped daughter of a top Japanese Yakuza gangster.

He finds her, and her captors, and offers them money so he can take her to safety.

But the grandfather gangster, who has been trailing Sugar, appears at the door with his crew. Uh-oh!

Nothing goes right at this meeting. Grandfather pushes in, his crew of kidnappers erupt into a fight, and Sugar gets a bad knife wound on his arm.

Later, we see how he treats his deep wound in an elaborate five minute process in a washroom. This involves a mysterious hypo needle (we find out more about this later on) that tells us that Sugar is a very complicated modern dark hero.

We see that we’re going to get much more from the former Irishman than the usual black and white private eyes from the 1940s Warner Brothers studio. Good.


Sporting a nice suit and flashy new car, Sugar is (for the moment anyway) more the street boy in clean work clothes with a smooth mouth, like Liev Schreiber in his “Ray Donovan” days. But with better manners.

PI’s have clearly grown up, and Protosevich’s hero has more colors and textures than Dashiell Hammett’s PI’s in slouched hats and trench coats.

To begin with, our Sugar doesn’t like guns at all, until his handler convinces him he will need one.

We might add this quiet man is able to catch a fly with his chopsticks, and he lets it go free. Aha!

And you will notice that he’s multilingual and good at them. Do we have a Jason Bourne here?

In this opener, titled “Olivia,” we learn that our Sugar is, for unknown reasons, a film buff who, somewhere in his youth, grew up to be the debonair guy we’ve got.


But more hints pop up when we meet the soft spoken Jonathan Siegel (the great James Cromwell) in cashmere poolside clothes who gives us a kinder and gentler John Huston from “Chinatown.” He’s looking for a child as well.

The opening cast of “Sugar” gives us the welcome Amy Ryan as Melanie Mackintosh, who lives in bars and tries to get John into bed. Melanie seems to have connections to old Jonathan Siegel’s family. Not clear on that.

Oh boy! This reviewer has watched the first set of John Sugar’s world and is hooked.

There is clearly more to Sugar than this reviewer has caught.

But we can assume that this is good stuff, and fun to watch.

I’ll keep my eye on it, but once in, you’ll be hooked, and miles ahead of me.

“Sugar” is streaming on Apple TV+. Enjoy.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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