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John Cucinotta

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On a prior thread, this Canadian TV show was mentioned.   I happened to see a DVD set for sale on eBay, and I bought it.  There are only 13 episodes, and I have seen the first four episodes.

The story centers on Arkady Balagan, a Russian chess champion.  He resides in a luxury suite at a large upscale hotel called The Huxley, located in a large unnamed city (according to, the series is produced in Vancouver, Canada).  He never leaves the hotel, after developing agoraphobia when his fiancee Rosemary was assassinated in front of the hotel.  He spends his days walking barefoot around the hotel, insulting everyone, and he makes money by playing chess matches with people.  He is apparently wealthy, but his money is tied up in foreign banks, and the hotel manager dislikes the large balance due on his hotel bill.

Balagan solves crimes as a hobby.  Since he doesn't leave the hotel, he is assisted by four other people: Danni (a beautiful barmaid at the hotel), Hugo (head of hotel security and a former detective), Alcina (a hotel chambermaid), and Sam (a college-age guy who is an aspiring chess master).  These four people do the leg-work and gather the clues for Balagan, who then solves the crime.  This set-up, of course, is similar to Nero Wolfe stories.

A side story woven into the main storyline concerns the death of Balagan's fiancee Rosemary.  Balagan thinks she was mistakenly killed by Russian agents, and that Balagan himself was the actual target.  Rosemary's sister Pippa, and her detective friend Jason are investigating the death of Rosemary, and they are featured in some of the episodes.

This is an interesting TV series, and I have enjoyed the four episodes that I have seen.  The characters are interesting, and the mysteries are well-written, considering that it is a one-hour TV show and not a full-length movie.  Mystery fans will enjoy this series.  I'm interested to hear opinions from anyone else who has seen this show.


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Yes I like Endgame. One of my local TV channels shows a few Canadian detective shows from time to time  eg. Murdoch Mysteries, Motive, Private Eyes (otherwise it screens mostly UK detective shows). I thought Endgame was one of the better shows with more interesting storylines. Ending after 13 episodes means that nothing about Balagan's wife's murder was really resolved ... then again I usually dislike the ongoing backstory for a long running series.