Special Division, our first series from Armenia, arrives October 6th on MHz Choice!

Premiering October 6th

In this extraordinary year of surprises, are you ready for the next – a good one? Check out Special Division, our first series from Armenia, a surprise sleeper ensemble cop drama loaded with heart. It feels old-fashioned, like a throwback to older police dramas: Dragnet, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue or The Streets of San Francisco. It’s about plainclothes superheroes – an elite Special Division that tackles difficult crimes and embraces its mission as a calling rather than a job. No moral ambiguity here – just good guys ferreting out the bad. It’s a very traditional show, generated by a society more traditional than the US. There is romance, but understated: people, for the most part, keep their clothes on. (Isn’t that more smoldering, anyway?) Special Division offers a look into a culture and part of the world you may not be acquainted with. How cool is that?

Up front: this series does not offer extraordinary scenics or sweeping drone shots. If Special Division is your only experience with Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, you may not feel driven to run out and book your ticket.

But you may fall in love with this ensemble. Heading up the team is Colonel Arno Ghazaryan (Shant Hovhannisyan): a stoic leader, intuitive and haunted by unsolved cases. Hovhannisyan dominates the screen with his restrained, coiled manner and the look of a private universe behind the eyes. The show’s creator Harutyun Ghukasyan has written the Colonel as a man of depth and few words. Think Gary Cooper in High Noon.

The team also includes a female detective, Alla (Mariam Davtyan) whose understanding of psychology makes her a human lie detector. Detectives Rob (Babken Chobanyan) and Max (Sepuh Apikyan) both enjoy playing bad cop when circumstances require and Max enjoys a degree of personal happiness that seems to elude Rob. Levonich (Alexander Badalyan) is the older, ascerbic coroner and the Colonel’s occasional drinking buddy. The new guy, Armen (Vache Yeritsyan) rounds out the team: a young white-hat hacker wowing his elders with information-gathering skills only the kids know about.

Over the course of 16 episodes, they’re all shown to be decent souls. One of the team members adopts a little girl left parentless by a crime and the whole gang celebrates her birthday. On any given day they talk about life and God and their actions reveal concern for each other. But as we all know, depicting depth and decency doesn’t inherently make for a good TV show. Fortunately, by any standard, Special Division measures up. The stories compel, you find yourself caring about the characters, and some of the scenes reverberate and stay in your head. Just what you want in a new series.

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