Colin Farrell is a marvel to watch in the slick mystery drama, ‘Sugar’

Colin Farrell as John Sugar. Picture: Supplied

Colin Farrell as John Sugar. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 8, 2024


It is not often that we get to see acting legend Colin Farrell in a TV series. But when he does agree to them, he doesn’t miss the mark.

The actor, who was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by “Time” magazine last year, is currently in the Apple TV+ mystery drama, “Sugar”.

What immediately drew me to the show, aside from him of course, was how it is styled. It harks back to the crime detective offerings of the ‘80s. I’m talking about shows like “Matlock”, “Columbo”, “Crime Story”, “CHiPs”, “Jake and the Fatman” and so on.

In the series, Farrell, cast as private investigator John Sugar, drives a vintage Chevrolet Corvette. Oozing sophistication, he helps the wealthy with their dilemmas.

Confidence is key in his profession, which can, depending on the case, get quite hairy.

Kirby as Ruby with Colin Farrell as John Sugar. Picture: Supplied

His latest case involves finding Olivia (Sydney Chandler), the missing granddaughter of Jonathan Siegel (James Cromwell), a wealthy movie producer.

Being an avid film buff, this case brings up past demons for Sugar (as he is referred to by everyone) as he still hasn’t gotten closure on his missing sister, Djen (Maeve Whalen).

The eight-part series is compelling from the opening frame. Viewers quickly learn that Sugar has an impressive track record in his profession. Although violence is par for the course, he hates it. And he is a bit of a bleeding heart as well.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a straightforward crime offering – there is a twist.

The other notable characters in the series include Ruby (Kirby), who is Sugar’s handler; Olivia’s washed-up rocker stepmom, Melanie Matthews (Amy Ryan); Olivia’s ruthless filmmaker father, Bernie Siegel (Dennis Boutsikaris); Olivia’s deplorable stepbrother, David Siegel (Nate Corddry) and David’s fixer-cum-bodyguard, Kenny (Kenny).

Colin Farrell as John Sugar with Amy Ryan as Melanie Matthews in a scene from ‘Sugar’. Picture: Supplied

While on the case, it is obvious that Sugar is suffering from some kind of health setback. The cause of his ailment becomes clearer later on.

In trying to find Olivia, Sugar does a deep dive into her past, visiting her apartment, checking her car and interviewing all the key people she crossed paths with.

Interestingly, her father and stepbrother fob off her disappearance as a drug binge gone wrong, but Jonathan isn’t as convinced. He suspects foul play.

During the investigation, Sugar stumbles across a dead body in Olivia’s car and, despite his doggedness to get answers, he is greatly impeded by members of the dysfunctional Siegel family.

Interestingly, Bernie takes a keen interest in Sugar, more so as his investigation poses a great threat to him launching a new film with his entitled one-hit-wonder son.

With Bernie committing the cardinal mistake of investing his own money in the project, he can’t afford any setbacks.

As the story plays out, the murky drug-enabled, casting-couch world of Hollywood is exposed. The polarity between the rich and poor also comes to light.

Although Sugar tries to keep his past a secret, his enemies work hard to find his Achilles’ heel. And Ruby, while trying to protect him, finds herself in a catch-22 situation.

Having warned Sugar against taking this case, she is forced to do damage control to prevent the polyglot society from being exposed. That’s where the sci-fi aspect comes in (translated: the twist), and it does throw the viewer for a loop.

Overall, “Sugar” is a compelling old-school mystery with Farrell as a formidable anchor. He covers a wide gamut of emotions in his role.

Secrets are laid bare along with emotions. Viewers will lap up the intrigue, performances and stylish, deft direction of the show, where Farrell also shares the executive producer credit.

∎ “Sugar” is streaming on AppleTV+.