You may have heard good things about FX’s new series Terriers but haven’t gotten around to watching it. If you’re thinking it’s too late to start now, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t and to give you a crash course on the show so you can tune in and start enjoying what is easily one of the best new series this fall.

Maybe putting Terriers on a top ten (or top five or even a top three) list of best new shows this fall isn’t saying much given what we have to work with, however even without the curve established by mediocre premieres this fall, Terriers stands out as quality programming. Terriers is smart, surprisingly emotional at times and oftentimes funny. It’s easy to watch, easy to enjoy and I wouldn’t even be bothering to do this little crash course if I thought it were the kind of show you couldn’t jump into part-way through, but there are some things that would be helpful to know going into the series.

Rest assured, nothing I say will actually ruin the previously aired episodes. So if you’re planning on getting caught up eventually (and I definitely recommend you check out the first four episodes), you can still do that even if you tune in for tonight’s new episode!

Terriers airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET on FX.

Terriers is not about dogs!
You might see an occasional dog in the show. In fact, there is one in the first episode, and Britt and his fiancé have a dog but there’s no dog-theme in the series. So forget the title. The show is a mostly-drama (with a fair amount of laugh-worthy moments thrown in) about two unlicensed private detectives (Hank and Britt) who scrounge for work and aren’t all that picky when it comes to the cases they take. As they’re unlicensed, they get work where they can, which includes trading favors in some off the books fashion.

For the most part, each episode focuses on a new case. Cases shown in previous episodes have ranged from proving infidelity to capturing escaped convicts. Whatever it is they’re working on usually finds a way to needle its way into their personal lives, which is where the show really shines and sets it apart from most other case-of-the-week series. The characters are another stand-out quality to the show but we’ll get to those in a minute.

Hank and Britt have also gotten themselves somewhat involved in some kind of big-business conspiracy involving land that may or may not have cancer-causing agents in the soil. This case, which they sort of accidentally stumbled upon, was almost too much for them to deal with and is a recurring issue for them. It was introduced in the pilot and then re-introduced later. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of it but I expect we’ll be caught-up on the necessary specifics if/when it pops up again.

As for the characters…

Hank Dolworth
Played by Donal Logue (Grounded for Life), Hank Dolworth is one of the two detectives that lead this series. He's a recovering alcoholic whose substance abuse issues cost him his job and his marriage. He's mostly cleaned up now but admits to still being in love with his ex-wife Gretchen. He’s scruffy, has some man-child tendencies in the maturity department and is willing to ignore the law in the technical sense to get the job done. Those are the things that make him interesting. What makes him likable are the times we see his slightly softer side. The charm Logue brings to the character doesn’t hurt either.

Britt Pollack
Michael Raymond-James (True Blood) plays Britt, Hank’s partner. Britt was once a criminal but he’s cleaned up his act and is using his thief-powers for good as a private detective. He may have put his life as a criminal behind him but the past isn’t completely buried. Britt’s engaged to Katie. The two are happy together, but there’s some tentativeness as far as when and if they’re ready to take the actual marriage step.

As mentioned above, Katie (Laura Allen) is engaged to Britt. She knows about his past as a criminal and is forgiving of the situation but it’s somewhat of a touchy issue between the two.

Detective Mark Gustafson
Rockmond Dunbar plays Hank’s former police partner Mark. Gustafson comes in handy whenever Hank and Britt’s paths cross with the cops. As they’re unlicensed, having an unofficial in with the police is a necessary perk.

Gretchen Dolworth
Hank’s ex-wife Gretchen (Kimberly Quinn) is on speaking terms with Hank but there’s obvious tension between them. It doesn’t help that she’s already moved on and engaged to be married to someone else, a fact Hank is still coming to grips with.

Maggie Lefferts
Jamie Denbo plays Maggie, Hank’s attorney. They trade services. Maggie started off pregnant and just had a baby, which seems to be referenced every time she appears in an episode.

Karina Logue (Donal’s real-life sister) plays Steph, Hank’s sister. She’s not listed among the main cast but I’m mentioning her here because I think she’s one of the best parts about the show. Steph has some emotional issues that put her into the occasionally-mentally-unstable category. She’s quirky to say the least but Hank adores her and she’s proven to be helpful in a pinch.

I think that about covers it. Shawn Ryan and the other writers have really done a great job with this show. I think what I love most is how easy it is to watch and enjoy. It’s dark when it needs to be dark, with moments of amusement and levity thrown in to keep a nice, easy balance. So if you haven’t already, check it out. Wednesdays at 10 on FX.

And, for those of you with access to Hulu, if you want to start from the beginning, there’s no time like the present!

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