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If FX is intent on building a reputation on original series with clever writing, stellar acting and a premise that’s both familiar and at the same time, unique, then Terriers is definitely a series worthy of joining their primetime lineup.

First off, it should be said that Terriers has very little to do with dogs, though there is a dog among the cast of characters. So don’t let the title fool you. This is a show about a former cop and a former thief who are now teamed up to make their livings at unlicensed private detectives.

Hank Dolworth (Donal Logue) is the cop end of the team. After losing his job and his marriage due to a drinking problem, he’s now sort of a loner, living a simple life and running jobs as a detective to get by. Britt Pollack (Michel Raymond-James) is a former thief who’s moved up in the world with his detective “career” and his girlfriend Katie. The series seems to fall mostly under the drama category, though there are definitely moments worthy of laughing out loud.

The pilot episode follows Hank and Britt as they attempt to track down the daughter of a friend of Hank’s and inadvertently uncover a business conspiracy, which becomes a recurring issue in the season. Later episodes include detective cases that are resolved for the most part by the end of the hour, but often tie in with Hank and Britt’s personal lives in some way. Given that they can’t put up fliers or start a website for their not-quite-legit business, that’s to be expected. These guys don’t have business cards and their office is a pick-up truck, so they find work where they can.

There are a lot of things I’m loving about this series, the first of which is that there isn’t a yin and yang dynamic to Hank and Britt’s relationship. Yes, Hank was a cop and Britt was a thief but this isn’t some sitcom where the two poke fun at one another for their backgrounds or have clashing personalities. It’s more that they’re two guys who started out in opposite backgrounds and somehow ended up in the same place. Their backgrounds are definitely relevant to who they are but they don’t define their characters completely or the relationship they have with each other.

Other things to like about the show:

Donal Logue: You might remember him from Grounded for Life, Life or any of the other big and small screen roles he’s played. He’s fantastic in this series. The role of Hank Dolworth includes a little of everything. He’s tough, funny, surprisingly intelligent and sometimes sad. He’s not every man but he’s definitely very human and Logue handles every aspect of the character beautifully.

Michael Raymond-James: True Blood fans will recognize him as Arlene’s former husband and occasional psychopath Rene. Raymond-James’s character is a bit more cuddly in this show as he’s not offing fang-bangers in his spare time but he’s still somewhat rough around the edges as Britt is trying to keep his past in the past. Some of the best of what we see from Raymond-James’ performance is when he’s working opposite Laura Allen, who plays Britt’s girlfriend Katie. Both are fantastic and demonstrate characters that aren’t perfect but want to redeem themselves from mistakes they’ve made in the past.

The writing: I laughed, I smiled, I gasped, I clapped and I was disappointed when I ran out of episodes to watch before writing this. Kudos to Ted Griffin (Creator/Exec producer) and Shawn Ryan (Exec Producer) for all of the above.

The pilot is great but it’s evident from the episodes that follow that this is a series that builds on itself. We come to learn who Hank and Britt are as characters not only by how they behave but also by how they handle their jobs. If actions speak louder than words then we’re only just beginning to understand who these characters are and I think it will definitely be worth the investment of watching future episodes to get to know them better.

Terriers premieres Wednesday, Sep. 8 at 10 PM E/P on FX.

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