Forever Knight Revisited: 8 Reasons Why You Should Watch This ’90s Gem
by S.V. Brosius
A knight from the crusades that lives forever — a Forever Knight. It’s an appropriate title for a television series documenting the downfall and redemption of a nobleman who fought for Christ and became a vampire at the hands (or should I say “fangs”) of former Roman general Lucien LaCroix (Nigel Bennett). This move was at the behest of a former prostitute, Janette DuCharme (Deborah Duchene).
Nick Knight (Geraint Wyn Davies) is a present-day homicide detective spending his nights in Toronto solving murder cases with his partners Don Schanke (John Kapelos, Seasons 1 and 2) and Tracy Vetter (Lisa Ryder, Season 3). His primary motivation is to atone for his sins as a vampire and adopt a life of drinking cow’s blood instead of human blood.
We learn of Nicolas de Brabant’s long history through flashbacks triggered by his current cases. From meeting critical historical figures to participating in vital world events through the centuries, Nick and his vampire companions shape his fate for better or worse.
Nick’s secondary motivation is to achieve mortality again. To help him with this endeavor, Dr. Natalie Lambert (Catherine Disher) uses her lab at the morgue to create medical treatments and monitor his progress. A strong friendship between the two slowly morphs into a romantic attraction as Forever Knight progresses.
Lucien LaCroix works in the opposite direction of Nick’s salvation, attempting to halt or interfere in Nick’s quest for mortality. LaCroix is one of the oldest living vampires and expertly gives commentary (usually in a sarcastic or morose way) on the human condition via his CERK radio program under his professional name: The Nightcrawler.
Now that you have an idea of what Forever Knight is about, why should you watch it? Here are my favorite aspects of this deliciously dark, sometimes humorous crime drama:
A different captain per season
Each brings something unique to the role and directly comments on Nick’s unusual nature and habits. In Season 1, we have Captain Joe Stonetree (Gary Farmer), a soft-spoken police officer who gets loud when angry. Season 2 brings us Captain Amanda Cohen (Natsuko Ohama), a by-the-book police officer who shows little emotion but subtly reveals her big heart.
Finally, Season 3 introduces Captain Joe Reese (Blu Mankuma), a temp-turned-permanent replacement for Cohen, often musing aloud about how he cannot understand why people do what they do. I love how all three notice that Nick is not an average guy but develops respect for him as a fellow police officer, overlooking Nick’s unusual luck or heroic feats.
Two different partners that Nick tries to keep in the dark about his nature
Comic relief is a big part of Detective Don Schanke’s role in Forever Knight (Seasons 1 and 2). He is a wisecracker who annoys and entertains Nick, who’s known to brood over his bottles of “wine” or play melancholic tunes on his piano. Schanke makes Nick laugh and brings out his ornery side, which is hilarious.
The third season introduces Detective Tracy Vetter, a young, out-to-prove-herself police commissioner’s daughter who brings out Nick’s “protective older brother” side. She doesn’t always make the best decisions and puts her life on the line for the wrong reasons.
Yet, I love seeing the wonder in her eyes as she learns more about the vampire world through the object of her affection: Javier Vachon (Ben Bass).
The allure of Janette DuCharme
The primary reason Nick becomes a vampire. After spending centuries together as lovers, they go their separate ways, only to find themselves drawn to each other again in Toronto. The implication is that Nick and Janette have a friends-with-benefits relationship.
The sensual chemistry between the two is nothing short of sizzling. As The Raven’s (Seasons 1 and 2) owner, Janette assists Nick with his cases but disapproves of his quest for humanity. She’s pretty good at rolling her eyes and making comments like, “Oh, Nikola, when are you going to give up this foolishness?” Her brief return in Season 3 is a game-changer for the rest of the series, and let me tell you … the secret she spills is a big one!
The expansion of the vampire world
Only appearing in one episode, we learn of The Enforcers, the vampire community’s police force determined to protect the secret of their existence. They are not more involved with The Raven, owned by Janette DuCharme in Seasons 1 and 2, and Lucien LaCroix in Season 3.
This Gothic nightclub that plays fantastic music where humans and vampires party together is the setting for many dark and delicious reveals throughout the series. Trios are a recurring theme in Forever Knight, and the arrival of Javier Vachon, Urs (Kristin Lehman) and Screed (Greg Kramer), a.k.a. The Crew, adds an exciting new dimension to Nick and Tracy’s world in Season 3.
Finally, when we thought LaCroix was the evilest vampire, we meet Divia (Kathryn Long). She wreaks havoc on everyone she encounters, and her hatred of LaCroix spurs her on a heart-stopping journey of revenge.
The Nightcrawler’s monologues
He knows humans better than they know themselves, and we can’t help but hang on to every word falling from his lips. I could listen to that perfect voice every night. *sigh* Lucien LaCroix’s commentary usually seems to apply to whatever case Nick has. Is he spying on him? Probably.
Friendship-turned-romance with Dr. Natalie Lambert
It begins as a doctor-patient-style relationship, but those obvious romantic feelings slowly take over and lead to the dramatic ending of the series. Intelligent, witty and caring, Natalie is one of my favorite characters, and I love Nick and Nat. She knows what Nick is but is never afraid to put him in his place when he is being childish or broody.
Complicated frenemy/father-son relationship with Lucien LaCroix
Often seen in LaCroix’s eyes as a rebellious child, Nick’s search for mortality and LaCroix’s objection to it is the true center of this show. When these two fight, look out! When they care for one other, it is touching and dramatic. LaCroix is wonderfully complex, and I enjoy his scenes.
“Faith. Pure. Simple. Faith.”
These words are spoken by Joan of Arc in the second episode of Season 1. Faith is the theme interwoven throughout the entire series of Forever Knight. Nick has his setbacks and witnesses the worst in humanity but never gives up in his quest to regain his mortality.
I applaud the writers of Forever Knight for not shying away from delving deeper into the religious aspect of vampirism. The concept of God, an afterlife, demons, the faithful and sinners are all covered in this show. Faith is what motivates Nick Knight, and we get to see how it affects everyone in his life, for better and worse.
As I rewatched my select episodes for a suggested condensed version, I was delighted to feel the same emotions as when I first discovered it by accident while flipping channels one night. The show was at the end of Season 2 when I began watching, and it happened to be the episode “Curiouser and Curiouser.”
I was confused, but it was compelling enough to keep me tuning in, and Season 3 is still my favorite. The tension and emotion build to a crescendo, and I still tear up when — well, you will have to watch for yourself.
Taking into consideration the importance of the story concerning Nick’s journey toward mortality, the importance of flashbacks and the character development of Nick and the people in his life, my recommended best eight episodes of each season are:
Season 1: For I Have Sinned, Last Act, Dance by the Light of the Moon, I Will Repay, Hunters, Father Figure, Only the Lonely, Feeding the Beast
- Following a murder-of-the-week format, we see the amusing and endearing camaraderie of Nick, Schanke and Natalie – the modern-day trio.
- Most of the flashbacks depict the adventures of Nick, Janette and LaCroix – the olden-days trio.
- Overall, Season 1 focuses on defining who Nick Knight is, and we see he is sometimes more human than the others.
Season 2: Killer Instinct, A Fate Worse Than Death, Father’s Day, Near Death, The Fix, Curiouser and Curiouser, Be My Valentine, A More Permanent Hell
- A new precinct and captain sets the stage for a different vibe as we witness the return of LaCroix.
- The main human characters get more backstory, and we learn about the origins of LaCroix and Janette.
- Overall, Season 2 focuses on where Nick came from and why he is who he is.
Season 3: Black Buddha, My Boyfriend is a Vampire, Night in Question, Sons of Belial, Fever, The Human Factor, Ashes to Ashes, Last Knight
- A new vampire trio arrives in Toronto: Javier Vachon, Urs and Screed. They create the added complication of Tracy knowing about vampires through Vachon but not knowing her partner is also one.
- A subtle power struggle begins between Natalie and LaCroix over Nick’s soul.
- Overall, Season 3 focuses on the other forces affecting every aspect of his life and fate in Nick’s world.
Brilliant performances by a talented cast, profound and witty dialogue, creative storytelling, a fantastic score by Fred Mollin, and themes of humanity, redemption and faith make Forever Knight a beloved series that will always have a special place in my heart and my DVD collection.
Forever Knight is available on DVD. You can also watch Seasons 1 and 2 for free on Tubi.
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