Hunting Season is the eleventh episode of Due South's fourth season.
Storyline: A young constable from the Northwest Territories travels to Chicago on the trail of two murder suspects, asking for Benton Fraser's help. The mounties come to discover they have a lot more in common than they initially thought.
Original Air Date: March 4, 1999
Written by Julie Lacey
Directed by Francis Damberger
THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES
On a spring night in Inuvik, a hooded individual sporting a moose hide parka walks into the Muskox bar where two men are sitting, playing cards. The men look up and recognize the hooded figure right away. “We already told you all we know,” they declare, noticeably annoyed. They go on complaining about their interlocutor’s recent nagging until the hooded figure starts a fight and pushes them around the bar. The bartender grabs a firearm and holds the intruder at gunpoint. “You think you could? You think you could shoot a woman?” the intruder asks, pushing her hood back, revealing a young blonde woman. The woman points her own pistol at the bartender who backs off. The two men are threatened at gunpoint and one of them admits: "What we told the Mounties is what the Torellis told us to say." He then realizes the woman’s gun isn’t loaded as she is only using it to frighten them. “Thank you very kindly for your help, boys,” she says sarcastically before walking out of the bar.
The woman is seen running up to a bush airplane a few days later, asking the pilot, Jake, to take her across the border. Jake asks why she is leaving, as this is her first time away from home. “I’m going hunting,” the woman replies.
At the Canadian consulate, Constable Benton Fraser is changing a light bulb when the young woman dressed in RCMP uniform walks in and introduces herself as Constable Maggie MacKenzie. Fraser recognizes her surname and learns that MacKenzie’s mother Ellen was a friend of his father. MacKenzie knows Fraser from his reputation and asks him if he could help her find the Torelli brothers who are now in the Chicago area; the two murder suspects have killed a hunting guide who was one of the most decent gentlemen she’s ever known; she feels this crime is so bad she can’t let it go. Fraser admits he frequently feels the same but thinks it would be more prudent to pursue this through official channels. MacKenzie explains they officially have an alibi, but she is confident she will be able to prove they killed the guide if she can find them. Fraser agrees to assist her and takes her to the 27th District police station.
Detective Ray Kowalski is infatuated with MacKenzie as soon as he meets her and starts an awkward game of seduction to which Fraser responds rather negatively. With Francesca Vecchio’s help, the trio finds the name of one of the Torellis’ former inmates, Thomas Ellis, who lives nearby. The man previously involved in a bank robbery with the suspects affirms he hasn’t seen the Torellis since he got out of jail, but MacKenzie is convinced he is lying. She puts her fingers on his jugular and asks him to repeat his statement. Ellis gets nervous and closes the door, telling them to get a warrant.
It is late in the evening and Kowalski wants to take MacKenzie to dinner, but the woman is too tired. The detective proposes she sleeps at his place. Fraser intervenes and says she would feel more comfortable at the consulate, to which MacKenzie acquiesces. Fraser offers his cot, but MacKenzie prefers to sleep in the hallway. “Likes sleeping on the ground, just like her mother,” Robert Fraser declares, as his ghost appears in a corner. MacKenzie thinks she’s heard someone speak, but Fraser pretends there is nobody there. Diefenbaker, who has been rather protective of Constable MacKenzie since her arrival, wants to follow the young woman into the hallway but Fraser replies: “Don’t be ridiculous, you’d keep her up all night with your snoring.”
Lying on the hallway floor, MacKenzie is fiddling with what appears to be two wedding bands strung into a leather lace around her neck. She gets up and decides to head back to Thomas Ellis’ apartment and force the ex-con to speak. As she approaches the building, the Torelli brothers are seen watching from a parked car.
In the morning, Fraser meets MacKenzie who is wearing civilian clothes, thinking it is more appropriate under the circumstances. Fraser wants to take her out for breakfast but the woman says she’ll have pemmican. Fraser wishes he could offer her some but he hasn’t been able to find any in Chicago and misses it. MacKenzie produces a small rawhide bag containing pemmican she dried herself in Inuvik and offers it to Fraser and Diefenbaker.
As Fraser opens the closet door to put away the blanket he lent MacKenzie for the night, Robert Fraser walks out and starts commenting on Fraser’s gauche interaction with the young woman. MacKenzie looks straight at him. “Were you just in the closet?” she asks, puzzled. The men are dumbstruck she can see and hear the ghost, and cannot understand how this is possible. Fraser suggests they step into his father’s office. The three gather around the stove with the wolf and MacKenzie tells of one of her mother’s confrontations with a grizzly bear when she was three. The anecdote makes the mounties happy yet homesick and as they are chatting away, Inspector Thatcher and Constable Turnbull overhear the strange conversation. As they open the closet door, they find Fraser and MacKenzie standing alone under the coat hangers. Fraser introduces Constable MacKenzie and explains they are on the trail of some suspects. “In your closet?” Thatcher asks. MacKenzie says it is a personal matter. Thatcher becomes suspicious and decides to check on MacKenzie’s credentials.
Back at the police station, MacKenzie shares the name of a Torelli associate obtained from Ellis the night before. Kowalski is not too pleased with this, thinking she could have easily been killed. Francesca finds an address for the man and the trio end up in front of a run-down building. The owner says the men had planned to open a business but had left without paying rent. Fraser and MacKenzie inspect the premises, tasting the dust on the floor. “I was hoping you wouldn’t do stuff like that,” Kowalski admits to MacKenzie. “It’s the only way to know what you’ve got,” MacKenzie replies. The constables detect mud mixed with concrete tracked on the shoes of two different individuals. Kowalski’s phone rings as he is called to the scene of a crime.
Meanwhile, Inspector Thatcher reaches MacKenzie’s superior who informs her that the young constable has recently been suspended because of her erratic behaviour and obsession with the Torelli case; the murdered hunting guide was actually her husband. Kowalski heads to Thomas Ellis’ apartment building where Lieutenant Welsh is waiting. Welsh announces Ellis is dead. Fraser and Kowalski mention MacKenzie’s visit the night before and a call from Thatcher informs Fraser of MacKenzie’s suspension. When the men turn around to interrogate the woman, MacKenzie and Diefenbaker are nowhere to be found. Fraser and Kowalski receive a good scolding at the station while Francesca pulls up a file on the murder victim, revealing he was involved in a bank robbery with the Torellis in 1987.
Fraser heads to the consulate where he and Turnbull look into MacKenzie’s background. Fraser is confused to learn that MacKenzie’s father died some thirteen months before she was born. While Fraser enters his closet to speak to his father, MacKenzie sneaks in to get her bag and leave. Robert Fraser is absent and Fraser surprises the young woman as he steps out of the closet. MacKenzie declares she didn't kill Ellis. Fraser informs her of her husband’s involvement with the Torellis. MacKenzie refuses to believe it and as Fraser insists, she slaps him and starts crying. MacKenzie walks away and runs into Thatcher who instructs Fraser to arrest her. Fraser is torn and lets her get away, resulting in a suspension.
Fraser finally gets to speak to his father whose relationship with Ellen MacKenzie was more intimate than previously thought; Maggie can see Robert Fraser’s ghost because she is his daughter. Fraser meets Kowalski at the station and they decide to go after the Torellis where they also expect to find MacKenzie; the concrete mixed in the mud under their shoes suggests the bank they are planning to rob is located near a construction site. The partners find the bank in question where MacKenzie is already holding the Torellis at gunpoint. Fraser advises MacKenzie to let the law handle this and reveals he is her brother. MacKenzie is shocked as her father’s ghost appears at her side and confirms the parentage. MacKenzie won’t lower her weapon because she is too thirsty for justice and insists on the Torellis admitting to killing her husband. One of the men confesses he did kill the guide because he was going to turn them in. MacKenzie lowers her weapon, revealing it was not even loaded.
Constables Fraser and MacKenzie are reinstated. MacKenzie is about to return to Inuvik, and Kowalski asks Fraser to look away as they exchange kisses. “Benton Fraser, I look forward to having you as a brother,” MacKenzie says to Fraser as she embraces him before stepping into a taxi. Fraser looks at the car disappearing in the distance and Diefenbaker barks, reminding Fraser he is not alone after all and still has a family. Robert Fraser appears and mumbles he was a miserable father twice. “You did what you could,” Fraser answers.
- Benton Fraser: Paul Gross
- Stanley Raymond Kowalski: Callum Keith Rennie
- Robert Fraser: Gordon Pinsent
- Francesca Vecchio: Ramona Milano
- Margaret Thatcher: Camilla Scott
- Renfield Turnbull: Dean McDermott
- Harding Welsh: Beau Starr
- Margaret MacKenzie: Jessica Steen
Memorable Quotes Edit
Benton Fraser: I'm a constable, obviously you are also a constable, my constable name is Constable Benton Fraser.
Francesca Vecchio: How long have you been a mountie?
Maggie MacKenzie: Five years.
Francesca Vecchio: I'm on the waiting list for the Academy.
Maggie MacKenzie: Congratulations.
Francesca Vecchio: Yeah, the uniforms are nice 'cause they're black, and that's always slimming and elegant, whereas your uniforms...Kind of make a statement, you know?
Maggie MacKenzie: They're an attention getter, alright. Whether you want them to be or not.
Francesca Vecchio: Kind of like having a bad hair day...
Maggie MacKenzie: Or trying to sneak past a cougar standing between you and some drinking water.
Francesca Vecchio: Yeah, I hate that...
Ray Kowalski: Wow, I just came out of my coma! Could we do a little work here, Francesca?
Ray Kowalski: Chicago PD!
Thomas Ellis (seeing Fraser and MacKenzie): What's that, the police band?
Benton Fraser: No, sir. My name is Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and this is...
Maggie MacKenzie: I heard that. I've never known if it was true.
Benton Fraser: I'm afraid it is, yes.
Maggie MacKenzie: Did you catch them?
Benton Fraser: I did, yes.
Maggie MacKenzie: I have to tell you how much I admire that kind of determination.
Benton Fraser: Oh, thank you. Thank you kindly.
Thomas Ellis: Uh, are you working for, like, World's Weirdest Videos?
Ray Kowalski: No, they're Canadian.
Thomas Ellis: Oh.
Benton Fraser: Perhaps you would like to go out for breakfast?
Maggie MacKenzie: I usually like to have pemmican.
Benton Fraser: I wish, I wish...And you would think that in a city of seven million souls, someone would have the presence of mind to dessicate a little meat...
Maggie MacKenzie (producing a small rawhide bag): I happen to have some.
Benton Fraser: Pemmican?
Maggie MacKenzie: Dried it myself last year.
Benton Fraser: Mmm...Nothing tastes like that.
Margaret Thatcher: Are you here officially?
Renfield Turnbull: Or unofficially?
Benton Fraser: Constable MacKenzie is on the trail of some suspects.
Margaret Thatcher: In your closet?
Benton Fraser: At the moment, yes.
Ray Kowalski (seeing MacKenzie taste dirt from the floor): I was hoping you wouldn't do stuff like that.
Maggie MacKenzie: Like what?
Ray Kowalski: Taste stuff.
Maggie MacKenzie: It's the only way to know what you've got.
- Song for a Winter's Night, originally composed and recorded by Gordon Lightfoot in 1967, sung by Sarah MacLachlan in this episode. The song is available on both Due South, Vol. II: The Original Television Soundtrack and MacLachlan's 2006 Christmas album Wintersong.