due South

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: due South
Abbreviation(s): dS, DS
Creator: Paul Haggis
Date(s): April 26, 1994 – March 14, 1999
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: Canada
External Links: at IMDb
at Wikipedia
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Due South is a Canadian crime comedy drama television series created by Paul Haggis, and produced by Alliance Communications from its premiere on April 26, 1994, to its conclusion after four seasons on March 14, 1999.

Canon Background

The show follows the adventures of Constable Benton Fraser, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer from rural Northern Canada, who finds a job at the Canadian Consulate in Chicago after his father is murdered. In his spare time, he helps his American friend, a police detective, solve crimes. Fraser's deaf half-wolf Diefenbaker assists.[1]

Due South is a buddy cop show, but also includes elements of magical realism such as Benton Fraser being visited by the ghost of his father (who often provides bad advice). A major source of the comedy was stereotypical differences between Canadian and American culture at the time.


Diefenbaker, the cute one in the middle, cover of The Last of a Breed

In the first two seasons, Fraser's American friend is Detective Ray Vecchio, played by David Marciano. After the show was canceled in 1996 and then restarted again, Marciano was unable to return (two explanations have been reported in the media: money or a prior commitment[note 1][note 2] so Callum Keith Rennie was hired to replace him. Within the narrative, the explanation given for the change was that Ray Kowalski went undercover as Ray Vecchio while Ray Vecchio went undercover with the Mafia. The fact that the two actors looked nothing alike was a running joke on the show.

Other significant characters include Lieutenant Harding Welsh (the Rays' boss at the 2-7 police station); Frannie Vecchio (Ray Vecchio's sister); Detectives Jack Huey, Thomas Dewey, and Louis Gardino (the "duck boys"); Elaine Besbriss (the 2-7's civilian aide in seasons one and two); Mort (the 2-7's forensic specialist in seasons three and four); Stella Kowalski (Ray K's ex-wife); Inspector Meg Thatcher (Fraser's boss at the Canadian consulate from season two onward); Constable Turnbull (Fraser's hapless coworker from season two onward); Sergeant Buck Frobisher (Fraser's father's partner); Bob Fraser (the ghost of Fraser's father, a.k.a. Dead!Bob); and Diefenbaker (Fraser's pet half-wolf).

due South Fandom

One of the more unusual elements of the show is the casual depiction of Fraser and Ray Vecchio communicating with the ghosts of their respective dead fathers. For this reason, due South is often described as an example of magical realism.[2]

The show ends with Fraser and Ray Kowalski riding off into the sunrise together on a dog sled to look for the Hand of Franklin. The character resolutions in the series finale have provided much fanfic fodder.

cover of RCW 139, a Due South convention program



Straddling Two Mediums: Zines and Online

due South was one of the first fandoms to navigate the waters of the internet. The editor of the zines Two and Twogether included links to online reviews in the zines' LoC, one of the first to do so as movies_michelle recalls:

Due South really was the fandom that straddled the internet and old-style fandom. It wasn't even close to being my first zine fandom, but I think it might classify as my last truly zine-based fandom, as it was the last one where most of the stories--at least for Fraser/RayV--were in zines. Fraser/RayK was always more online.
You know, I'd never consciously thought about the fact that so much Fraser/RayV fanfic was in zines, but you're absolutely right - not just DS zines but mm zines. And tons of it never made it online, woe. [3]

The "Ray Wars"

Even before Ray Vecchio's part was recast in 1997, fans were already apprehensive. After it became known that Paul Gross was going to be producing the later seasons, he said in an interview, he didn't know how to write Ray, and that phrase was repeated all over fandom. Other repeated phrases by fans at the time, "the first 2 seasons will always be canon" and "all we can do is wait and see." Some fans were worried that Dief would also be replaced by a new dog -- some Ray Vecchio fans took this as an insult, that given the possibility of one of the LEADs being replaced, some fans would waste time worrying about the dog.

The recasting of Ray Vecchio led to the infamous Ray Wars between fans of the first and second Ray, as exemplified by the division of mailing lists either declaring that they were a fandom-neutral zone (such as RedSuitsYou on Yahoo!Groups) or that they supported one character over the other.[citation needed] These divisions extended to slash pairings, so Ray Vecchio/Ray Kowalski was considered quite shocking when the first authors began writing it in late 1999/early 2000 [4], and Fraser/Kowalski/Vecchio was sufficiently inconceivable at the time that it's not even an available pairing option in the DSA.

For much more, see The Ray Wars.

Fandom on Mailing Lists

See List of due South Mailing Lists.

due South became a fandom almost immediately after the show debuted in 1994. Fan activity originated on mailing lists and in zines. The first due South discussion list was DSOUTH-L, founded by LJC December 20, 1994. Because employees of the show participated on this list, the rules against posting fiction and discussing story ideas on list were strictly enforced, and a companion fiction list was created.

In 1995, there was just one main dS mailing list, for gen fans, slash fans, and people who'd never heard of the word 'zine' before. In May, there was a thread that discussed how "close" Ray and Fraser were, and how much they clearly loved each other. The thread hovered on the edge of slash for days, but never quite crossed over. None of the slash fans outed themselves. [citation needed]

In 1996, ownership of the fiction list fell into the hands of a deeply-religious list owner, who objected to stories that contained swearing, pre-marital sex, taking the Lord's name in vain, and any slash content, even of a G-rated nature. See due South Religious Wars of '96.

Eventually, a request was sent out by fans to James Walkswithwind -- who had access to a private server, crucial in those days -- for lists with more open-minded policies. James responded with the creation of two mailing lists, DIEF, for gen and PG-rated het or slash, and DSX, for adult fiction and slash. (This was a departure from the usual practice of having g- through x-rated slash on slash lists and g- through x-rated gen and het on non-slash lists.) Both lists moved first to egroups and then to yahoogroups and are still in existence, though the traffic is greatly reduced from their heyday. Speranza is currently the listadmin on both lists.

The production company was certainly aware of the tensions between slash and gen fans. By 1995, Due South story coordinator Scott Cooper appointed himself as an informal liaison between members of the then largest Due South mailing list, DSOUTH-L by "participating in groups and disseminating information as it became available. He provided information, episode guides, cast biographies, and air schedules."[5] In October 1995, after a vigorous discussion about the possibility of a romantic relationship between Fraser and Ray he offered his opinion:

".....I must admit that some of the "Latent Homosexuality" thread has been amusing. However, I think that it's more than asking for people to start another thread. I realize that everyone is suffering some pretty serious DSWS. Please be considerate of those people on the list who do not have time or resources to read all of the email that is generated by this topic, which really does appear to have outlived it's usefulness. (and BTW if you get it in digest form - the only way I can handle the volume - you can't delete individual posts, you can scroll by quickly, but it's a big waste on disk space and time) This is not a matter of censorship, but rather of evaluating when a topic is not directly related to the subject most people joined this list to discuss. I thought there was a fan-fiction list, where this might be more appropriate. I will not ask that this discussion be stopped, but ask that we all proceed rationally and civilly towards new topics which we are all interested in. (And yes, if we were discussing a possible romantic relationship between co-stars of the opposite sex, then this probably wouldn't have become an issue - and probably would have died ages ago). Please note that my comments in the above paragraph are mine and mine alone. Please accept these as if they were coming from any member of the list, and not a representative of Due South. A final note on this topic - To the best of my knowledge there have never been any plans to introduce a romantic relationship between Fraser and Ray. They will both experience some type of romance with women during our second season."[6]

In December 1998, a few fans started a mailing list (DSVS-L) dedicated to writing a virtual fourth season, known as DSVS. There was an in-depth discussion for four or five months as the group decided on their roles (such as producer, writer, continuity editor, character editor), the main plot arcs, individual episode ideas and who would write them, whether to stick to COTW canon, how to avoid confusion between the two Rays, which characters to bring back etc. etc. [7] Despite the thorough plan and exciting ideas, as far as can be discerned, the project never actually got off the ground, although there were many more fanfics written post-COTW, including at least one virtual season[8].

A snapshot of mailing lists active in 1999 can be found here.

Red Suits You was a "flame/otter-free zone" list, one of the few mailing lists/forums that existed in 1999 that didn't show partisanship and advocated tolerance.[9] In contrast the Ray Vecchio mailing list Two Axes was highly partisan in favor of the Fraser/Vecchio pairing. For more on this partisanship, see The Ray Wars.

The original due South fiction list was closed down by the owner as a result of the religious debate, but was recreated in the form of DSFICT-L by a new owner.

A fairly comprehensive and up-to-date list of due South related mailing lists may be found at William & Elyse's Due South Page.

Femslash found a home in dS on the DSX list; in 1999, Gilda Lily was one of the genre's most prolific contributors with the Frannie/Elaine pairing.[10].

After Prospect-L's success as a fanfic discussion list in Sentinel fandom, Chinook was created in 2000 on a similar model for open discussion of due South fanfic.

Fandom on the Web

One of the earliest and largest resources on the web for due South fandom is William and Elyse's Due South page, last updated in October 2009. The site's mailing list included notifications of upcoming TV appearances of due South actors, long after the show went off air.

due South had a substantial presence on GeoCities, which was shut down in October 2009. See List of GeoCities Fansites for a list of due South fansites hosted on the service.

See also Category:Due South Websites.

Fandom on LiveJournal

One of the earliest community LiveJournals for due South (very possibly the first) was the Due South Reporter, which was founded by Speranza in 2002. Because the fandom was still feeling the effects of The Ray Wars, the community was created anonymously, and reporters were recruited from the various warring mailing lists to collect fanfiction links and fannish news from all parts of the fandom: Ray V, Ray K, het, gen, and other.

Posting frequency at ds_noticeboard, the central hub of due South fandom on LJ for several years.

The DS Reporter disbanded in 2004, by which time a whole host of other integrated LJ communities had been formed, including DS Discourse and DS Flashfiction in 2003 and DS Noticeboard in 2004. DS Discourse was a discussion-focused community whose inaugural entry welcomed "all persuasions, from gen to het to slash. All pairings welcome. Any discussion is welcome as long as it pertains to the show." It was most active 2003-2006. DS Flashfiction, co-moderated by china shop, Sageness, Speranza and Renenet, was the first flashfiction challenge community on LiveJournal, and was active until 2010. DS Flashfiction often served as a less-intimidating entry point for new writers because of its mandated theme and (often flouted) 1000 word limit. DS Noticeboard is a community bulletin board for announcements concerning everything from good sales on boxed sets of the series' episodes to newly-posted fanfiction, vids or other fanworks. Co-moderated by Speranza and Sageness, it was a central part of the daily operation of the fandom, and served as a model for similar LiveJournal communities in SGA and other fandoms.

Since these first steps, due South's LJ presence continued to expand. A complete list of LJ communities is posted on newbieguide. Many fans believed that the atmosphere of the fandom had changed since the Ray Wars took place. Although there were still many Fraser/Vecchio and Fraser/Kowalski shippers, there was less hostility between the two groups. The fandom became renowned for its congeniality and its friendliness to newbies. In the livejournal era, it became commonplace for people to "swing both Rays" or admit to an OT3. However, a 2009 discussion about the current climate revealed not everyone felt welcome.

In 2007 aingeal8c conducted a poll of due South fandom on LJ. The poll was advertised on ds_closet and ds_noticeboard[11], and 197 people took it. 97% of respondents were female, 100% read fanfic, 70% had been in the fandom 3 years or less, 77% only participated in the fandom on LJ though some people were also on mailing lists, and 83% were members of ds_noticeboard. Ray Kowalski was the favorite character of 43.7% compared to 31.0% for Fraser and 11.2% for Ray Vecchio. Preferred ship when reading slash: 76.9% preferred Fraser/Kowalski, 15.1% Fraser/Vecchio, 4.3% Kowalski/Vecchio, and 2.2% Fraser/Kowalski/Vecchio. 20% of respondents owned a dS fanzine.[12][13]

In a December 2010 DS Weekly post, aingeal8c commented that there had been a noticeable decrease in output for the past year:

This digest has been posted every week for well over 4 years now but as the years and weeks have gone by there has been less and less to post. Compare some of the 2006 entries with ones that have been posted this year. As a fandom due South does appear to be smaller in terms of the fanfic, fanrt and other creative endeavours that have been produced.[14]

In 2014 desireearmfeldt commented on the state of the fandom on LJ and AO3:

In the two-years-and-a-bit I've been in the fandom, the impression I've gotten is that we're maintaining a small core of reasonably active writers, with a somewhat larger group of occasional writers, but we've run into trouble when we've tried to float more than a couple of challenges/events throughout the year -- right now, a lot of people are working on the Due South/Canadian 6 Degrees Big Bang (ds_c6d_bigbang), and there's Due South Seekrit Santa in December, and this year we've been experimenting with mini-fests for various actors' birthdays, all of which seems to have kept people pretty busy.[15]

In 2016-2017, several due South communities were imported to dreamwidth to preserve them.

Fandom on Tumblr

A new (smaller) wave of interest in Due South occurred on tumblr. Some fans called it the "due South Fandom Renaissance".[16]



Print Zines


Ship-centric Fics

See ship pages for individual examples:

Gen Fics



See also Category:Due South Vids.

With its gorgeous colors and interesting filming style, DS has historically been a popular fandom for vidding, though it lagged for a while during the move from VCR to computer vidding because of the relatively late release of DVDs for the show.[note 3]

The initial dS vids were gen, or Fraser/RayV, and generally very upbeat. Example: Don't Put It In Your Mouth.

Some vids explained what happened to break them up arrived on the scene. Example: Full of Grace.

Happy Fraser/RayK vids: Examples: The Rest (Will Take Care of Itself), etc.

Epic Fraser/RayK vids, many of which ended with the final shot from Call of the Wild. Example: Wonder of Birds by Laura Shapiro and Morgan Dawn.

There is also an entire genre of both slash and gen vids where absolutely equality of Rays is created: every clip of RayV would be balanced by a clip of RayK. Example: Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by Alasen.

Places to find vids:

Below is a non-exclusive list of notable dS vids, in no particular order. Vids beloved by fans of a particular pairing or character are also enumerated on the pertinent subpages.


Due South was a very popular fandom for podfic in the LiveJournal era because a few due South fans like Zabira started podficcing many popular fics early in the development of podfic fandom, thus drawing in more due South fans to podfic (and maybe some podficcers to due South). The first post in ds_noticeboard about podfic was in April 2006 by isiscolo, who was podficcing their own fics.[17] In late 2006 slidellra started a dS/C6D podfic masterlist.[18] Nos4a2no9 recollected, "I always think of slidellra as one of the big founding moms of dS podfic, in the sense that she was the one who went around requesting it and bribing/cajoling/begging people to record their stuf."[19] In July 2007 podfic got its own section of the ds_weekly newsletter.[20] In 2007 Due South was also the second fandom hosted on the Audiofic Archive. From 2008 to 2010, the Amplificathon challenge, whose purpose was to encourage podfic in a wider variety of fandoms, listed due South as one of the three most popular fandoms for podfic. As podficcers moved into newer and larger fandoms, this effect diminished, but as of 2015 Due South was still in the top ten fandoms on Audiofic Archive.[21]

The due South Podfic Exchange was a small podfic-only gift exchange that ran in 2013. Other due South and C6D challenges have also included podfic, including due South Seekrit Santa and Due South Canadian 6 Degrees Big Bang.

Where to find podfi:


The fandom has several longstanding archives.

The oldest is the Due South Archive, known informally as the DSA or Hexwood from its old location at hexwood.org. The DSA then moved to squidge.org, and is consequently known to some as Ex-wood. In 2017 the archive moved to AO3, where the collection is still open to new works. DSA accepts all Due South fiction: slash, het, and gen. It has had at least eight archivists, including: A.C. Chapin (1994), Amanda Cook (1994-1995), Seah (1995 - 1998), Elaine Walker (1998 - 1999), Anagi (1999 - 2000), Nord (2000 - 2001), Merry Lynne (2001- 2003), and Speranza (2003 - ongoing).

Due Slash is, at its name suggests, a slash-only fan fiction archive. It is run by ZorroRojo, Robin Serrano, AuKestrel, and Kelingtyn.

Other archives have included Bindlestitch, Two Axes (a Fraser/Vecchio specific archive), Fraser's Library, and Racine Street.

Mitch Hudson has maintained an in-depth list of due South resources since the early days of the fandom. The site was last updated in 2008. However, if you're looking for older due South links, plug the website into the WayBack Machine.

Red Ships Green Ships is home to slash that "revolves around the Mountie and his third-season partner".

After the Archive of Our Own opened, many authors migrated their fics there (see the due South tag). Before the archive opened, fans on LiveJournal had multiple rounds of discussion about how people weren't uploading their fic to the available archives but just posting to LiveJournal and/or their personal websites. As of late December 2008 some fans said they were waiting for the AO3 to be ready.[22] In 2019 a dreamwidth community, ds_ficminers, was created for archiving "old due South fanfiction that has not been archived elsewhere".[23]

Fans have also been posting dS fics to fanfiction.net since 1999. As of January 2021, there are 874 dS stories on ff.net. (For comparison, there are 12,840 dS fanworks on AO3. 5174 of these are in the imported Due South Archive collection.)


Muskrat Jamboree (2007-2015) and Bitchinparty (2008-present) are two multifandom fanfic conventions that were started by Due South fans.


See also Category:Due South Meta.

Archives, Communities & Resources


  1. ^ Johnson, Brian D. Article in MacLean's, 13 October 1997. Republished in The Canadian Encyclopedia Historica. (Accessed October 11, 2008). The article states, "This season, says Marciano, Alliance offered to hire him back with a 40-per-cent pay cut, which he took as a none-too-subtle suggestion that he was not wanted."
  2. ^ In Ride Forever, the British due South making-of documentary, Marciano said that he had already signed a contract when he received the offer to return to the show. See Ride Forever entry on IMDB.com. (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  3. ^ TV Shows on DVD lists the Canadian release dates for the DVDs: the first season in November 2002, the second season in August 2003, the third season in September 2004, and the fourth season in September 2005. Amazon.com lists November 11, 2005, as the American release date for season three (actually season three and four combined). TV Shows on DVD also mentions the compression issues that resulted in poor image quality on the American DVDs. For an example of disgruntled, would-be DVD-purchasers, see Due South Season 3 Delayed again!, March 18, 2004. Thread posted on alt.tv.due-south. (Accessed 28 October 2008)


  1. ^ Johnson, Allan (December 12, 1995). "Who's the Nice-guy Hero in the Red Suit ?". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2016-11-04. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  2. ^ For example, see TV Tropes' Magic Realism entry.
  3. ^ Comment thread started by movies_michelle in Arduinna's post the twisty paths of fandom. Comments posted 11 April 2010. (Accessed 14 May 2011.)
  4. ^ See fandom_wank: OMG! How DARE you write a pairing that HURTS ME!, Archived version for a partial discussion (nested comments are unavailable) about one fan's view of the Ray/Ray pairing.
  5. ^ Frequently Asked Questions about Due South, Archived version
  6. ^ Announcement sent to the DSOUTH-L mailing list on Oct 22, 1995.
  7. ^ From DSVS Writer's Page, published 1999 on Geocities Tuktoyuktuk Library (Accessed 4 March 2011 using Wayback Machine)
  8. ^ From Due South Slash Virtual Season, published 2001 on Fortune City (Accessed 4 March 2011 using Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ from list email reminder dated September 9, 1999
  10. ^ Email archive from DSX list, accessed November 13, 2008
  11. ^ The BIG dS LJ Fandom Poll - 2007 is here, Archived version, posted by aingeal8c to ds_closet, 21 May 2007. (Accessed 31 January 2021.)
  12. ^ The Big dS LJ Fandom Poll 2007 - Results in full, Archived version, posted by aingeal8c, 17 July 2007. (Accessed 31 January 2021.)
  13. ^ The Big dS LJ Fandom Poll 2007 - The Analysis, Archived version, posted by aingeal8c, 17 July 2007. (Accessed 31 January 2021.)
  14. ^ Week 52 21st - 28th December 2010, Archived version, posted by aingeal8c to DS Weekly, 2010-12-28. (Accessed 23 January 2021.)
  15. ^ "Hey everyone?", Archived version, comment by desireearmfeldt on a post by seabroth in ds_flashfiction, 2 June 2014. (Accessed 30 January 2021.)
  16. ^ "'due South Fandom Renaissance' is a term I first heard/saw being used on livejournal (to describe new fen coming from tumblr, though) in about 2014. I don't see it used very often anymore, but honestly I'm also not on livejournal in any real capacity anymore." comment by thisaintbc on "a thought about the dS fanlore page", Archived version, dreamwidth, 17 December 2018.
  17. ^ Ich Weiß Nicht (the Eins, Zwei, Drei remix) audio version, Archived version, posted by isiscolo in ds_noticeboard, 10 April 2006. (Accessed 11 January 2021.)
  18. ^ dS & 6 degrees podfic index, Archived version, livejournal post by slidellra, 15 October 2006.
  19. ^ comment on ds_noticeboard post "fanlore.org needs us!", Archived version, 14 Oct. 2008.
  20. ^ Week 29 15th - 22nd July 2007, Archived version posted by aingeal8c to ds_weekly, 22 July 2007. (Accessed 24 January 2021.)
  21. ^ Top Podficced Fandoms on the @audioficarchive (top 30, which accounts for 62% of all podfic on there), Archived version, tweet by Paraka, 1 October 2015.}}
  22. ^ There's a world of information at your local library, Ray., Archived version dreamwidth copy of a livejournal post by zabira, 15 December 2008. (Accessed 18 January 2021.)
  23. ^ ds_ficminers - Community Profile, Archived version (Accessed 18 January 2021.)