Allan Hawco, the star and co-creator of "Republic of Doyle" on CBC Television, describes the first episode of the fourth season of his program as the start of the series' best season ever.

"It feels like the best premiere we've ever done in terms of the dramatics," said Hawco, who plays private detective Jake Doyle.

"It's an action-packed first episode on Sunday, I tell you."

Resolution to cliffhanger

Republic of Doyle ended its third season on a cliffhanger with character Des Courtney getting shot in the stomach, and Jake Doyle's beloved Pontiac GTO destroyed. Hawco promised fans that the season premiere will bring resolution to those Doyle dilemmas.

Hawco said this season, fans will get to know more about Jake's family members and friends, including some growth in the character of Tinny — Jake's niece — and an intriguing plot surrounding RNC Sgt. Leslie Bennett. 

"We took some risks this year, dramatically," said Hawco.

Lots of guest stars

Republic of Doyle has become known for attracting high profile guest stars, such as Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe, and the fourth season will continue to feature well-known faces. 

In Sunday's premiere episode, Braveheart actor Angus Macfayden makes an appearance as Jake's uncle, visiting from the north of Ireland. Hollywood character actor Luis Guzman will show up in an episode later this season. Newfoundland actors Gordon Pinsent, Bob Joy and Joel Thomas Hynes will be featured in several episodes. Canadian actor Paul Gross will have a recurring guest star role as Kevin Crocker, Jake's former police partner and Tinny's father.

Show a Canadian hit

Hawco credited people from Newfoundland and Labrador, at home and away, for spreading the word about Republic of Doyle when the television series first started, and helping turn it into a Canadian hit.

Hawco points out that ratings are also high for the show in cities such as Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, where many viewers have no personal connection with his home province.

"What [co-creator] Perry [Chafe] and [producers] John [Vatcher] and Rob [Blackie] and I were trying to do was sort of open a window into sort of our ideal version of St. John's," said Hawco.

"And I feel like we may have opened a door so that people feel they've come to visit us for a week." 

The Season 4 premiere of Republic of Doyle airs Sunday at 9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland, 9:00 p.m. in the rest of Canada, on CBC Television.