The flip side to an acquired taste like “Patriot” is that one person’s television gold is someone else’s disposable tin.
But if your personal tastes run to off-kilter comedy, then this weird, atmospheric spy caper, back for Season 2 on Amazon, is right up your alley: Think of a series mixing the offbeat sensibilities of the Coen Brothers with the quirky darkness of David Lynch.
Created by Steve Conrad (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), the show’s eight-episode second season ostensibly follows the main arc of Season 1: the efforts of dour US intelligence operative John Tavner (Michael Dorman) to assassinate an Iranian political leader in Paris, whose armed guards dress as “The Dutch Boys” (with pageboy haircuts, shorts and shoes) to avoid sexual temptations. John’s mission is guided by his father, Tom Tavner (Terry O’Quinn) — a shadowy, high-level government operative who’s starting to realize the toll John’s work is taking on his emotionally drained son.
Season 2’s narrative picks up right where Season 1 left off, with John still undercover as a midlevel Milwaukee industrial-piping manager named John Lakeman, ostensibly in Luxembourg for a piping conference — much to the chagrin of his coke-snorting boss, Leslie Claret (Kurtwood Smith), who wonders why John can’t grasp industry jargon. (Example: “The talon-winged hook sluice heralds the dawn … for tensile-threaded quench tempering across all 13 grades of hex-beveled waste drains and buckle-valved lock-nut durability.”) To quote Johnny Carson, it’s “weird stuff” — but it’s also funny, as is much of the (straight-faced) dialogue and a subplot involving a “Finger Replantation Viability” meter. Don’t ask.
“Patriot” includes many colorful characters with equally colorful names (Peter Icabod, Jack Birdbath); veteran actress Debra Winger joins the cast as John’s mother, Bernice. She’s the US secretary of transportation, which, somehow, makes sense in this surreal world.