10 user 7 critic

Shock to the System (2006)

1:51 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A gay detective tries to solve the murder of a college student.



, (based on the book by)



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Third Man Out (TV Movie 2005)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A gay detective is hired to find who has been been threatening a notorious member of the gay community noted for outing people.

Director: Ron Oliver
Stars: Chad Allen, Sebastian Spence, Jack Wetherall
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A mysterious client of private eye Don Strachey pays him cash to tail a woman who turns out to be an undercover officer; an older lesbian couple are victims of threats and vandalism; an old... See full summary »

Director: Ron Oliver
Stars: Chad Allen, Sebastian Spence, Margot Kidder
Ice Blues (2008)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Tim Callahan, aide to New York Senator Lauren Platt, is disappointed that all of the $3 million funding has been pulled from his latest pet project, a safe zone for children and youth. His ... See full summary »

Director: Ron Oliver
Stars: Chad Allen, Sebastian Spence, Daryl Shuttleworth
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

In high school, Matt and Ryan were best friends. More than friends, actually. But in the ensuing ten years, they've lost contact. So when Matt receives an invitation to Ryan's wedding he's ... See full summary »

Director: C. Jay Cox
Stars: Tori Spelling, Philipp Karner, James O'Shea
Save Me I (2007)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A sex and drug addicted young man who is forced into a Christian-run ministry in an attempt to cure him of his "gay affliction", where instead he is faced with the truth in his heart and spirit.

Director: Robert Cary
Stars: Jeremy Glazer, Chad Allen, David Petruzzi
Tiger Orange (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the small Central California town where they grew up, two estranged gay brothers struggle to reconnect after the recent death of their father.

Director: Wade Gasque
Stars: Mark Strano, Frankie Valenti, Gregory Marcel
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A socially shunned columnist finds his romantic match online, but messaging under the wrong account causes his sleazy roommate's picture to be forwarded, creating an identity mix-up.

Director: J.C. Calciano
Stars: Nicholas Downs, David Loren, Adam Huss
Poster Boy (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

With the help of a hot, slightly older new acquaintence (Noseworthy), the closeted son (Newton) of a conservative U.S. Senator (Lerner) puts a shocking spin on his dad's re-election campaign.

Director: Zak Tucker
Stars: Matt Newton, Michael Lerner, Karen Allen
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After their most recent loss, a soccer team discovers its goalie is gay and casts him out. He retaliates by bringing back an all-gay team for a game to prove who's better.

Director: Sherry Hormann
Stars: Maximilian Brückner, Lisa Potthoff, Dietmar Bär
3 (2010)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Berlin-set drama centered on a 40-something couple who, separately, fall in love with the same man.

Director: Tom Tykwer
Stars: Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow
Priest (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache) is torn between his call as a conservative Catholic priest and his secret life as a homosexual with a gay lover, frowned upon by the Church. Upon ... See full summary »

Director: Antonia Bird
Stars: Linus Roache, Tom Wilkinson, Robert Carlyle
Harvest (2011)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A drama that tracks the relationship between two young apprentices working on an agricultural complex south of Berlin.

Director: Benjamin Cantu
Stars: Lukas Steltner, Kai Michael Müller, Steven Baade


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Cornell
Mrs. Hale
Lynne Cornell
Rikki Gagne ...
Katey Simmons (as Rikki Gange) (as Rikki Gagné)
Gerry Morton ...
Morgan Brayton ...
Leanne Adachi ...
Dr. Sung


Because of a feature article on him in the Advocate, Albany based Donald Strachey has gained some notoriety as a gay private detective. His latest client, Paul Hale, a scared young man, provides Donald with a $5,000 retainer to find "someone", that person unspecified before Paul is scared off. Soon thereafter, Paul is found dead. The official cause of death is deemed suicide by the coroner's office, but Donald wants to do right by Paul by finding who killed him as the police unofficially believe he was murdered. Another person who believes Paul was murdered is his mother, Phyllis Hale. Donald learns that homophobic Mrs. Hale sent Paul to the Phoenix Foundation, run by Dr. Trevor Cornell and his wife Lynn Cornell and for which Paul was the poster child. The Foundation's raison d'etre is repairative therapy i.e. to help people turn from gay to straight. Donald believes Paul's death has something to do with the Foundation, whether it be a connection to one of the Cornells or one of the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Donald Strachey Mystery See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content, nudity, language and a violent image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 July 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donald Strachey: Systemschock  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,750 (USA) (4 August 2006)


$3,665 (USA) (18 August 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



(opening sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Set in Albany, New York, USA, but filmed primarily in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. See more »


When Kenny meets Timmy for the first time in Donald's office, he doesn't recognize him as Donald's partner though there's a (pretty big) picture of the couple above his desk. See more »


Followed by Ice Blues (2008) See more »


I'm Over You
written by Peter Allen & David Hudgins
performed by Peter Allen, Vincent Mai and Sibell Thrasher
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Poster Boy Gets Popped
23 October 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Shock To The System begins on a dark night with Chad Allen as openly gay private eye Donald Strachey meeting Jared Keeso who wants him to find somebody. No sooner does he hand Allen a $5000.00 retainer check than someone tries to run him down with a car. The next day he's found dead of a pill and liquor combination and the coroner calls it suicide.

To even the dumbest cops you'll find in any detective story you don't hire a PI for a job and then kill yourself. But the Albany cops don't want to go any farther, but Allen has the scent. Young Keeso was the poster boy for an Ex-Gay therapy group the Phoenix Foundation headed by Michael Woods and his wife Anne Marie DeLuise. That seems the place to start though Keeso's mother Morgan Fairchild tells Allen that it was some gay seeking vengeance on her son for betraying the movement.

In a move that requires real acting on his part, out and proud detective Chad Allen goes undercover in the foundation claiming to be a troubled gay man seeking a cure from the curse of homosexuality. Some of these scenes and later some scenes of self examination and introspection on his own life with partner Sebastian Spence show some really moving acting by Chad Allen.

Shock To The System throws us a ton of red herrings as suspects and believe me you will never figure out the real motive for this and another homicide of one of the patients. That being said you won't figure out who the killer is. I didn't until about 30 seconds before it was revealed.

Chad Allen has made four Strachey stories and hopefully will do more. Having the series shot in Canada I have to say that British Columbia doesn't look anything like Albany, New York so that's a bit of let down in the sense I'm familiar with Albany. But there is a more fundamental difference between these stories and most pulp detective work.

Be it Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Mike Hammer or any of a thousand lesser imitations your basic straight detective is a love them and leave them type with a new dame in every story. But the Donald Strachey stories emphasize that Strachey is a domestic type who has settled down with the love of his life who works for a State Senator in Albany. The two are very much in love and the films and books show that at every opportunity.

The books were written and the films made at a time when LGBT folks are pushing for marriage rights and in 2006 when this film was made we didn't have them in New York. It's interesting to speculate that the idea for a gay private eye originated 20 year previously or if such stories are written 20 years in the future when marriage is secured whether a pulp hero like Donald Strachey will be your typical detective loner dealing with a bar crowd and loving and leaving a succession of young party boys.

And I would not dare speculate on what lesbian detective fiction might be like if someone is inspired to write a series of those stories.

But at this point in time Donald Strachey is a hero of those times and hopefully we'll see more of him in future work.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Order of the Books nard-5
The Books Damaduende
i really enjoy the nude scene bigbluefalcon
Don Strachey's 'Dad' On The Radio This Weekend emperor28_1-1
An honest, homosexual mystery movie. genie-13
Discuss Shock to the System (2006) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: