G-S-T TV: Low Winter Sun (S1, Ep 2: The Goat Rodeo)

Low Winter Sun_Strong Costabile

Episode 2 of AMC’s Low Winter Sun continues with the dark storyline and things are looking good for this new series. Following an unauthorized search of Mc Cann’s house by the DPD, Frank finds evidence that could have an immeasurable impact on the dynamic of his world. Elsewhere Maya and Damon find themselves rethinking their previously established plans.

It takes a little time to get invested in these characters but there is no denying the charisma and acting power of Mark Strong and Lennie James who are very much carrying the show. Lennie James, as if speaking both for and to the audience, as Joe cuts to the chase and has no problem casting off the usual law enforcement mumbo jumbo and red tape. Frank still feels that the revenge wasn’t enough to avenge his hooker girlfriend’s death and can’t keep from thinking about her. While Frank, Joe and their Lt. Dawson (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) try to keep IA at bay there’s a small rift happening between Frank and Joe. Frank is reminded that they haven’t totally gotten away with this yet but more importantly that it was Joe’s partner Brendan who is still being wrung out from his dip in the the river.

Seeing characters either defenseless or in this case off-duty, (the glimpse into Joe’s near religious life that finds his mother living in his house) keeps these characters far from the super cop archetype and even farther from the Shaft ideal of the gritty urban law man who plays by his own rules. But Joe’s suspicious methods have raised more than one eyebrow as he and Damon have some sort of agreement off the books that Joe is now shunning following Brendan’s death.

Low Winter Sun - Ransone

The basis of the show is that Frank, and Joe, have perpetrated the perfect murder but little things, like the ME’s (medial examiner’s) evaluation of Brendan’s broken wrist start to poke holes in their supposed airtight cover-up. Also the inter-department rift keeps everyone from working towards the same goal and only raises questions about each officer. But while Frank thinks his number is about up, Simon (Costabile) begins to put the heat on Joe as does Frank once it’s revealed that his girlfriend might still be alive.

It’s just a tiny bit distracting as the show shifts focus from Frank’s attempt to keep the heat off his back to Damon (James Ransone) and his cocaine running and the small inter-urban steps he has to take to get there. Yet were it not for the cold-blooded initiative/Patton-esqe pep talk Maya (Sprague Grayden) gives Damon’s lackeys this whole sub-plot would fail to move the mercury. Still, it has potential for improvement.

Low Winter Sun - Lennie James

Strong, with his trademark focus and intensity, is definitely the high point of the show. It is still far too early to tell the overall quality of Low Winter Sun as well as the tooth to this overarching storyline but the whites that have been reared thus far still prove to be both alluring and intimidating. Two shows down and we’re still hooked…how bout the rest of you?