G-S-T TV: Low Winter Sun (S1, Ep 7: There Was A Girl)

LowWinterSun HeaderAMC’s Low Winter Sun is rounding third and hoping for a win. In this episode Frank and Joe look to get a break in the McCann case. Frank confronts Damon and Maya at their house with a warrant charging him with Billy’s murder. They bring Damon and his crew in as a suspects and try to fully alleviate themselves of all suspicion. However Joe and Frank are reaching their breaking point and are driven further apart by their attempts at covering up McCann’s death. At the station Frank gives Damon a very hard edged interrogation but when Damon won’t back down Frank and Joe take things too near extremes.

Joe and Frank put a lot of pressure on Damon’s buddies and get close pinning Billy’s and McCann’s murder 100% on Damon. But Damon will not budge and it’s easier to roll over on a dead guy, well “missing” (remember Michael Drake died in the car 2 episodes but everyone says he just left town) all together then it is to simply claim your own innocence. Frank thought he held all the cards but Damon’s crew starts putting up a smoke screen with conflicting confessions – one guy says Damon did it, the other guy says Michael did it.

There’s a kind of L.A. Confidential feel to this episode but to make comparisons might be giving it too much credit. This is just a standard “we know you did it, just admit it” type of interrogation. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures and as they need answer today, Frank starts, literally and figuratively, going for low blows in the form of kidney punches and blackmail. But right as Damon is about to talk (making a deal for Maya’s release) Joe loses it and jeopardizes the whole interrogation. Damon later goes free thanks to Skelos’ lawyer yet he doesn’t want Damon free, just out in the open.

Low Winter Sun - Lennie James

Going back to last episode, Frank’s 36 hour disappearance did not go unnoticed (while looking for Katia) and Joe had Frank’s phone traced. Now everyone knows about Katia including IA. Frank and Joe have it our Joe’s boat as Joe confesses to being a dishonest cop and helping McCann kill people for money. He and McCann would carry out hits for the Greek mob boss and received decent payouts – decent enough to buy himself a boat but not enough to keep him from coming back for more. It’s bad enough when Joe knows Frank has been on an endless search for Katia but now that IA knows about her, the Ace up their sleeve so to speak, Agent Simon Boyd (David Costabile) uses her as the link to pin McCann’s death on Joe and Frank.

Low Winter Sun continually gets close to being a gripping show but somehow just comes up a little short. The three plot lines swirl around one another but individually they are not weighty or compelling enough. Again a lot of the fault lies on the casting of Ransone. It’s apparent the show’s creators were going for a sort of “runt of the litter” approach to his character but it’s just not working. Most everyone feels hollow. Not sure if it’s worth anything but this episode is directed by one Catherine Hardwicke. It does have a slightly more focused presentation but it’s unclear if that has to do with Hardwicke or those converging plot lines.

Low Winter Sun _ Strong

The one good thing the show has going for it is Mark Strong, but it feels like he’s just sleeping through his role as there’s no extraordinary material that can pull a superior performance out of him. Continually defending the show is starting to be a futile effort but again this is just not as strong are compelling as the other shows in AMC’s lineup. Were this the product of another station (read: not AMC) there might be more to talk about but again and again this just starts to feel like an also-ran in the gritty cop show genre.