Detroit was once an attractive city. It now suffers from self-doubt, wonders where it all went wrong and what it did to deserve its current predicament. Choosing a bald man for the lead role in a series set there was a wise choice. He will intuitively understand all of these things.
Said actor, Mark Strong, as Detective Frank Agnew is one of the few highlights of AMC’s Low Winter Sun. Something which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the title since it’s an American version of his role in Channel 4’s 2006 mini-series of the same name.
Strong plays the same conflicted copper; a good man corrupted by nurture not nature. Led astray by a colleague who convinces him that evil means are sometimes necessary for good to prevail. It’s an all too familiar trope; that once the devil has made a good man sin, he will forever be a sinner. Because he becomes a man who will do whatsoever necessary to relieve his karmic burden. Somehow forgetting in his quest for redemption that expedient methods rarely achieve disinfected outcomes.
Low Winter Sun follows Detective Agnew and his partner Joe Geddes (Lennie James) across ten episodes as they try to escape the consequences of a murder they committed and are now in charge of investigating. It’s occasionally interesting but more frequently not. Although there’s enough potential that I wouldn’t be averse to a second series – if the cast remains intact and somebody goes full Robespierre on the writers.
The script is colour-by-numbers deliberate and the dialogue relies too heavily on over-emphasised would-be aphorisms. Lines that might have worked as development talking points but have instead been used as the corner stones from which to build a script.
Engagement with Low Winter Sun comes exclusively with the cast. Aside from Strong and James, there’s much to be said for their most visible villain. The character and tone of James Ransone’s Damon Callis is not new to him. As Tim in ‘How To Make It In America’ his character was similarly Puckish, upbeat and mischief making – albeit with less violence. As Cpl. Josh Ray Person in HBO’s Generation Kill, and despite sharing a screen with Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood’s Eric Northman) in almost every scene, he was the biggest draw.
It helped that he had lines like, “How come we can’t ever invade a cool country, with chicks in bikinis? I’ll tell you why. It’s lack of pussy that fucks countries up. Lack of pussy is the root fucking cause of all global instability.” But even with Low Winter Sun’s shine-blocking script, he’s an enigmatic presence.
It’s not must-watch TV, but if you must watch it, you’re probably already aware that you’ve got too much free time.
Low Winter Sun Season One is available to buy now from Amazon