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“Low Winter Sun” Episodes 1×01-02 Review

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Whoever came up with the idea to put Mark Strong, Lennie James, and James Ransone all on the same television show must have (somehow, subconsciously) known it would be like catnip to me.

After viewing the series trailer for Low Winter Sun, I found myself a bit more wary because it seemed like yet another cop-goes-rogue show. I was still pretty excited, though, because catnip.

Going into the series premiere last Sunday, it wasn’t quite bad, but it wasn’t all that great, either.

The pilot episode started out strong, with Frank Agnew (Mark Strong) and Joe Geddes (Lennie James) conspiring to kill fellow police officer Brendan McCann (Michael McGrady), who may have been responsible for the death of Frank’s girlfriend, Katia (Mickey Sumner).

Of course, the morning after they murder Brendan, Internal Affairs shows up and reveals that they had an ongoing investigation on Brendan. When Brendan’s body is drudged up out of the river, Internal Affairs is there to witness the whole thing – and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

If it sounds like you’ve seen this before, it’s because you probably have. Low Winter Sun suffers from being way, way too predictable. Oftentimes in cases like this where the premise is tired and overdone, the saving grace can be found in well-written, engaging characterizations… which the pilot for Low Winter Sun sadly also seems to be lacking.

The actors’ performances ranged from good to decent, but the writing just wasn’t there. I didn’t find myself particularly drawn to the characters or their stories. And by the end of the episode, I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of them, least of all gangster wannabe Damon Callis (James Ransone), whose side story involves him and his posse trying to take out the local mob boss and expand their drug business.

low-winter-sunThe show has with it all the mediocrity of a typical cop drama, but few – if any – qualities that would make it stand out.

Being that pilots tend to be a little shaky by nature, I gave Low Winter Sun another go last night – and though the second episode wasn’t a total switch in quality, it did have its improvements.

The plot was still as predictable as ever, but I found myself really enjoying the character highlights and interactions in this episode compared to the first – particularly with Detective Dani Kahli (played by Lost Girl‘s Athena Karkanis), who showcased her badass-ery in a certain liquor store scene. I’m still finding it hard to root for anyone in this story save for her, as the obvious and clear-cut good guy.

The brief glimpse into Joe’s home life was nice. I also enjoyed his first onscreen meet with Damon Callis in a scene that was rife with sparking tension and history.

So yes, episode two managed to pique my interest enough that I’ll probably keep watching for another few episodes, but all in all, it’s off to a very mediocre beginning. Low Winter Sun lacked the extra “oomph” that I would expect a show like this to have, which makes it pale in comparison to AMC’s powerhouse-shows-about-morally-questionable-white-men, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

Low Winter Sun airs on AMC at 10/9C Sunday nights. You can check out the trailer for episode 3 here:

What are your thoughts on Low Winter Sun? Is it a hit or a miss? Let us know in the comments!