I only heard about this show obliquely through the web, but this was truly a television masterpiece. Jane Campion Confession: I never watched The Piano (I’ll correct that by next week!) shoots this police drama in New Zealand among the most stupendously beautiful scenery of mountains and lakes and forests – Lord of the Rings meets Kojak or something. Detective Robin Griffin (played most incredibly by Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men) plays a police officer from Australia that comes into town on a special mission due to deal with a juvenile case. Holly Hunter plays GJ, a sort of self-styled pseudo-feminist that creates a camp of women and holds court in a storage container at the end of the road on a place called Paradise. It turns out that Paradise is actually owned by Matt Mitchim (played incredibly well by Peter Millan), the father of Tui and the local drug lord. Tui is a 12-year old girl that is found neck-deep in a freezing lake, alive but very pregnant. The drama unravels as Robin tries to understand who got Tui pregnant just as she disappears. Robin’s boss, Al Parker (played by David Wenham) is ambiguous to the end. The acting is unparalleled, the cinematography was breathtaking, and the story arcs never condescend or compromise. It is hard hitting drama. The other thing that struck me about this show is how the quality of the shows gets better and better – I was increasingly spell-bound by the last three episodes. I would easily place this among the best dramatic shows I have seen this year so far. I usually don’t go for police dramas (well, Dexter and Justified set aside :), but this one is more than worth your time.
Side note: I am trying to stay into Under the Dome but finding that it is (contrary to Top of the Lake) getting WORSE with every episode. More on that next time. Or the time after.
- Top of the Lake: Jane Campion’s new scandal melodrama starring the extraordinary Elisabeth Moss (independent.co.uk)
- TV Review: Top of the Lake (http://blogcritics.org/tv-review-top-of-the-lake/)