Low Winter Sun, Fox, with Mark Strong, Lennie James PREVIEW

The cast of Low Winter Sun on FOX.
The cast of Low Winter Sun. Pics: Fox

Rating: ★★★★

Fox UK: starts Friday, 16 August, 10pm

Story: Two detectives murder a drunken colleague in a crime they believe is perfect. However, the next day, before the body is discovered, Internal Affairs start investigating the dead detective.

LOW WINTER SUN was a Channel 4 three-parter from 2006 (see trailer below). It starred Brian McCardie and Mark Strong, with the latter getting the rare chance to reprise his character, detective Frank Agnew, in the new US 10-parter, swapping a Scottish for American accent.

Lennie James as Joe in Low Winter Sun on FOX.
Lennie James as Joe

Detroit, famously in ruins these days, provides a suitably decaying backdrop to this dark tale of moral rot. It’s a gritty, tense ride from the moment the opening credits are done. It’s made by AMC, who have high hopes for the show, as their other supreme successes Breaking Bad and Mad Men are now in their last seasons.

We immediately encounter Frank and detective Joe Geddes, played by another Brit, Lennie James, at a moment of crisis as they prepare to commit a murder.

A perfect murder?

The two conspirators have it in for Brendan McCann, for reasons that are not that clear initially, though

Mark Strong as Frank and David Costabile as Boyd in Low Winter Sun on FOX.
Watch your back – Frank and Boyd

McCann seems to be a paragon of corruption. But is Joe something of an Iago figure here, egging Frank on? ‘The man’s a disease,’ he tells Frank. ‘We’re making it right.’

Frank believes he is basically a good guy, but still falls in with Joe’s reasoning, and together they pull off what they think is a murder that will elude solution by their colleagues.

But the best laid plans and all that… The very next morning events start to spin beyond the two detectives’ grasp. Internal Affairs turn up at the office to investigate Brendan before anyone knows he is dead, and elsewhere in the city Brendan was supposed to be conducting a drug raid and handing over some of the merchandise to his criminal partners.

David Costabile is terrific as the Internal Affairs rottweiler

Instead, these partners, Nick and Damon, go ahead and ripped off the dealer, who has major connections, and steal the whole consignment of cocaine. Meanwhile, Frank and Joe are already looking daggers at each other.

It’s a breathless opening. Lennie James, who we recently saw as another bent cop in the BBC’s Line of Duty, matches Mark Strong stare for sneer. And David Costabile has toughened up since his appearance in Breaking Bad as mild chemist Gale to play the rottweiler IA investigator Boyd.

The dialogue is terse –

Billy Lush as Nick, Sprague Grayden as Maya and James Ransone as Damon in Low Winter Sun on FOX
Criminals – Nick, Maya and Damon

Boyd: ‘Are you and Joe Geddes friends?’

Frank: ‘How do you mean?’

Boyd: ‘Are. You. Friends?’

This is a dirty game and Detroit certainly looks like the last place in the world to be a good guy. While this is also a grim set of characters, the urge to see how Low Winter Sun is going to unfold is pretty irresistible – particularly with the humdinger of a twist that hits us at the end of episode one.

Cast: Mark Strong Frank Agnew, Lennie James Joe Geddes, James Ransone Damon Callis, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Charles Dawson,  Sprague Grayden Maya Callis,  Athena Karkanis Dani Kahlil, Billy Lush Nick Paflas, David Costabile Simon Boyd

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