Tin Star, starring Tim Roth, Christina Hendricks

Tin Star with Tim Roth

Rocky road ahead – Tim Roth as Jim Worth

London cop looks for a bit of peace in small-town Canada – and finds murder and chaos

★★

Sky Atlantic, starts Thursday, 7 September, 9pm

LAST TIME we saw Tim Roth he was playing the quietly spoken creepy mass killer in dowdy Rillington Place. What a leap to see him transformed into a police chief in modern-day, small-town Canada.

Of course, the reason he is in demand with everyone from Quentin Tarantino (Hateful Eight etc) to David Lynch (Twin Peaks) is his brilliant malleability.

In Sky Atlantic’s new 10-parter he plays Jim Worth, ex-Metropolitan Police detective who has moved his family to the Rockies. Here they plan a new and better life, with Jim policing a rural community.

However, the setting – though spectacular – is not idyllic. There is a big oil company, North Stream, breathing down the community’s neck.

Organised crime in Little Big Bear

Their new oil refinery promises to bring in cash to Little Big Bear, but with that comes organised crime. When a doctor who spoke out against North Stream turns up dead, Jim investigates and finds himself up against forces he is ill-equipped to fight.

A bullet intended for Jim actually hits a family member and the lawman finds himself sliding back into the alcoholism that had plagued him back home.

It’s a juicy premise. Jim begins as a fish-out-of-water character, swearing in his broad London accent, chivvying his daughter into their new life.

Christina Hendricks and Genevieve O’Reilly

But he becomes a much darker character after episode one. The attack on his family unleashes a more reckless and vengeful man. Quite a few real big-city cops escape into new lives into a more tranquil lifestyle. Except Little Big Bear tips Jim into near madness.

Roth gets first-class support from Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks as a slightly conflicted PR woman for North Stream, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Jim’s wife, Angela.

The writer and creator is Rowan Joffe – British son of director Roland – who has come up with a strong story about illicit love, corruption and revenge. If you want a drama with a bit of humour and a lot of anarchy, Tin Star should do fine.

Top of the Lake: China Girl

Programme Name: Top Of The Lake: China Girl - TX: n/a - Episode: Top Of The Lake: China Girl (No. Generics) - Picture Shows: Detective Robin Griffin [ELISABETH MOSS] - (C) See-Saw Films (TOTL2) Holdings Pty Ltd - Photographer: Grant Matthews

Dark twist: Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss)


Top-quality drama, set in Sydney, sees the return of detective Robin Griffin

★★★★½

BBC2, starts Thursday, 27 July, 9pm

JANE CAMPION’S Top of the Lake returns and it really is a distinctive drama. It unsettles and then slowly immerses you in a troubling scenario involving the sex trade and murder.

Detective Robin Griffin, played by Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss again, returns to Sydney after her four traumatic years in New Zealand. It was there that she dealt with the child sex-ring case, which was dealt with in the original 2013 series.

She is fragile and struggling after her experiences, not helped by the sniggers and chauvinism of her colleagues in Sydney. She is also still haunted by the daughter she gave up at birth. However, it is a frosty welcome that she gets. Even her brother Liam turfs her out of his flat when he needs her room back.

Gwendoline Christie as Miranda

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/07/2017 - Programme Name: Top Of The Lake: China Girl - TX: n/a - Episode: Top Of The Lake: China Girl (No. Ep 1) - Picture Shows: NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, TUESDAY 18TH JULY, 2017 Detective Robin Griffin [ELISABETH MOSS], Miranda Hilmarson (GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE) - (C) See-Saw Films (TOTL2) Holdings Pty Ltd - Photographer: Sally Bongers

Cliff-hanger – Detective Robin Griffin [Elisabeth Moss], Miranda Hilmarson (Gwendoline Christie)

Her cop partner, Miranda (Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie) is one of her few allies. Robin’s hope is that by throwing herself into work she will find some equilibrium again.

She is confronted by a disturbing case. The body of a young woman is swept onto Bondi Beach. While there seems little chance of finding the killer of ‘China Girl’, Robin discovers that the victim did not die alone. The case drags her into the seedier, darker recesses of the city.

Oscar-winning director Jane Campion has created and written a brooding, engrossing six-part series. She lets the story unfold visually in passages without dialogue, pulling you in as you become curious about the characters’ lives.

Nicole Kidman as Julia

Programme Name: Top Of The Lake: China Girl - TX: n/a - Episode: First Look (No. First Look) - Picture Shows: Julia (NICOLE KIDMAN) - (C) See Saw Productions Australia - Photographer: Sally Bongers

Controlling mother – Julia (Nicole Kidman)

Among them are Mary (Alice Englert), a student with an enigmatic ‘professor boyfriend’ Puss (David Dencik). She is the difficult adopted daughter of Julia (Nicole Kidman) and Pyke (Ewen Leslie).

Several storylines overlap, including one in which a group of sleazy young men compare notes on sex workers they use who advertise themselves on the internet.

It is a menacing world for Robin Griffin to get into, but a gripping and brilliantly made drama for us to follow.

Inspector Borowski, All 4/Walter Presents

Inspector Borowski on Walter Presents

An inspector calls – Borowski

German procedural that lacks the brooding intrigue of Nordic noir

★★½ All 4/Walter Presents, streaming from Friday, 16 September

SINCE THE KILLING revolutionised our viewing habits back in 2011, we’ve covered foreign-language series based in Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Iceland, Switzerland, Croatia and even Montenegro. But during these five years Germany has not featured – until now.

So over on All 4’s Walter Presents foreign strand is Inspector Borowski, starring Alex Milberg as the ‘lone-wolf, perfectionist’ detective. The first story is Borowski and a Matter of Pure Taste.

On the basis of the opening episode, I would say the Germans have a lot to learn from their Nordic counterparts. Borowski is dated and a little plodding.

New female partner

Even the story, about an investigation into the death of a teenager after he has an energy drink packed with too many E numbers, doesn’t really make you sit up enthralled.

Borowski himself, who operates in the port city of Kiel,  just doesn’t jump out of the screen as a character, largely because the actor is given so little to do apart from wandering around asking questions. Oh, and he drives a knackered old VW.

However, while some dark and disturbing cases in coming weeks might inject real intrigue, the opener falls a little flat. Perhaps when Borowski gets his new female partner, Sarah Brandt (Sibel Kekilli), there will be a little chemistry to get things going, otherwise I can’t wait for the next German series.

Wolf Creek, TV spinoff on Fox

A serial killer’s roaming the Outback in this pacy TV adaptation

★★★½ Fox, Tuesday, 30 August, 10pm

IF THIS new series sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a spin-off from the 2005 film about an Outback psycho terrorising backpackers. There was also a sequel.

Its director, Greg McLean, returns with this briskly paced six-parter. Actor John Jarratt also reprises his role as said psycho, Mick Taylor.

This time round the victims are a holidaying American family, consisting of dad, mom and their children – a young lad and 19-year-old Eve (Lucy Fry). The reason I haven’t named the rest of Eve’s family is that they are brutally murdered by Mick before the opening credits. Eve just manages to elude Taylor, who believes she has become ‘croc bait’.

Dustin Clare as Detective Hill

Detective Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare) is keen to ship Eve back home and get on with tracking down the man behind the atrocity. While his colleagues have their doubts about Eve’s version of events, Hill has bigger worries.

Namely, could the murder of Eve’s family be connected to disappearances across the territories in recent years?

However, more immediately he has to deal with Eve, who has run off with his case files, determined to track down the killer on her own.

John Jarratt as psycho Taylor

Wolf Creek has its rough edges, but it is gripping. The photography is stunning too, playing on the mystery of the beautiful but deadly Outback, as movies have done all the way back to 1971’s Walkabout.

Eve’s motivation as vigilante is a bit flimsy – she doesn’t even seem to get on that well with her dad in the few minutes he’s on screen. But Jarratt is chilling as Mick, who, like real-life monster Fred West, uses his bumpkin folksiness as a cloak for his homicidal intent.

 

19-2 Canadian cop series arrives on DVD

19-2 SERIES / SPHÈRE MÉDIA Photos : Bertrand Calmeau

Thin blue line: Barron and Chartier in 19-2

5439THIS NEW Canadian series reminds us of Southland with its on-the-beat depiction of a patrol cops, veering from darkly humorous to just dark. Starring Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso as Nick Barron and Ben Chartier, who work for Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, dealing with crime on the streets, station politics and their personal problems. The series went out on Spike TV in the UK and, while not as polished as the superb Southland, certainly packs a lot of action and some decent characters. If you missed it on Spike, series one is now coming out on DVD on 21 September (RRP £19.99).

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