Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Challenging Season 1 of Tin Star

Scott D. Parker

It’s probably just me.

The wife and I finished up season 1 of Tin Star, the BBC show, created by Rowan Joffé. All three seasons are now available on Amazon Prime.

Tim Roth stars as James Worth, a former London police detective with some shady ways of doing things, especially when he’s [shocker] he’s drunk. When inebriated, James reverted to his more violent Mr. Hyde-type self, Jack, a personality he used while working under cover.

As the show starts, James is assuming his new job as the Chief of Police of Little Big Bear, a small town in Canada. In tow are his wife, teenaged daughter, and Petey, his five-year-old son. They don’t seem too happy to be moving, but with a mysterious past, it’s a good idea to get away.

Complicating things in the small town are the local deputies. Denise is a First Nation officer trying to navigate her responsibilities to her job, the local populace, and the increasing erratic behavior of the new chief. Deputy Ryan is having none of it and often calls out James for his behavior.

But that’s not all. North Stream Oil is in the area, aiming to take as much resources as possible while simultaneously doing whatever it takes to exercise its control over the town, including the police force. Louis, the head of security, seems always to know what’s going on and which screws to twist to protect the company.

Christina Hendricks plays Elizabeth, a PR specialist, who, over the course of this first season, slowly uncovers some of the company’s more unsavory history.

Then there are the trio of bad dudes who have followed the Worth family all the way from Britain. It is one of them who, in the first episode, pulls the trigger on the fleeing family and sets into motion most of the first season’s events.

The Character Challenges

Let’s start at the top. James Worth is an extremely difficult person to root for. Now, Tim Roth is excellent in his portrayal of the erratic James, but the actions he takes as the ten episodes play out are hard to understand at time. The more decisions he makes, the more I look over to my wife and ask why? One great (?) thing and Roth’s James Worth is his decisive decision making. If he makes up his mind to do something—like find the people who pulled the trigger in episode one—he’s a bulldog. His choices are basically crystal clear, even if you don’t agree with them. They build up over the season, so much so that by the end, you are left wondering will he or won’t he.

A hard man to like. But there are few in this show that garner genuine empathy. The two local deputies I like, and Ryan—who always got the short end of the stick most of the time—became someone with whom I could see myself.

But for all the irritating things these characters do, the actors portraying these character are all working at the top of their game. Late in the season, there’s an extended flashback scene, and what the young actor is called on to do is a heavy lift, but he does so well.

Christopher Heyerdahl as the head of security is super creepy and enigmatic (as the true reasons he does what he does is never truly revealed). Granted, it’s all to protect the company, but as Hendricks’s Elizabeth asks, why does a multi-billion dollar company care what a small town cop says.

Then there’s James’s daughter, Anna. The path her character takes is interesting. Not likable, mind you, but interesting. And it all leads up to the final seconds of the season and the instant cut to credits.

When those credits started rolling on Thursday night, I asked my wife why she made me watch this show. She sort of smiled and said I could have stopped at any time.

True, I didn’t, because the story is compelling enough that I wanted to know what happened next, but it’s so irritating that I’m following and wondering about characters the likes of which I wouldn’t want to invite to my house.

Will I watch season two? Probably. Will I enjoy it? To be determined.

Have you seen Tin Star?

1 comment:

Dana King said...

I haven't seen it. herd something about it a while ago, then forgot. Your review is enough to make me check it out, but it will have a short leash.