Sunday, August 15, 2010

[TV Review] Durham County - Season 2

Despite being the most violent and darkest crime TV series you're very likely to see, Durham County finds a magic way to put substance over grittiness. Besides, the show contains the best performance I've ever seen in crime dramas.

The show takes place in a fictitious suburb of Toronto called Durham County. After the events of the first season, Det. Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon) got promoted; Ray Prager (Romano Orzari) is in prison because of his murder attempt on Sadie (Laurence Leboeuf), Mike's daughter; and Sadie is still reeling from her traumatizing encounter with Ray. As the second season begins, we're only a few days before Ray Prager appears in court. However, Mike's personal life isn't going the way he wants. As Mike tries to keep his family together, his wife, Audrey (Helen Joy) is seeking a divorce. No wonder Mike, while he's at work, cheats on his wife by sleeping with Dr. Peneloppe Verity (Michelle Forbes), a forensic psychiatrist with dark secrets and, above all, a twisted mind hidden behind an armour of lucidity.

Like the first season, the second season of Durham County is magic. The writing is still first-rate. Above all, some will find that the second season's pilot has way less difficulty to set the tone because the "villain" doesn't have a dichotomous personality. Besides, in the second season, the TV series goes way further when it comes to dealing with violence. In fact, while the first season dealt with violence expressed in an extroverted way, the second one talks about people who commit it by manipulating other people.

With that said, despite its very heavy topic, Durham County's charms lie in its way it works with its gallery of disturbed characters. While many shows (especially French Canadian TV series) feel the need to show how monstruous criminals are, Durham County shows them as human beings doing monstruous things. This means that Durham County illustrates its characters (especially the ones played by Michelle Forbes, Hugh Dillon and Romano Orzari) with the same maturity director Oliver Hirschbiegel had when he dealt with Adolf Hitler in the German film Downfall. All in all, expect to see a performance full of depth from the actors, especially from Michelle Forbes (True Blood).

Finally, Durham County is definitely not a mindless TV series that try to be dark just for the sake of it. In fact, the creators use the show's dark tone at its advantage in order to explore the darkest corners of the human mind. By the way, stay tuned, because I will organize a give away in which you can win a copy of Durham County's second season on DVD.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:Canada (2009)
Genre:Crime thriller
Screenplay:Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik

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