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Low Winter Sun Episode 1 - "Pilot" Review

Low Winter Sun’s pilot episode open up with the lead character Frank Agnew (Mark Strong) in a candle filled room with tears slowly rolling down his eyes which are in a sadden stare, automatically showing an emotional side of a character we know nothing about. “Are you drunk enough?” Asks Joe Geddes (Lennie James) pointing us in a direction what they will be performing a tasks that will be physically and mentally difficult. A flashback shows Geddes partner Brendan McCann abusing a girl shocking a gun in her face, and pushing Geddes away. Frank asks what he did to that girl. “He cut off her head? Hands and feet? I don’t know but there was a lot of blood” A lot of uncertainty to justify what they end up doing to McCann, but I guess there has been a long history of this type of behavior to justify their actions in their mind.

Put yourself in their shoes, you’re killing a guy you know. Mentally that has to be a very difficult thing to do, and I too, would have to be extremely drunk to do that to anyone I know or love, inconceivable if you ask me. What has this guy done to have the people who he trusts, who he thinks has there back. To drown him in a shitty slop sink, must have been non-premeditated, I have a feeling Low Winter Sun will deal a lot with flashbacks dealing with their history. As the car sinks into the river, and they rush trying to make their crime look like someone else did this, you can tell the slow decent into the abyss is a metaphor for their jobs and their psyche, it’s going to be dark, deep, and very lonely, and with that AMC sets up the story line for their new drama.

There is nothing glamorous about the area they live in showing Frank leaving his house the next morning in the ruins of Detroit showing boarded up houses in a crappy area. A scene showing some bad people show that McCann is corrupt and is getting paid off by criminals who are looking for drugs. These guys mean business, and show it by killing a guy who says that he has seen them around before. The precinct where our cops work is about as glamourous as the crack house the drug dealers shot the guy holding the blow, setting the scene for a very gritty and realistic setting. This guy Brendan sounds like a real P.O.S Cop, I don’t understand how this guy could have a job.

We are introduced to an Internal Affairs rep Simon Boyd played by David Costabile who had a brief stint in Breaking Bad, has some words with the Lieutenant Torrance (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) about an upcoming investigation into one of the cops, and we can tell this isn’t the first time IA has probed this department. We soon see the investigation is about McCann as one of the IA lackies search his desk and we find out the Mccann is actually Geddes partner. Per most cop drama, nobody likes Internal Affairs, and it seems like this is an unforeseen investigation which could have Geddes and Agnew figured out. Geddes points out that this was Franks idea for revenge, and that Frank thinks Joe is playing him and knew the investigation was going to happen. I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the last time Frank is going to question Joesloyalty to him. Simon starts to ask questions which gives us an idea of how Geddes sees his relationship with his partner as Give and Take and its usually Take where McCann is concerned.

We start to learn more about the drug dealers, who seemed to be led by Damon (James Ransone) and the bar where they hang out. Frank begins to have flashbacks of being in bed with a girl while standing on top of a roof, showing better times, as he holds a gold heart locket (presumably hers), then proceeds to puke in the bathroom, and then flush the locket in the toilet. $10.00 she’s dead and Mccann was involved, but that’s just an assumption at this point and I have no proof to back that up. The Boyd comes in and surprises both Frank and Joe with a DVD that has the last 12 hours of security tape from McCann’s mansion, which makes them both nervous something is on the tape and, could probably be caught already. As we go into the first commercial break I can only think there can’t be anything TO incriminating as it’s only the first episode and, this would be over to soon.
Back from commercial break and we start to see the night vision footage of what normally seems like Frank and Joe dropping off Brendan, and then him leaving supposedly drunk, but us viewers get to see it was Frank and Joe putting on a show for the cameras and that they very well knew they were there.

A well-dressed guy pulls up to the dealers bar and hands the blonde bartneder some money and Simon looks like he doesnt trusts him at all. Simon begins to explain that McCann was supposed to kill “The Old Guy” off but it looks like Frank and Joe got to Brendan before he could do the job he was paid for. It seems to be these dealers are going to be looking for Brendan and find out Frank and Joe’s secret and blackmail them to doing Brendan’s dirty work, but we shall see. While Joe is becoming increasingly defensive to Lt. Torrance about the internal affairs investigation of Brendan, the drug dealers are trying to figure out where McCann is, while the blonde bartender comforts a patron at the bar who looks upset ripping up a cardboard coaster. The patron is a down and out friend of the drug dealers, and won’t talk to them because he knows what they do, and doesn’t want in that business. He would rather be on disability then be associated with killers, but I think it’s foreshadowing that he will eventually work with them, against his will.

Frank gets walked in on by the Lt. snooping on an IA conversation, and claims he is trying to figure out what they know on Brendan, when Caliendo (Pennie-Marie Hawkins) gets a call that they found Brendan’s car, in the water and that there is a body inside it. Queue properly placed commercial break.

Back from break and the whole gang is at the crime scene and they are still unsure it is Brendan or not, but we know…we know. Joe jumps to murder (which sounds incriminating) but Simon immediately corrects him and mentions they cannot rule out suicide. Joe coyly tells Frank that he is a genius cause Boyd thinks it’s a suicide, but Frank stops Joe in his tracks, pissed that Joe wiped McCann’s hard drive, when apparently the whole department knows he can barely turn it on. Sometimes being to good, can get you caught. Joe starts to make up some words talking about how, “The rats would be all over him” to keep making IA draw the suicide conclusion, and getting a nice little dig in there saying he didn’t know, “He was talking about them”, BURN!!! In the distance the drug dealers are on looking at the crime scene and think it might be “The Old Man” who took down McCann, and the main guy, briefly recognizes Frank. Ugh, commercial.

As we get into the final moments of the Pilot episode were still at the crime scene as the meat wagon hauls off Brendan’s body, and as the Lt. talks about contacting next of kin Officer Caliendo drops a bombshell, we have a mutilated body in Brendan’s trunk, with all the body parts removed, calling back to what Geddes said in the opening minutes of the episode, already making McCann a corrupt cop in the eyes of the department. AS the show comes to a close Lt. Torrance assigns this to Frank, the guy who killed one of his own has to solve his own murder. Caliendo who seems a little too suspicious for her own and seems like she will be a huge obstacle for Frank and Joe as they have to provide results of their own crime. In the closing moments we montage into the end with Damon tossing a gun into the river, and all our new best friends of the show are shown all being nervous and suspicious by something they cannot control. We end with Frank looking out, into the river, capping off the first episode of our Low Winter Sun Adventure.

All in all it was a pretty good episode setting up a cast of characters who are almost all corrupt, or bad, and if they aren’t they are in a position where they are bad for our anti-hereos Frank and Joe. Im interested to learn more about “The Old Man”, and why these drug dealers who seem tough are scared or nervous of him. It will be interesting to see how corrupt Brenan was, and what ultimately led, 2 good cops to break the biggest police rule of them all. They killed on of their own!

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