Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LOW WINTER SUN: "No Rounds" S1E3 (review)

By Kate McKendry
“No Rounds” begins with Joe (Lennie James) in church, reflecting on the crimes he committed with his deceased partner, Brendan McCann.  We learn Joe had told the truth to Frank (Mark Strong) in the previous episode when he says that Katia was still alive. While cutting up a body, Brendan tells Joe he needs to shoot Katia and put her in the river or else he’d kill Joe.

Instead, Joe brings Katia over the border to Canada and tells her that she is supposed to be dead and that if she ever contacts Frank, or anyone else back in Detroit, that he would kill her.

Meanwhile, Lt. George Torrance (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) pushes Frank to get Brendan’s case closed quickly to ensure that his own job isn’t on the line. Frank promises to get a lead while keeping Joe on a short leash. He does this by interrogating people Brendan had been working with or had a personal issue with in an attempt to hit a dead end, turning the case cold.

Through interrogations, they question Skelos (the Old Man), which makes Frank even more suspicious of Joe’s involvement in Brendan’s corrupt life – he accuses Joe of working for Skelos.

Internal affairs officer Simon Boyd (David Costabile) remains hot on Joe and Frank’s trail, going so far as to follow them to Brendan’s funeral.

Boyd lets Frank know that although he doesn’t have anything more than instinct to go on, he suspects that Joe was involved in Brendan’s death. During their discussions, Boyd shows Frank an album full of investigation pictures, including pictures of Joe meeting with both Brendan and Skilos.

And, as if things weren’t messy enough for Joe and Frank, a witness comes into the police station, able to recount every detail of Frank and Joe pushing Brendan’s car into the river. In an attempt to confuse him and make him unsure of his story, they verbally push the witness and then tell Lt. Torrance that he’s not a solid enough witness. Torrance tells them that the witness needs to see a sketch artist.

While this investigation heats up, Damon (James Ransone) and his crew get their whore/drug house up and running.

Damon employs Nick, the guy who always sits anxiously at the corner of Maya’s (Sprague Grayden) bar, because Maya wants him to - against the wishes of the rest of the crew. While Damon is confident in their business coming together, Skelos pays a visit to Maya and tells her that he needs to lie low due to being on the police’s radar – which means Maya and Damon can’t be doing any business out of the bar while he’s in hiding.

Maya confides in Damon that she feels vulnerable and Damon says they’ll beat Skelos. Maya tells him the only way to beat Skelos is to get rid of him.

While Low Winter Sun is not big on physical action, it continues to captivate the attention of its viewers with its well-written storylines. The drama and twists keep coming, causing an increasingly messier situation for both Frank and Joe as the series marches forward. With a third episode under its belt, I can confidently say that I am hooked on the series – the use of dialogue and drama to hook the audience in is much more impressive than relying on heart-pounding chases and the open-and-shut storylines that many cop dramas use.

So far, I will still give this show a firm two thumbs up, although I’m developing a small issue with the Maya/Damon storyline. Even though the show is new and things still need to be set up, it’s clear that Maya and Damon are going to be crossing paths with Joe and Frank, and I’m beginning to grow frustrated that their storylines have barely intersected. Three episodes into the season, these characters need to come into contact with each other soon before it starts to feel like there are two different shows going on under the guise of one title.

Other than that minor frustration, the show is headed in a good direction. Things are obviously going to get more complicated for Frank and Joe rather quickly, especially since the viewer has now physically seen Joe bring Katia to Canada to let her live.

Given that Katia lives her life as a whore, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her in the Detroit area again, sometime soon – possibly working in Damon’s house. Only time will tell.

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