In the Sundance/BBC collaborated television mini-series, Top of the Lake, a detective travels back to her desolate New Zealand hometown to solve the mysterious disappearance of a pregnant twelve-year-old girl.
Elisabeth Moss of AMC’s Mad Men gives an electrifying performance as Robin Griffin, the emotionally attached detective. Her character reminds me of Homeland’s Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) with her sporadic violent bursts and workaholic nature.
The missing girl, Tui Mitcham, is the daughter of the town’s most infamous drug lord and real estate agent, Matt Mitcham. Throughout the seven-part mini-series, the engaged Robin becomes romantically involved with the girl’s half-brother, Johnno, which bares some unforeseen consequences of its own.
Meanwhile, a group of troubled women follow the spiritually gifted and life coach GJ (Holly Hunter), to the open valley that sits next to the lake. The grounds, which are named Paradise, are believed to be the original Garden of Eden, so the women seek meaning in their life.
These two stories intertwine as the investigation approaches its shocking conclusion.
David Wenham (Lord of the Rings) also stars as Lieutenant Deputy Al Parker, Robin’s superior and the town’s vocational mentor for its underprivileged children.
I highly recommend Top of the Lake for crime drama enthusiasts, as well as any fans of Elisabeth Moss. With only seven episodes, each at about fifty minutes, you can watch one a day and be satisfied in one week’s time!
The show has been nominated for five Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Movie or Mini-Series, Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series (Elizabeth Moss), and Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series (David Wenham, Peter Mullan, and Thomas M. Wright). The Movie or Mini-Series categories are stacked unlike any year before. With Top of the Lake, HBO’s Parade’s End, BBC’s The Hour, and FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, the categories have never been this competitive. I think I’ll do a post on these mini-series, so stay tuned!