This is gonna be a bit of a synopsis, a bit of of analysis. Forgive me, I am still finding my footing as to what this blog will be.
The opening shot, much discussed so far, is a circular pan around Detective Frank Agnew (Mark Strong), as a single tear runs down his cheek. It’s a provocative image as we to begin our journey (and also lets us know the cinematography will be highly stylized). We quickly learn that Joe Geddes (Lennie James) has convinced our hero to help kill another cop (and Joe’s partner) Brendan McCann, whom has allegedly murdered Frank’s (prostitute) girlfriend Katia.
Now, if you’re here, you know what happens next. The two cops drown a drunk McCann in a sink filled with water, and then drive McCann’s body into the river, while attempting to make it look like a suicide. Something that should have been picked up on, but wasn’t by many (most?) people, including myself….when Frank and Joe were dragging Brendan to his death, McCann talked about how hot Katia was and how he wanted to “tap” a piece of her.
Now, what kind of idiot would you have to be to tell her boyfriend that if you had killed her a few days before? Frank became enraged, but Joe is the interesting response. He tells Brendan to shut up and quickly takes control of the direction of the murder as they push McCann towards his death. It is subtle, but Joe didn’t want Brendan to keep talking.
During the disposal of the body, Frank handcuffed Brendan’s wrist too hard, breaking the bone. While the idea is to make it look like a determined suicide, he commits a major error here that will come back to haunt him in The Goat Rodeo episode. So, at this point — what do we know about Frank?
The series has a humdinger of an opening. We know Frank is a good cop (Joe trusts him to plan the murder) but he has made a couple of mistakes. The takeaway is this was a rushed job — probably forced by Joe. Frank’s idea of a forced suicide was excellent in theory, but the broken wrist is a big clue, which will later prompt an investigation of the water in Brendan’s lungs (no doubt covered in a future post).
Right now, the classic noir set up has commenced. A good cop, making a bad decision has been dragged into a world of secrets, lies, and criminal activity. Can he redeem himself? Can he get his third chance at happiness? Will be be able to avoid the wheels of justice that will be looking for Joe as well as him?
Frank breaks down to a certain extent at the precinct, even flushing a locket from Tatia down the toilet. But for the most part, he is able to carry on well enough. When Brendan’s body is found his boss, Lt. Dawson, even puts him in charge of the investigation. The only one who suspects his involvement is another homicide detective, Dani Khalil (when she sees Joe & Frank arguing at the crime scene) . Being the lead investigator will put Frank in an interesting situation that is likely to continue playing out. How can he save himself and move past the murder if he CAN’T solve the case?
To be continued as we say…