It took three episodes, but LOW WINTER SUN finally indulged in two standard cop-show tropes: the boxing ring and the strip club. Sure took its time getting there! Now it’s starting to resemble a standard cop show more and more.
The boxing interludes came courtesy of Frank (Mark Strong), who is either feeling the need to be physically punished for his sins as a crooked and barely competent cop, or is hoping that he will be battered senseless by a succession of younger, stronger boxers. He gets beat up all right (headgear is for wimps!), but all he gets is a banged-up body to go with his damaged soul.
Not coincidentally, Joe (Lennie James) is pissing blood following last week’s beating at Frank’s hands. He flashes back to the night his partner, dirty cop Brendan (Michael McGrady), told him to kill Katia (Mickey Sumner) but he drove her to Canada and warned her to disappear instead. But even he now realizes that he should have killed her, because she’s a loose end that Frank will not let go.
In a possibly related matter, we see one of Alexander Skelos’ (Alon Aboutboul) backroom strip clubs, where Maya (Sprague Graydon) cannot convince Damon (James Ransone) to lay low for a bit while Skelos waits for the heat from the Brendan killing to blow over. Skelos was questioned, but it was all routine. In fact, that’s Frank and Joe’s strategy: to bring in pointless suspects and witnesses and run out the clock on the investigation into Brendan’s murder. But, unluckily for them, a witness comes in to report he saw a white guy and a black guy dump Brendan’s car in the river. Only he doesn’t recognize the white guy and the black guy while sitting two feet away from them! (I told you these morons needed to catch a break or the show would be over too quickly.) Frank and Joe work over the witness until he’s changed his description of the white guy to Middle Eastern and worked with a sketch artist to circulate sketches that look nothing like Joe and Frank. Joe is elated, but Frank just can’t let Katia go, so he goes to Canada to look for her.
I’ve seen LWS called the most depressing show on TV, and I think I agree with that assessment – in the sense that it is bleak and hopeless and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Which is one of the two major problems with the show. Where is it going? Are we supposed to be rooting for Frank and Joe to (literally) get away with murder because Brendan was crooked?
The other big problem is, I’m really not interested in whether the boys escape the noose. I’m only moderately intrigued by the falling-out between Joe and Brendan because I’m wondering what made him decide that the only option was killing his partner — and doing it in a way that required bringing in another guy. It could all be a part of an elaborate tapestry of revenge and Joe may have targeted Frank by making him an accessory, but I think it’s far more likely that the explanation is the moron factor. These two knuckleheads don’t have one complete brain between them. Was Brendan the dirty cop and Joe didn’t want to be dragged down with him? Or was Brendan hinting that he would cooperate and rat on his dirty partner?
Joe certainly was not the dominant partner; not from the way Brendan was ordering him around. Brendan seemed much more willing to (literally) get his hands dirty by chopping up a body while commanding Joe to kill Katia. He certainly wasn’t the guts of the team, as he couldn’t stomach killing the girl. (Was she merely a witness to the other killing, or does she know something else about Brendan and Joe? Was she part of whatever criminal operation was going on?
To me, the only way the show can maintain any integrity is if Joe turns out to be crooked to the bone; I won’t accept him being a good cop tainted by guilt by association with Brendan. The series has to end with Joe exposed for the vile creature he is to be – and either in prison or dead.