Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Exquisite Tragedies of Hinterland

I know you don't come here for my good taste in television shows. But I have no economics today, so I thought I might put the space to use a different way.

Hinterland. Cop show on Netflix. They have season one -- four episodes, each about an hour and a half long. And they're getting season two on 1 April. I can't wait.

I found the show last fall, a couple months before I retired. Watched all four episodes in a couple nights. Loved it. For a while there, I would watch an episode again every weekend, while my wife was shopping.

Since retiring, I try to watch an episode every day.

Here's how the wife described the stories: "Even the criminals are victims."

The stories are tragedies -- magnificent, exquisite tragedies. Episode four, I think, rivals Romeo and Juliet. Episode one is better.

You know the British cop hierarchy? Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) on top, Detective Inspector (DI) next, then Detective Sergeant (DS) and Detective Constable (DC). At least that's what I figured out since getting Netflix.

Hinterland is set in Wales. West Wales. Watching the show, I feel like I've been let in on a well-kept secret. Oh, the camera work is good! You know those grand views in almost every scene of the Lord of the Rings movies? Well, it's something like that, only not overdone. You watch DCI Mathias driving to a crime scene, and his car is tiny on the screen. Sit back and enjoy the view.

Best part? The eyes. The eyes of DCI Mathias and the eyes of DI Mared Rhys. Mathias walks up to a crime scene, stops, and looks at everything. He's inspecting. He's detecting. He's doing his job. Then he walks into the crime scene and stops to inspect and detect some more. I don't know if it's the directing or the acting or the writing or dumb luck or what, but it's perfect.

DI Rhys has great eyes, too. They can be stone cold when she's questioning a suspect who has earned it, but at other times -- often -- Rhys will show empathy for victim and suspect alike. You never saw such empathy in a cop show.

I think there's less dialog in Hinterland than most other shows. Another reason I like it. Many things get done with the eyes or the slightest nod of the head.

My favorite scene? That's easy. In the opening moments of the first episode we see DCI Mathias out for a jog. Returning home from a jog. He approaches his "caravan" -- the little trailer he calls home. The camera changes from outside the caravan to inside. We see Mathias walk up to the front entrance, turn, and sit down hard. The whole trailer shakes.

I laugh every time.

There's more, but let me summarize: Hinterland makes me wish I was Welsh.

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