‘Gracepoint’ is the murder mystery show that network television has been in need of for years. The new Fox miniseries follows Detectives Emmett Carver (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) as they investigate the murder of a local child in a small town.
It is a complex and layered mystery that showcases excellent acting and storytelling. Tennant’s Carver is a straightforward outlier, a cop with a past, who just doesn’t fit the small town persona. Gunn’s Miller, conversely, is a small town detective, investigating her first murder, who knows and sympathizes with everyone. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Carver was just given the lead detective job that Miller had been previously promised. The tension between the two, as well as their different crime solving philosophies, adds an intricate human dimension and source of drama that compliments the overall plot perfectly.
The show balances its different elements fantastically. It does not dwell too much on any one aspect of the genre. Shows built around such in-depth and pervasive mysteries often get too lost in that mystery element, but ‘Gracepoint’ masterfully avoids this, intermixing the mystery with other captivating plot points. The show jumps from scenes built around familial grief over the loss of a child to scenes dissecting the difficult nature of investigating a murder in a small town where everybody knows each other. No one element is given more focus than is necessary to further the story.
It is worth noting that ‘Gracepoint’ is an American remake of the fantastic British series ‘Broadchurch,’ which also starred the dynamic David Tennant. There have been some changes made for the new version of the show, but it does look like many of the elements that made ‘Broadchurch’ so great will carry over.
‘Gracepoint’ is a welcome change from the overdone network murder procedural. It is short and to the point. Unlike longer season based shows there is no need for filler or unnecessary plot points. Everything it does is deliberate and well thought-out, telling the story it wants to tell on its own terms. This is the type of TV that networks should aspire for, a smart well-made series written to tell a story not to stay on air for a certain amount of seasons.
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