Mini-series reveals big secrets in small town

Fox’s “Gracepoint” will premiere at 9 p.m. Thursday as another serious crime drama and murder mystery show. The 10-episode mini-series focuses on the small northern California town of Gracepoint after 12-year-old Danny Solano is found dead on the beach.

The show’s tagline is “small town secrets are never small.” It is furthered early in the first episode when an old church board is shown with the scripture “Love thy neighbor,” implying this is a town where everyone knows everyone.

When Emmett Carver (David Tennant), the rugged city detective with a checkered past, comes to a small town for an unknown reason, he leads the police department through its first murder investigation. He is partnered with detective Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn), who feels that Carver has stolen her job since she got passed over for a promotion. This causes tension between the two, who are now forced to work together.

Miller is unexperienced in dealing with death cases, and to further complicate matters, Danny Solano was best friends with Miller’s son. This adds to her struggle and is reluctant to name suspects because she knows everyone in the town.

Detective Carver is a dramatic change from Tennant’s typical roles, which include the 10th doctor from BBC’s hit show “Doctor Who,” and Bartemius “Barty” Crouch Junior from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Gracepoint shows Tennant as the voice of reason in this serious role. His mysterious past leaves the audience suspicious about his reason for being in the town.

Gunn’s previous roles include Skyler White from “Breaking Bad.” Gunn portrays Miller as dramatic and overly-emotional, which is a direct contrast to Tennant’s Carver.

The actors portray these complex, emotional characters realistically. Carver and Miller’s dynamic created its own set of obstacles, which pushed the plot along. The use of slow motion in filming is used to convey urgency as well as build drama in highly emotional scenes. It’s heartbreaking and thought-provoking.

The plot is in danger of dragging as the 10-episode mini-series focuses only on one case; however, the show involves itself with the personal details of characters’ lives, leaving the audience waiting for what will be revealed next.

The show greatly resembles the popular British drama “Broadchurch” and has the potential to captivate American mystery seekers.