‘Gracepoint’: Engrossing TV With Peculiar Edge

Gracepoint TV FOX

Gracepoint, which premiered October 2 on FOX, is a U.S. remake of the critically acclaimed BBC series, Broadchurch. It is an engrossing TV drama with peculiar edge. The original incarnation of the series is very popular in Britain and was shown last year on BBC America. A second Broadchurch season is now in the works in its mother country. While it is rare to remake such a recent show, the aspect that is truly unique about Gracepoint is that it has the same male lead actor, David Tennant (Doctor Who), as the original Broadchurch series from which it is based. The series is set up as a 10-episode event over which the murder of a young boy will be investigated and solved.

In the series, Tennant, who portrays Detective Emmett Carver, is paired with Anna Gunn of Breaking Bad fame, who plays Detective Ellie Miller, as clashing investigators looking into the death of Danny Solano, whose body turned up on the beach in the small-town, titular community. The opening minutes of the premiere are meant to capture the viewer’s attention and it does, thanks in large part to convincing work by Virginia Kull, who portrays Beth Solano, as the grieving mother who slowly realizes her son is missing, and then, when she hears that a body has been found, comes to a devastating realization.

The cast of Gracepoint, an engrossing TV drama with peculiar edge, also includes several other notable actors, such as Nick Nolte (Prince of Tides), who plays Jack Reinhold, the salty marine observer and mentor to young Danny. Michael Pena (The Lucky Ones), who portrays the victim’s father, Mark Solano. Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl) portrays the fictional California town’s ambitious reporter, Owen Burke, who is investigating Danny’s death. Meanwhile, Jessica Lucas plays San Francisco Globe reporter Renee Clemons, who is determined to discover the truth behind the crime. Added to the mix, Josh Hamilton (With Honors) portrays Ellie’s husband, Joe Miller, an ex-paramedic and stay-at-home dad, and Australian actress Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), plays Susan Wright, who is a newcomer to Gracepoint with possible sinister ties.

For viewers long accustomed to crime-of-the-week pacing, Gracepoint also provides a departure with its 10-episode series event platform. The series is structured more like a crime novel than a procedural. There will be an assortment of characters, various suspects, a red herring or two, and a slow unfolding of the investigation, as well as the characters’ back stories.

As the series is introduced, Gunn’s Miller has just returned from vacation and is anticipating a promotion. Instead, she discovers upon her return that an interloper, Tennant’s Carver, has been given the promotion she was promised. Gracepoint also breaks the mold by not having the polar-opposite partners quickly learn to respect each other and bond under the stressors of a big case. The reluctant partners challenge each other and Carver is dismissive of his partner’s (and the rest of the townspeople’s) feelings.

The new FOX series, Gracepoint, is an engrossing TV drama with peculiar edge. It is a U.S. remake of the critically acclaimed BBC series, Broadchurch, which has proven very popular with audiences in the U.S. and overseas. FOX is hoping to capitalize on the popular trend of American remakes of foreign series. The series combines the talents of Breaking Bad and Doctor Who in the form of actors Anna Gunn and David Tennant, who spearhead the well-established cast. The series is set up as a 10-episode event over which the murder of Danny Solano will be investigated and solved. Gracepoint airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

By Leigh Haugh

New York Times
New York Daily News