Tuesday, August 27, 2019

TV Tuesday: In the Dark

Serendipity worked in our favor recently. We've had a dearth of summer TV this year, and we finished several shows we were enjoying on streaming services. A show we'd never heard of popped up on Netflix right when we were in the mood to try something new - In the Dark - and it turned out to be a real winner! This mystery/thriller about a blind woman with a serious attitude problem is suspenseful and compelling but also funny - a perfect combination for us!
Murphy, played by Perry Mattfeld, is a blind woman with a serious chip on her shoulder. She was an unwanted foster child for many years, finally adopted by loving parents, Joy, played by Kathleen York, and Hank, played by Derek Webster. They love her dearly, in spite of her prickliness, though they are over-protective even now, when she is a grown woman. They opened up a business training service dogs, where Murphy is employed, though she doesn't do much there or take the job seriously. She is, though, beginning to bond with her own service dog, Pretzel, even if she doesn't like to show that affection openly. Murphy has only opened up to two people and allowed them to get close. One is her roommate, Jess, played by Brooke Markham, who works as the veterinarian at the dog training school. The other is an unlikely friend, Tyson, played by Thamela Mpumlwana, a teenaged black boy who works in the alley near her apartment building selling drugs for his older cousin, Darnell, played by Keston John. Murphy has a habit of smoking cigarettes in that alley and, against all odds, she and Tyson starting talking one day and became good friends. She also has a habit of getting drunk in a local bar, and one night, heading home from the bar, she stops for a cigarette in the alley and stumbles over Tyson's prone body. She kneels down and feels his face and is certain he is dead. By the time the police are called to the scene, though, Tyson's body is no longer in the alley, and all they have is the word of a drunk, blind woman. Despite their insistence that there is no evidence of a crime and Tyson probably just ran away, Murphy begins hounding the lead detective, Dean (or That Cop as he is labelled in Murphy's phone), played by Rich Sommer, one of our favorite supporting actors from Mad Men and GLOW. Murphy continues to do her own investigating of the crime, as the police mostly ignore it and the tension and danger grow.

There is so much depth to this show that it's difficult to write a brief synopsis. Yes, it's a mystery/thriller about what happened to Tyson, but the show is also very much about Murphy's unique character and her relationships. During the course of the first season, she develops her first-ever dating relationship (she's generally more into angry, anonymous sex with strangers) and shows a softer, kinder side when she meets Detective Dean's teen daughter who is newly deaf. Viewers also learn more about her friendship with Tyson and what else was going on in his life before this incident. Add to that, drug dealers, criminals, real danger, and a complex mystery, and you have a first-rate show. The acting is excellent all-around, though Mattfeld as Murphy is outstanding, playing her complex character perfectly. Finally, despite the serious subject matter and depth of emotion, this show is also really funny at times! Several shows we have watched this summer were just unrelentingly dark, but we love when a show can combine humor (perhaps dark humor!) with the suspense and action - it just makes it so much more entertaining.

So far, we have watched seven episodes of the thirteen episodes in season one, and I was excited to see that a season two is planned as well! A CW show, episodes 9 through 13 are currently available at the CW website. The entire first season is available on Netflix, and it is also available on Amazon for $1.99 an episode or $14.99 for the first season. Season 2 is planned to run on the CW sometime in 2020 - no release date has been announced yet. We are really enjoying season 1 and can't wait for more.

In this brief trailer, you get a good idea of Murphy's prickly personality (to put it mildly!), her special friendship with Tyson, and both the suspense and the humor of the show.

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