Fans of dark Gothic crime dramas such as ‘Sherlock’ listen up because their is a great new series out of the United Kingdom that you are going to fall in love with straight away. ‘Hinterland’ is one of those shows that you find yourself getting on DVD and then binge watching episode after episode because you become so addicted to. Luckily the first season is only four episodes in length… the bad news is that they are all nearly 90 minutes long so you are going to have to invest some time in the show. Luckily the show is so good that isn’t going to be taxing for you at all.
Set in Aberystwyth (Wales) ‘Hinterland’ follows the crimes investigated by troubled Detective, Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington – ‘Cravings’) and his career driven partner DI Mared Rhys (Mali Harries – ‘Leap Year’) Together they head up a team consisting of DC Lloyd Ellis (‘Glow’) and DS Sian Owens (Hannah Daniels – ‘Black Mountain Poets’) and solve some of Wales’ most grisly murders under the watchful eyes of Chief Supt Brian Prosser (Aneirin Hughes – ‘Young Dracula’).
When it comes to crime solving shows ‘Hinterland’ is more ‘Rebus’ than ‘CSI.’ Gone are the stereotypical storylines and formulaic plots that audiences are forced to endure with American crime shows. Instead ‘Hinterland’ sees a team of writers come up with well thought-out scripts that twist and turn in such a way that the audience just has to keep watching. While one of the weaknesses of the series is the fact that you normally don’t get to learn much about the various suspects throughout each episode it also adds to the suspense of the show as very little is given away about who is guilty or innocent until the team (well normally Mathias) find that one piece of evidence that closes the case.
Likewise the writers also don’t give away too much about their key characters. Throughout the first season it is clear to see that Tom Mathias is a damaged man, something made him run away from London and decide to live in a caravan in Wales, and while there are the odd hints here and there that it is something to do with daughters nothing is fully explained. Just to add fuel to the fire the finale of Season One sees him take another step into darkness, something that has the potential to end his career. The rest of his team also remain of a bit of a mystery to the audience as well, while it is clear that there is a bit of a dislike between Mared and Sian it is never fully explored what started it in the first place. Those two plot-lines plus a huge reveal at the end of the season that one character may or may not be corrupt is certainly more than enough to make the fans want to tune in for season two.
The other thing that makes ‘Hinterland’ so damn watchable is the amazing cinematography throughout each episode. Each director and cinematographer has obviously been briefed to make each episode feel like a feature film and to their credit they pull it off amazingly well. The dark Gothic feel of each storyline is well and truly captured by the visuals of the show as each shot shows the Welsh hinterland as a dark foreboding place whether it be rain, shine or snow. Yes this is one of those shows where somehow the landscape very much becomes part of the storyline itself.
Acting wise ‘Hinterland’ is also a lot better than its American counterparts. Richard Harrington is amazing as the troubled Mathias and you can only hope that this role puts him on the map for larger roles on the big screen. He is also well supported by Mali Harries, Alex Harries and Hannah Daniel who despite having less screen time are still standouts. When you consider that each member of the cast has to perform their scenes twice (once in English and once in Welsh) it is amazing that they are able to keep up their emotional charged dramatic performances without tiring themselves out.
If you haven’t discovered the brilliance of ‘Hinterland’ yet then it is certainly time that you do. This eerie and bleak crime drama has a lot to offer and with so many questions left unanswered about the main characters you just want to keep watching until everything is revealed. The fact that it looks beautiful as well is just another added bonus that makes it a must watch.
Episodes: 4, 95 mins
Starring: Richard Harrington, Mali Harries, Alex Harries, Hannah Daniel, Aneirin Hughes
Channel: BBC One