Television choices: A compelling case for the Strong arm of the law in Fox's Low Winter Sun


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The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Low Winter Sun

Friday 10pm FOX

"There are lines," claims Mark Strong's intense cop, Frank, to his fellow officer, Joe (Lennie James). Except there appear to be no lines whatsoever in Detroit, the rundown setting for Fox's polished 10-part thriller. It's a remake of Channel 4's acclaimed crime drama from 2006, in which Strong played an uncompromising Scottish detective. Here, in the same role, he's an equally uncompromising Detroit cop who is persuaded, by a slithery Joe, to kill. The intensity starts in a restaurant kitchen, with the cop duo discussing whether to slay a supposedly corrupt cop. He meets a sticky end. Strong and James convince, but it's the seemingly lawless Detroit setting that compels most. It's more The Wire than Juliet Bravo.

Top of the Lake

Saturday 9.10pm BBC2

Jane Campion's admirably slow-moving crime drama, set in small-town New Zealand, continues to unsettle. Its stillness is menacing. Tui has now been missing for two months, but Robin (Elisabeth Moss) has no intention of giving in, and is encouraged in her search by the actions of one of the missing girl's friends. Haunting and tense television.


Sunday 9pm Channel 4

"It's weird, all right," maintains Rory Kinnear's television reporter, who reluctantly returns to his Kent hometown to cover the gun massacre wreaked by his former schoolmate (Sean Harris). Victims include Shirley Henderson's empathetic carer and her husband (Eddie Marsan). The acting is extremely robust in this quietly harrowing drama.


Monday 10pm Fox

Michael C Hall's amiable mass-murderer (only kills fiends, mind) is in a quandary when Dr Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) suggests using Harry's code on her new patient, sociopath Zach Hamilton (Sam Underwood). Could he become Dexter's torturer's apprentice? John Dahl directs this tangy episode. Hall continues to mesmerise as the ultimate anti-hero.

Jim Thorpe: the World's Greatest Athlete

Tuesday 9pm PBS America

The largely unknown Jim Thorpe, "an Indian from Oklahoma", was recognised as the US's greatest athlete of the 20th century in 1999. He bagged two Olympic golds, for pentathlon and decathlon, at the 1912 games, as well as being gifted at American football, baseball and basketball. A compelling story of prejudice and natural ability.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Wednesday 9pm BBC1

"I think if you're adopted you can't help but feel deep, deep inside like you don't belong," maintains Lesley Sharp in a more raw slice of this slightly tired series. The actor, who "knows nothing about my father", has rather more at stake here than the usual participants, and has to confront her half brother and half sister about their father's adulterous past.

Paul O'Grady's Working Britain

Thursday 9pm BBC1

The engaging comedian is forging a career in documentaries and this one is his strongest so far. Paul O'Grady traces his working-class roots to question what happened to the communities across the country, and investigates whether anyone considers themselves as part of the social strata. He begins in his hometown, Birkenhead.