‘The Gloaming’

Gloriously shot in a wintery Tasmania, The Gloaming is an eight-episode hybrid police procedural investigation/ supernatural thriller as an unidentified woman is brutally murdered but carries with her the school identity card of a teenage girl killed twenty years earlier. That little fact results in Detective Alex O’Connell (Ewen Leslie) being flown in from Melbourne to help with the case, having been present at the murder of schoolfriend, Jenny McGinty.

It all becomes a little incestuous as heading up the investigation is Detective Molly McGee (Emma Booth), former girlfriend of Alex and now a divorcee struggling to hold on to the joint care of teenage daughter, Lily. To make things a little more interesting, the maverick Molly is not adverse to breaking and entering in the search for information.

The viewer has one major advantge over Molly and Alex: the reveal of the murderer is shown from the outset. The question is why a deeply troubled Freddie (Matt Testro) brutally strangled the woman. And now he has visions of people who are just not there.

Fearful visions of a loner barely out of his teens add spikey atmosphere to proceedings as Alex struggles with memories and Molly struggles with the ex (and his new wife). The boss (an incredibly wooden Aaron Pedersen) struggles with the lack of progress in the investigation.

It’s all forlornly beautiful as fog and heavy cloud roll over the snowy Mount Wellington peak above Hobart and the piercing call of a solitary crow offends the solitude of spent vines. But as The Gloaming continues its unearthing of things both present and past, so it starts to push the boundaries of credibility. A bit of land development corruption involving a local councillor is one thing but when the matriarchal The Star Of The Forest Church (headed by Rena Owen), a ‘Crofter’ mix of Christian beliefs and paganism, reveals its level of involvement in all things Hobart, The Gloaming loses all sense of suspense with many a glaring hole in its plotlines. And while guilty of some clunky dialogue, the real drama in the series created by Vicki Madden (The Kettering Incident) is that Molly and Alex working relationship with its frisson of past shared experience.

Rating: 52% (65% for the first three or so episodes).


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