A Suspenseful Episode of 'Low Winter Sun' Debuts in Ann Arbor

Actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a Wayne State alum

The dialogue is rich, the pace is fast, the cinematography is movie-like, the suspense is thick.

AMC’s gave folks at the Michigan Theater -- and other select theaters around the country -- a peak at the first episode of its yet-to-be aired Detroit cop show, “Low Winter Sun.” It premieres Aug. 11 at 10 p.m., right after "Breaking Bad."

It was a good start. The opening episode won’t blow you away.  But like any good series, the opener laid a good foundation, sprinkled with enough excitement and intrigue to make you want to come back for more.

At the start of the show, homicide cops Frank Agnew, played by Mark Strong, and Joe Geddes, played by Lennie James, murder a drunk, fellow cop at Mario’s, the legendary, old-school Italian joint on Second Avenue.

They toss the body in a car, then run the car into the Detroit River in the Delray neighborhood, hoping it looks like a suicide.

Meanwhile, detective Agnew realizes that detective Geddes has tricked him into helping kill a cop, who happens to be under investigation by internal affairs. Geddes is also under investigation by department officials.

Actor Sam Brice, who plays "Poppa-T", a street guy, was on hand.

“You need to get your mind right Frank,” Geddes says to a nervous Agnew. “This is grown-up shit.”  He also tells Agnew: “All we can do is figure out how to see straight enough to keep from getting our heads bashed in.”

On the critical side,  a few lines seemed a little contrived. And though the show did a good job of capturing downtown and the city's neighborhoods, as a Detroiter, you’re not completely convinced they’ve captured the true flavor of Detroit with the attitudes and expressions.

Also, you don’t always know exactly what’s going on. In fact, it takes a bit to figure out the roles of characters like James Ransone, a first-rate criminal, who first appears as if he might be an undercover cop. 

But what is clear is that these homicide cops are up to no good. And you want to stick around to see what they’re up to .

Detroit looms noticeably in the background. There’s a classic shot of Agnew, coming out of his house to go to work. His front door is covered with bars, and the homes across the street are decimated.

There’s some good shots of downtown and the RenCen and some local shops like the Broadway clothing store.

Actress Athenia Karkanis

Afterwards, the actors, along with executive producer Chris Mundy, sat on a stage and discussed Detroit and the film.

Actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who plays Charles Dawson, the head homicide detective said: “Detroit is a great American City.For all the bad and the good. The Ying and Yang. The beauty about shooting this, he can come out of his house and right across the street, there's a burned out house  But then in the background is the Fisher Building. In the background is the Masonic Temple. Then you can see an empty lot and people hanging out in the street and then there's Comerica Park and then there's Music Hall....  It's the dichotomy that’s so beautiful.” He attended grad school at Wayne State University. 

Actor Lennie James gave a shoutout to Detroit Cop Ira Todd, a consultant for the show who was in the audience.

“We couldn’t get it done without Ira,” he said.

Left: Actress Sprague Grayden. Right: Detroit Cop Ira Todd sits in the audience.

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