Local Notables Weigh in on First Episode of 'Low Winter Sun'

August 11, 2013, 11:11 PM by  Allan Lengel

Finally, Sunday night AMC debuted its Detroit cop show "Low Winter Sun."

We asked some Detroit area notables, including Andy Arena, the former head of the FBI, and TV reporters Ross Jones and Kevin Dietz, to tell us what they thought. The reviews are mixed, but no one seems to be writing it off at this point. Can it gain the popularity of "The Wire?"  Was it a good start? 

Here's the different takes on the show:

Andrew Arena

ANDY ARENA, former head of the Detroit FBI, is currently executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission --  "Just finished watching the first episode. Having spent 24 years in law enforcement, I usually don't enjoy crime shows, too hard for me to suspend reality. I do enjoy several other AMC shows so gave this a try. Much truer to Detroit in how it was shot and scenery. Having grown up in southwest Detroit, I immediately recognized Delray. I will watch the next couple of episodes, see how the show develops.  Shots of DPD offices were realistic, that is the environment officers have had to suffer through! New headquarters is much different."

KAREN DUMAS, communication strategist, former Chief of Communications for Mayor Bing and frequent content/thought contributor to print, digital & broadcast media outlets.  -- "Overall, I thought it was a good start...I found the storyline engaging and the cinematography was great. I wasn't looking for the show to define or defend Detroit. I did appreciate that the city's reality was depicted, as well as the accuracy of detail. And, how wonderful to see a story set in Detroit actually filmed here, for better or worse. I will tune in again."

Ross Jones

ROSS JONES, investigative reporter for WXYZ --  "A gritty look at the underbelly of police work.  More real than "Detroit 187," and without the trying-too-hard references to coneys and Slow's Barbecue that littered the short-lived ABC drama. Good, not great, but I'll keep watching."

KEVIN DIETZ, investigative reporter for WDIV --  "'Low Winter Sun' has terrific, authentic Detroit scenary from the steps of 1300 Beaubien (the old Detroit Police Department headquarters ) to the roof of the old Wayne County building, to the used of  Boulevard and Trumbull tow trucks. If you're from Detroit you know this show is definitely shot in the Motor CIty  and not on some Hollywood set. The show is worth watching just for the local backdrop. The storyline of two police officers killing a third cop in a local restaurant and being dumped in the Detroit River off of the Delray boat launch seems hard to believe.

"The secondary storyline of a drug house being robbed seems more believable . I hope that the Detroit Internal Affairs Department is as thorough and as professional as the TV show portrays it. As a TV reporter I find it hard to believe that a police officers car is dragged out of the river with the cops body hand cuffed to the car, and not a single media person is on site. At least Local 4 was the first on site when the news trucks finally arrived. Overall, I found the show very enjoyable and worth watching!"

MARK ADLER, director of the Michigan Production Alliance. who worked on the Low Winter Sun pilot.  He is president of VAIdigital LLC, a video support company.  -- "'The Low Winter Sun' pilot capitalizes on the gritty vibe of Detroit. The powerful opening credits and scenes use locations not often captured - like the top rooftop of the Old County Buidling. Actors Lennie, Mark, Ruben and David:  KILLING it. That was my Grey flat screen monitor they used in the surveillance room, set up by me." 

Darrell Dawsey

DARRELL DAWSEY, Deadline Detroit columnist and host of Deadline TV -- "So far, it's OK. The plot seems to have the potential for enough twists to hold me...for another few episodes anyway. On the downside: Actor Lennie James is forced as hell. He's annoying. The crack house robbery was some fake TV shit. No stash house is guarded by one guy. Someone would've seen those dudes sitting in their nice Dodge long before the one guy walked up on the porch. And he would be dead. There are some nice local touches but I'm still waiting to see what, if anything, this says about Detroit.

"I generally like Lennie James. He's a great actor, just not good so far in this. And yeah, if you're going to make the "east side" the ominous urban outpost, fine by me, but at least do the hood the courtesy of having a tighter dope game. That robbery scene was insulting (LOL).  Also, I noticed there weren't many blacks in the backdrop. I'm looking forward to seeing how future episodes reflect Detroit as a majority black city."

Allison Leotta

ALLISON LEOTTA -- A Detroit area native and former prosecutor who now lives in the D.C. area. She has written three suspense crime novels and was described in one newspaper review as the female John Grisham. She is working on her fourth novel. -- This is a promising new series.  It aims to be "The Wire" of Detroit. Dark and gritty, the story swerved with unexpected twists, and made great use of Detroit's most post-apocalyptic scenery.  But, by the end of the episode, I wasn't sure who I was supposed to be rooting for. The series hero is  a brooding cop who appears to be a combination of corrupt and gullible. The most likable character was the little-seen female Muslim detective. I hope we'll see more of her - and other female characters - as the show continues.  I'll keep watching, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the series develops."

DAVID MALHALAB, retired Detroit Police sergeant, who has often been very vocal about police issues. -- "Does Detroit deserve a TV show that makes 'Breaking Bad' look good? NO. Two "good cops" kill a bad cop? No. There appear to be no good cops, only corruption, decay, abandoned housing and drug dealers in bleak Detroit. Future episodes, if they continue with this theme, does Detroit no good. And  we're paying $7.5 million film incentives for this!

David Malhalab

"Mark Strong, 'Frank Agnew', lives in a blighted, abandoned-homes area of Detroit, and his car still has tires on it? Someone should have said - I don't think anyone will believe this - even the Mayor of Detroit failed to get any real interest in getting cops to return to live in the city, with huge subsidiesAt least in 'Detroit 1-8-7' it is explained that the character is from NY -- that's why he says "soda." But why would a successful cop live in a decayed area?

"'Low Winter Sun' shows a wrong, dirty, distasteful, ignorant side of the Detroit Police Department and a Detroit that has been shown, discussed and rehashed over and over again. This AMC Show is another version that has no real redeeming social value, for Detroit or its residents. At least actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a favorite from Castle, isn't cast as a foul mouth, yelling, out of control supervisor. The class of police shows Detroit deserves - even with its flaws -- are more like NYPD Blue, Blue Bloods, Hill Street Blues, Castle, Hawaii 5 0, (who wouldn't want to go to Hawaii even with its crime )...where you care about the characters and the city they work in."

Read Deadline Detroit's Review of First Episode

Leave a Comment:

Photo Of The Day