Netflix’s RIVER; an intriguing character study, well worth watching

I’ll try not to give away any spoilers, but just watch episode 1 for the first ten minutes and see what you think.

I really enjoyed this 6 episode series set in England and starring Stellan Skarsgard as detective John River with a peculiar psychological problem. I can’t tell you what it is, but it makes for intriguing story telling.

What I can tell you is that if you’re interested in a story where no one is what they appear to be, this is it. In fact, that’s what I loved about this series. The theme is that what we see when we look at people, hides a lot. Even though we may think we know someone very well, such as a spouse or best friend or close work companion, we really don’t.

The casting was excellent as well as the acting. I particularly like the new partner, Ira (Adeel Akhtar). He was the perfect foil for John River. In fact he might be the baseline of ‘normalcy’ in the story.

The only thing I wasn’t particularly impressed with was the actual detective work. There was a LOT of reliance on CCTV and computers. It seemed like every clue, everything that was needed, was either on CCTV or a laptop. Since my current work-in-progress is set in New York City in 1977, it’s a real eye-opener to write a story with no laptop, no cell phones, no Google, no CCTV. To call someone you have to go to a payphone and drop a dime. Literally.

In many aspects this was a very dark story, so be prepared for that. Secrets tend to be dark. When you think you’ve seen something stunning, be prepared for it to go to another level.

Cool Gus gives it four paws up. Recommended.


Originally published at bobmayer.com on August 12, 2018.