Saturday, August 08, 2020

We Hunt Together, on Showtime

These killers are many things the media loves to champion. He is an immigrant, who was forced to serve as a child soldier in the DRC. She is a genius, who has works in the sex industry after suffering a childhood trauma. The cops on their trail are everything their colleagues resent. He is a former internal affairs investigator and she is a self-medicating addict. Yet, both duos will be surprisingly evenly matched, thanks the dysfunctional chemistry they each share in writer-creator Gaby Hull’s six-part WHunt Together, which premieres tomorrow on Showtime.

Baba Lenga was working for tips as a washroom attendant while waiting for his asylum application to be granted when he met Freddy Layne. Later that night he saved her from her violent date. He did not kill the creepy yuppie at the time, but they will hatch a plan to finish the job a few days later. At that point, Layne has the emotionally needy Lenga completely ensnared with her charms. She will manipulate the trained killer like a puppet on a string, to do what he does best.

It will be profoundly cynical DS Lola Franks and her gratingly cheerful new senior partner, DI Jackson Reid who are called to the site of their first murder. She resents his anti-corruption background and his lack of homicide experience, but she comes to appreciate his intelligence. She still has trouble with his chipper attempts at comradery, but they both see through Layne’s attempts at deception.

The parallel between the pairings of Layne and Congolese Lenga with that of Franks and the Gambian-born Reid is rather effective, precisely because Hull never overplays it. It gives Reid (and viewers) a vantage point to understand and empathize with Lenga, but that is as far as it goes.

There is a lot of seductive game-playing going on between Layne and Lenga that is sure to be featured prominently in promo clips, but the best stuff in Hunt is Reid and Franks’ procedural work and odd couple bantering. They make a great on-screen team, who could easily carry further seasons tracking different killers.

Indeed, Babou Ceesay and Eve Myles are both terrific playing off and complimenting each other as Reid and Franks. They make each cops’ extreme personality types believable and ultimately sympathetically relatable. As Lenga, Dipo Ola slows burns with so much rage and angst, it is almost painful to watch him. Unfortunately, Hermione Corfield lacks the forcefulness required of a femme fatale like Layne.

is considerably more than suspenseful than the average British Detective-Inspector series. The cool late-night London opening title sequence definitely helps set the mood and directors Carl Tibbetts (episodes 1-3) and Jon Jones (episodes 4-6) keep the tension tight. Recommended for fans of Brit crime TV, We Hunt Together starts tomorrow (8/9), on Showtime.