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Thoughts On Ernest Dickerson-Directed Pilot Episode Of ‘Low Winter Sun’ (w/ Lennie James)?

Thoughts On Ernest Dickerson-Directed Pilot Episode Of 'Low Winter Sun' (w/ Lennie James)?

AMC premiered its new original series Low Winter Sun last night, SundayAugust 11 at 10PM

The Ernest Dickerson-directed series stars Mark Strong, and Lennie James, with Ruben Santiago Hudson and Erika Alexander in supporting roles.

Did you watch? I have it saved to watch later on tonight, as I wasn’t able to watch it when it aired last night, so I’ll share my thoughts on it later.

In the meantime, however, if you caught it last night, what did you think?

According to the AMC press release on last night’s ratings, Low Winter Sun debuted with a strong 2.5 million viewers.

As a recap… the series will center on…

A contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption in a world where the line between cops and criminals is blurred, “Low Winter Sun” begins with the murder of a cop by a fellow Detroit detective. Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter the detective’s life, and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld.

The show is expected to especially emphasize its racial themes.

In my recent interview with Dickerson, he called it a really dark police story involving murder, deception, betrayal and more that make for some really good drama. 

As we already reported, Lennie James plays a character who is described as “part cop, part perp” to Mark Strong’s corrupt detective Frank, who murders his partner, thinks he’s committed the perfect crime, but in reality, not quite so. And then shit hits the fan!

Ruben Santiago Hudson plays the commander of the police precinct, a 25-year veteran of the force who has, thus far, survived the down and dirty arena of Detroit crime and politics.

Erika Alexander plays Louise “LC” Cullen, who’s described as a strong and intimidating cop who is completely matter-of-fact and straightforward in everything she does.

The series is based on the dark 2006 British crime drama miniseries of the same name.

If you tuned in, and I hope you did, or will watch it later like me, please share your reactions to the first episode, in the comments section below, and let’s get a conversation going.

Watch the first 5 minutes of the pilot episode below: 

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Agree with Sergio with the been-there-done-that feeling about the show. But I also felt like some of the supposedly-intense, one-on-one scenes (the opening scene and, especially, the scene between the black detective and the lieutenant) just felt a bit too "actory" to me, felt a bit "staged"—almost like they were self-conscious theatrical set-pieces—and diverted my attention away from what they were actually saying and what the scene was supposed to be about. When the lieutenant dramatically insisted that he'd survived thus far and he was determined to get a corner office in the new building I fought to keep from rolling my eyes. It did have a "We'll never be hungry again!"-type vibe to it that was unfortunate.

I guess I just didn't "believe" it all. The way-too-mannered acting of the I.A. officer… They got so much right: the gritty setting, the premise, and I always like seeing black people on screen, being taken seriously. But I'm gonna have to pass on this one..


Couldn't finish the episode. Tried twice.


Very well directed and acted and a great use of locations but was there anything in that episode that we haven't seen before in The Shield or The Wire? It had an air of "been there, done that"

Adam Scott Thompson

Not hooked but curious to see where it goes from the pilot.

Brother Imhotep

Brother Ernest Dickerson directing the first episode. He's one of the best, is truly respected by cast and crews, a fantastic director that has found a home at AMC. Kudos.

Brother Lenny James. Man, I got a script with his name all over it!

Michael McGrady made an appearance, albeit brief. Shout out to Detective Sal!

Detroit: The scene where the detective comes out of his house, picks up empty liquor bottle in his yard, while the houses across the street are trash strewn, condemned, and desolate. A subtext that should be explored.

Things I'd change:
The police bullpen set feels procedural. Been there, done that, seen that. This show must shoot EXT: DETROIT more!

I'm sure it's coming, but give Erica Alexander more.


I think it's an extremely interesting premise. I was surprised at the lack of character development though. I realize there is a lot to get done in the premiere but it left me feeling somewhat indifferent about the various storylines. I think it was a structural problem though because I felt the actors did a great job with what they had. It also came on after Breaking Bad which is a pretty hard act to follow. I am definitely going to keep watching.

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