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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Safe: Dangerous



Just finished watching Safe, Harlan Coben's 8-hour mini-series that started streaming on Netflix on May 10.  Its closest competition for the apex of this kind of crime story is Broadchurch, where a death is investigated in a town in which just about everyone is a suspect - including parents of the victim and the police - but Safe is somehow even tighter, more harrowing, and more complex.

I won't say anything specific about the plot, because I don't want to give even an inch of it away.  I will say that there are shockers and red herrings galore, and, like all top-notch who-dunnits, thoroughly plausible in retrospect.  It's also just possible to guess some of the crucial components and villains, but not likely all of them, and I find this sort of tension and balance very much the essence of great mystery.

I can say a lot about the acting, because it gives nothing away.  Michael C. Hall makes his first return in a television series since Dexter, easily in the top 10 and maybe top 5 of all series ever in any form on television.   He's excellent, with a fine (to my New Yorker ears) British accent (yes, the story takes place in a gated-community in England, another reason it evokes Broadchurch).   Audrey Fleurot, who did such a good job in the French series Spiral and A French Village, is powerful in a supporting role in Safe, and I didn't mind at all she played a character somewhat similar to the one she played in A French Village.  Indeed, all the acting is top notch, and I got a special kick out of Nigel Lindsay (who plays Sir Robert Peel in Victoria), who almost provides comic relief as a beleaguered  father striving to protect his daughter and his family from the long arm of the law.

Indeed, Safe, like Broadchurch, is as much a dysfunctional family drama as it is a crime and police story.   The gated community seethes with dangerous pasts and relationships, and is anything but safe, which makes Safe such commanding viewing.


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