Mack McCanick (David Morse, Green Mile, 16 Blocks) celebrates his birthday by setting in motion a manhunt for a recently-released ex-con, Simon Weeks (the now-deceased Cory Monteith, Glee). Defying his Chief of Police (Ciarin Hinds, Game of Thrones, Peabody & Sherman), and drawing in his young partner, Floyd Intrator (Mike Vogel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Under the Dome), McCanick pursues something just off the edge of our consciousness until the bloody, dangerous end. Is it truth or is it something else altogether?
Let’s be clear: we don’t know why McCanick is pursuing Weeks for most of the film. We know he’s angry, that he’s violent, and that he spouts f-bombs with impunity. He’s tortured, frustrated, and impotent, it seems, to do anything about the ultimate problem he has with Weeks. The magnifying glass is on Morse’s senior detective, but we have to wonder if the endgame won’t ultimately be about how his younger partner, Vogel’s Intrator, is affected.
McCanick’s claim to fame may be that its Monteith’s last movie (he died of a drug overdose last year), but the camera seems locked on Morse. Shot in shadows, and constant drabs of brown and black, the film makes this into more of a mental exercise about McCanick’s obsession than an actual murder mystery. Does it matter that McCanick and Green met during the investigation around a politician’s death nearly a decade ago? Does it matter that McCanick shoots his partner? It’s hard to tell what’s “mystery-like” storytelling and flaws in the show build to a finale of Training Day–like proportions.
Ultimately, it may not matter who or what Simon Weeks is as much as it matters what McCanick sacrifices in his pursuit. Are we that obsessed? Are we lost in our own heads? Are we so afraid of the truth that we have to protect it, even if others get hurt in the process? McCanick shows us that even when we start off headed in the right direction (a long time ago in McCanick’s world) we can become distracted by the grind, by our own off-work problems, and end up somewhere that we never thought we’d be.