Amazon Prime TV review: Crossing Lines (Episode 1 and 2)
Andrew Jones | On 25, Oct 2013
Amazon’s new acquisition, Crossing Lines, sees William Fichtner – of Drive Angry, Heat and Elysium fame – as Carl Hickman, a former New York detective hiding out in Amsterdam with an injured hand but a deductive mind. Hickman’s brilliance is called upon soon enough when a dream team of European police officers band together to hunt a murderer who has left a similar M.O. in several countries. This forms the premise of the opening double episode of Crossing Lines, which mixes high drama with police procedural TV – and sequences of Donald Sutherland talking to pigeons*.
Smartly casting Eddie Jemison as a weird, small psychopath means that Crossing Lines starts with two great US performers doing interesting things in roles they wouldn’t usually get. This gives life to an introduction that, at times, takes things at a glacial pace.
Annoyingly, when the two actors aren’t on screen (and that becomes more frequent in the second episode), the show becomes a bland detective show with no twists on the format and only strong cinematography to best more mainstream hits, such as CSI and NCIS. While nice to look at, it’s a shame that Crossing Lines is only as good as its star can make it. Fichtner’s acting calibre really sends this show into a realm that the writing can’t quite muster around him – it’s nice to see the underrated performer get a lead role.
The other actors are left with tedious dialogue, awkward exposition and characters that aren’t even quarter-baked yet. Donald Sutherland’s brief appearances as Michel Dorn are enjoyable, if odd; the accent he’s doing is a mix of a slight drawl and not bothering. Thankfully, Sutherland’s beard is a shining light of insanity. Rather than focus on the disappointment, Michel’s facial hair takes centre stage – along with the pigeons – as Donald demonstrates that some good beard acting goes a long way.
Pilots are always hard to make work because it’s all about finding ground to run on. Most shows don’t hit the ground running at all, so Crossing Lines’ slow start isn’t a surprise. Given its success has already led to a second season, though, the next eight episodes (already available to stream on LOVEFiLM) should speed up.
Here’s hoping the show does find its footing as the series runs and reaches a point where the overarching storylines and the week-to-week cases match each other in quality. For now, take those early steps with some trepidation.
*(about laws that forbid him from feeding pigeons)
Crossing Lines is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.