ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY
Former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is asked to come back and consult again when serial killer Dr. Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) escapes from jail. Hardy was instrumental in helping to catch Carroll back in 2003 but since then he’s been on disability due his last showdown with him.
Carroll is a former university professor who taught works of Edgar Allen Poe and killed women as an homage to Poe’s gothic heroes. When Hardy caught up with him, he had yet to complete his masterpiece by killing his last victim, Dr. Sarah Fuller (Maggie Grace). Following his escape, it seems that Carroll has something more sinister in store for Hardy.
I’ll admit that I really wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I first saw this show. My day job had me reviewing a documentary series about serial killers, I went home to watch the season finale of American Horror Story and catch up on Syfy’s Being Human. Add this to the list of programming? It was a dark, very dark night. Or perhaps it was the best setting for me to be watching this show for the first time. I was totally engrossed and terrified by it.
It’s a pretty violent show considering that it’s on a major network but it’s done with dark shots and quick edits that you don’t actually see much. However, I think the best horror films are ones where you don’t see too much. I will say what I did see did make me jump. But I expect that from the guy that brought us Scream; that’s exactly what Kevin Williamson wants us to feel.
James Purefoy is terrifying as Dr. Joe Carroll. He’s Charles Manson meets Hannibal Lecter. On the one hand, he’s physically strong and swift as the show tells us he was able to take out all the prison guards in under two minutes during his escape. But it’s what happens later that gets under your skin. Carroll is a charismatic villain where you can just about believe that’s he capable of creating a following of serial killers.
At first glance, it’s unbelievable to see how deep this network goes. When you come to a realization of it, you see how the show comes together as you have no idea which direction Carroll’s people are going to hit you from. I can’t wait to find out where Carroll’s double life began and why.
Kevin Bacon has played his share of bad guys that could possibly rival the evil of Carroll. Perhaps that’s why their tête-à-tête looks it’ll be a good knockdown, drag out fight. Even though he’s essentially one of the good guys, it’s clear that Hardy is not totally a good guy. He’s got a problem working nicely with others; he’s an alcoholic and slept with Carroll’s ex-wife. The man has got issues but as they say, ‘You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.’ The fact that he’s got problems makes him perfectly suited to think like Carroll in order to catch him.
As for the rest of the team, we’ll have to see where they figure into the story. FBI Agent Jennifer Mason (Jeananne Goossen) is not willing to let the investigation get away from her while FBI Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore, who I totally mistook for his twin brother Aaron. Aaron Ashmore is on Warehouse 13.) is in awe of Hardy and views him as his hero.
Dr. Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) is Carroll’s ex-wife who had a relationship with Hardy and she’ll be instrumental in providing an inside look into what made Carroll tick as well as being the force that drives him to do what he does.
The strength of this series lies in how the followers execute Carroll’s will and how Carroll manipulates the good guys. For now, the two leads have me hooked.