Screen Time

The buddy-cop feminist detective series I didn’t know I needed

Deadloch is one of the funniest, smartest, most unexpected delights I have watched in a long time.

I kept meaning to watch the new season of True Detective. I wasn’t a fan of the first season’s glamorized misogyny wrapped in sophomoric philosophical chatter, but this new season promised to right the wrongs of the past. Two women detectives solving a mysterious crime in the barren cold of an Alaskan winter, hints of a powerful divine feminine replacing the hopped-up toxic masculinity of the Southern gothic? Yes, please. Add in Jodie Foster—my first actor crush when I began to take movies seriously in high school—and it seemed tailor-made for me. But just looking at the promotion posters made me tired. I felt crushed beneath the weight of its self-seriousness before I even began. I never started.

It turns out everything I could ever have wanted from an odd-couple buddy-cop feminist detective mystery was waiting for me instead in a different series, Deadloch (created by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, streaming on Amazon Prime). The series opens with all the trappings of a serious crime drama: two teenage girls walk in the early morning dawn as a tiger snake slithers menacingly through the undergrowth. As they emerge on a deserted beach, one of the teenagers freezes in terror, staring down at a naked corpse. Ominous music swells. Then the other teenager trips in a hole, landing face-first inches from the corpse’s flaccid penis, her illicit cigarette flying from her mouth and lighting his pubic hair on fire. She begins beating his genitals with her beanie to put out the fire as her friend vomits near his head.

In this one minute, the show catapults over ponderous dread into something entirely of its own making. It’s one of the funniest, smartest, most unexpected delights I have watched in a long time.