Tuesday, March 08, 2016

"The Family" on ABC: a supposedly murdered politician's son returns, creating more mystery

The Family”, created by Jenna Bans, premiered March 3 on ABC with a Pilot (Paul McGuigan) and continued with a second episode, “All You See Is Dark” (directed by John Gray) on March 6.

The premise is startling.  The son (Adam Warren, played by a boyish Liam James) of a female politician (Claire Warren, played by an energetic Joan Allen) is thought to be murdered by a sex offender, the culprit having confessed under duress.  The son, now 18, escapes and returns, injured and potentially disfigured.  The series is set in Red Bank, Maine (Stephen King country), within sight of the Longfellow Mountains.

The supposed offender is a neighbor, Hank (Andrew McCarthy), who was coerced into confession and a plea deal by police sergeant Meyer (Margot Bingham), because he had been caught earlier with child pornography on his home computer.  He is threatened with the death penalty (which Maine does not have).  The state compensates him for wrongful conviction when he is released.  In the Pilot, there is a confrontation between Hank and husband John Warren (Rupert Graves) in a supermarket, where Hank turns down the apology and takes an essentialist track, it is what it is.
The day of the disappearance is revisited in many flashbacks, usually clearly marked.  Claire insists that the older siblings in the family learn to protect the younger, and preaches "family values" in her political speeches.

The series opens ten years back, when Claire is at a county fair, soliciting attention from people as she stomps to run for City Council.  You have to be aggressive with people to get anywhere.  The years later she will run for governor.

Although Adam’s identity is supposedly verified by DNA, the series starts to introduce doubts as to whether he really is the right kid, and suggesting something else is going on.

Adam’s older brother Daniel (Zach Gilford) seems charismatic at first, but appears possibly to be involved.  Why did he quit football?  Was it the concussion crisis?

The official site is here.

Picture, south of the White Mountains in NH (2011, mines).

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