[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
This Thursday, Peacock rolls out its newest drama series, Canadian/UK import Departure, a tightly-woven procedural/family drama set around a mysterious plane crash. Headlined by Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Kris Holden-Ried (Lost Girl), and the Christopher Plummer, the series follows an NTSB-like organization as it pieces together the clues and navigates outside forces that would much rather slow the investigation.
The season spans six episodes, and it’s a solid mix of intrigue around the drama of the mystery, the emotional repercussions for Panjabi’s Kendra as she returns to work for the first time since a personal tragedy, and the uncertainty and turmoil of the families of the passengers and crew. The timing is particularly difficult for Kendra as her stepson, AJ (Alexandre Bourgeois), returns home to London for a visit and she’s not as present with him as she wants to be, and as we soon see, he needs her to be.
Holden-Ried is Dom, the inspector liaison on the case, and while he and Kendra don’t hit it off right away, they soon find equal footing. Plummer is Howard, Panjabi’s former boss, who personally asks her to head up the team as soon as the plane goes missing.
The cast is rounded out by familiar faces Tamara Duarte (Wynonna Earp), Mark Rendall (Acorn TV’s Dead Still). and Peter Mensah (Midnight, Texas) as part of the investigation team, real-life Mr. and Mrs. couple Dougray Scott and Claire Forlani as an airline owner and MI6 agent, Sasha Roiz (Suits) as a billionaire with questionable intentions, and Rebecca Liddiard (Frankie Drake Mysteries), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), and Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) as two of the passengers and one of the pilots, who become vitally important to the case.
Filmed in Canada and England (where it premiered last summer, so don’t start Googling episode recaps if you want to remain unspoiled, which I recommend), the series was created by Vince Shiao (Ransom) and written by Shiao along with Stephanie Tracey, John Krizanc, Malcolm MacRury, and Ellen Vanstone. All six episodes were directed by T.J. Scott (Killjoys, among others).
I don’t have to tell you I’m a sucker for the Canadian pedigree on this, and I really enjoyed it. Plummer is delightful, and at 89 when it was filmed, as dapper and commanding as ever. Full disclosure: I never watched The Good Wife, so I have no built-in perception of Panjabi. She’s very good here as a woman balancing divergent calls of duty. Holden-Ried is an excellent foil as someone Kendra, nor we, are sure we can trust until he proves it–which he does. The rest of the cast are all very good, too, and I was pleased to see on Holden-Ried’s social media feed that they’re in production now on Season 2.
Season 1 of Departure premieres in the US this Thursday, September 17th, on Peacock–the first episode is free and the remaining five are available through a Premium subscription. In Canada, the series will air weekly on Global TV beginning October 8th. Here’s a sneak peek.
Photos courtesy of Ben Mark Holzberg/Shaftesbury/Greenpoint Productions/Peacock; Video courtesy of Peacock.
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