Kyra Sedg­wick can’t liven up Ten Days in the Val­ley

Waterloo Region Record - - ARTS & LIFE - Kelly Lawler USA To­day

No one is bet­ter at look­ing har­ried than Kyra Sedg­wick.

The Emmy-win­ning ac­tress per­fected her ag­i­tated state for seven years as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor on TNT’s The Closer. In her new ABC lim­ited se­ries, Ten Days in the Val­ley (Sunday, 10 p.m., 2 stars out of 4) Sedg­wick is on the other side of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, play­ing an over­wrought mother whose daugh­ter is kid­napped in the mid­dle of the night.

Sedg­wick is a strong choice for the role and suc­ceeds in it, but her tal­ents aren’t quite enough to re­deem the se­ries, which gets off to a promis­ing start in Sunday’s pre­miere but drops off sig­nif­i­cantly in next week’s sec­ond episode.

The ac­tress plays Jane Sadler, a for­mer doc­u­men­tary film­maker who ex­posed po­lice-depart­ment cor­rup­tion and now writes and pro­duces a fic­tional cop TV show. She’s over­worked, keep­ing secrets and self-med­i­cat­ing with sleep­ing pills, al­co­hol and a va­ri­ety of drugs, which she in­dulges in on the night her daugh­ter Lake (Abi­gail Pniowsky) goes miss­ing. The cast is rounded out by Ade­wale Akin­n­uoye-Ag­baje (“Lost”) as the de­tec­tive on the case, Erika Chris­tensen (“Par­ent­hood”) as Jane’s sis­ter and Kick Gurry (“Edge of To­mor­row”) as Jane’s ex-hus­band.

There’s a glim­mer of an in­ter­est­ing story in the first episode, which es­tab­lishes the play­ers and the crime, and Jane’s un­re­li­a­bil­ity. Sedg­wick has a near-con­stant look of anx­i­ety and fear as she tries to keep her secrets from the po­lice while help­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. It’s slowly re­vealed that other peo­ple in Jane and her daugh­ter’s lives have just as many seedy deal­ings as Jane does.

But there’s a swift de­cline in the writ­ing and plot­ting in the sec­ond episode. The mys­tery of the kid­nap­ping takes a back­seat to both in­ter­per­sonal drama and Jane’s back­story. That would be fine if these sec­ondary plots were in­ter­est­ing, but the petty squab­bling of Jane’s ex and fam­ily is dull, her work­place drama is un­der­de­vel­oped and her solo in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the kid­nap­ping is con­fus­ing.

The se­ries can’t quite fig­ure out what to do with Jane as an an­ti­hero. Sedg­wick gives it her all, but Jane’s ac­tions are bizarre and sus­pi­cious, which is odd con­sid­er­ing she’s sup­posed to be an ex­pert on po­lice pro­ce­dure. The se­ries also over­does it with flash­backs and psy­che­delic vi­sions in Jane’s scenes that end up more hokey than il­lu­mi­nat­ing, and are of­ten fight­ing the story rather than adding to it.

It’s a shame, be­cause the ques­tion of who took Lake, and why, fiz­zles out quickly as a re­sult of the se­ries’ shift­ing fo­cus. Though it sets up sus­pects and clues, the se­ries too quickly closes the door on one, ex­cis­ing a piece of the rid­dle. It’s hard to main­tain in­ter­est in a mys­tery se­ries that can’t cre­ate a com­pelling who­dunit. And if “Ten Days in the Val­ley” can’t sus­tain in­ter­est in Day 2, it’s hard to see it work­ing through Day 10.

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