Hit & Miss (Sky Atlantic) - First episode review
Review by Rob Carnevale
SKY Atlantic’s new drama Hit & Miss got off to an intriguing start thanks to some stylish direction from Hettie Macdonald and a commanding central performance from Chloë Sevigny as a transsexual assassin.
Created (but not written) by Paul Abbott (of Shameless fame) this trades on familiar elements, particularly within the hitman genre, but already has an identity of its own.
And while the elements are still falling into place, there was enough groundwork laid to suggest this six-part drama is worth going the distance with.
Holding it together is undoubtedly Sevigny, a cold-blooded assassin named Mia who was first introduced coldly eliminating her latest victim in a night-time car park, before coolly applying lipstick in the aftermath of the hit.
Moments later, she took a shower to reveal a penis… and traces of a former life. And minutes after that, her employer handed her a letter that revealed her former partner was dying of cancer and that she was the father of an 11-year-old boy.
And therein lies the main thrust of Hit & Miss‘s storyline, as Mia decides to travel to the hilltop farmhouse where her son resides to discover that not only is she expected to look after him, but also assume guardianship of all four of the children residing there.
Needless to say, the oldest of the four, Karla Crome’s Riley, doesn’t want her there but, over the course of the first hour, slowly comes to respect, if not entirely trust her.
There’s also a villain (played by Vincent Regan) to take into account in the form of the owner of the farmhouse where they live, a brute of a man who is sleeping with Riley despite being married with his own family.
He takes an instant dislike to Mia for standing up to him in a pub and resolves to take it out on her family, prompting the inevitable final act showdown in which Mia gets to strike a blow for her put-upon family and display her more lethal tendencies.
Thus far, then, the ingredients are in place for a satisfylingly different take on the whole hitman genre with Sevigny offering a suitably enigmatic presence.
Her Mia is ruthless yet vulnerable, a prisoner to her secret in certain circles, yet someone who is lethal proficient at dishing out pain. Her bonding scenes with her son inevitably involved teaching him how to stand up and fight, which only heightens the dysfuctional element of this ‘new family set-up’. At times, the relationships reminded me of Leon, at others a more classically Western set-up… albeit with a set of morals that are resolutely contemporary.
The language is often foul, even when being issued to the youngest cast members, while the sense of right and wrong is deliberately skewed. And yet it somehow feels like a good fit for the drama that unfolds.
There are questions that need answering yet they are ones that I look forward to seeing addressed. And while not every performance rates highly (some of the child actors are wooden), Hit & Miss already has a lot to recommend it as part of Sky Atlantic’s commitment to putting on drama only of the highest quality.