Looking back at season one of Cinemax’s Banshee many great things come to mind. Words and phrases like incredible, unbelievably believable, uber-violent, adrenaline pumping, aggressive, graphic sex scenes usually closely matched with it’s abundantly violent, murder when it suits you theme. Banshee is an exercise in the overindulgence in many evils. One thing to keep in mind is that, while this show is currently produced by Cinemax, a station noted for little more than it’s weekly soft core pornography flicks, this show, while very graphic in nature, is nothing of the sort. This is a very smart, well written, fast paced show that can be very, very addictive. If you happen to be a newcomer, you’ll have the option of watching season one back to back, an option many will find enticing after catching the pilot.
After completing his 15 year prison sentence, an ex-con (Antony Starr) tracks down his former partner, now known as Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic), residing now in Banshee County, Pennsylvania. When the ex- con arrives, his first stop is at Sugar’s Bar, rightly named after it’s owner Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) who also did his share of prison time. It’s there where he meets the county’s new Sheriff, Lucas Hood, who has literally just arrived in town and has yet to meet anyone. When Hood is killed during an attempted robbery, the ex-con kills the robbers and saves Sugar’s life in the process, the two strike a deal to bury what has happened, both literally and figuratively, leaving the ex-con to assume the identity of the town’s new sheriff. The town’s youthful mayor wanted to bring in an outsider as Sheriff to deal with their local power broker/mafia boss, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) , who seems to have everyone else in his pocket, with business dealings on both sides of the law.
Granted now that’s just the pilot, it ends leaving you starving for more, but it also leaves you eager to see exactly how a newly released ex-con could possibly pull it off, fooling everyone. Keeping his identity a secret is an issue dealt with in a variety of ways in just about every episode of the first season and it damn sure looks to be even more of an issue in the teaser for the second season. Both the townspeople & the viewers come to find out that, since a new sheriff has come to Banshee, there suddenly isn’t a dull moment in a once corrupted, but relatively quiet Pennsylvania town. Whatever you do, don’t walk away from Banshee thinking “that concept could never work” or that “there won’t be enough material” to expand upon. Lucas’s adversary Kai Proctor becomes a very well liked bad guy, his charisma in his acting makes it hard not to like the guy. There also is the issue of the missing $10 million in diamonds that Lucas & Carrie made off with before Lucas went to prison. An extremely evil & powerful man by the name of Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross) is hot on the trail of the diamonds and he’ll stop at nothing to get vengeance on the two people he trusted most in life, his daughter and the man who he raised like his own son. Rabbit is the kind of man who has no problem killing his own or anyone who betrays him.
As a final note, this is a show that will likely have you on your feet at times exclaiming vulgarities like, FU** YEAH! and OH, SHI*, NO HE DIDN’T! If you are frightened or put off by such notions then there is a strong possibility that this indeed may not be the right show for you.
Review by Jim Davis, special to Influx Magazine
Get in the conversation. Visit the Influx Forum.