THE SERIES “Ten Days in the Valley”
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC/7
WHAT IT’S ABOUT Who today doesn’t know what it’s like being crazy-busy? Constantly distracted here is overtasked TV showrunner and divorced mom Jane Sadler (the formidable Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”). First, it’s Jane’s ex wanting to switch daughter days, then it’s the nanny conveying the day’s info. Next, it’s bedtime story time, then wine over laptop script pages. And later, the blasted phone with her night-shoot director seeking overnight rewrites. And then — well, then, it’s unbridled panic.
Where’s her daughter, who was supposed to be sleeping in bed while mom wrote in the shed out back? Who came by in the middle of the night, and why? What’s the deal with the ex’s girlfriend (his alibi), and when did she really leave for the night?
All of this is need-to-know for diligent police detective Bird (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, “Lost”), trying to pin down the facts while also eyeing the intra-familial fury they inspire. If Jane seems to be a loving mom, her ex (Kick Gurry, “Sense8”) is apparently no slouch, either. The nanny appears dedicated, but where’s her house key? Emotions run high, as strange deceptions and bad decisions run higher. Even Jane’s cop show co-workers seem sketchy.
MY SAY But not the makers behind “Ten Days,” who through the first two episodes demonstrate a firm grasp on both story and style. That earns a skyhigh-five in a fall season when so many shows are debuting at loose ends. More characters and circumstances get efficiently worked in — Jane’s younger sister (Erika Christensen) and her journalist husband (Josh Randall), other disparate detectives (Felix Solis, Francois Battiste), and various colleagues who open windows on Jane’s convoluted work life (Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Emily Kinney).
They may provide clues to the daughter’s disappearance. But they definitely drop cues to modern moral/ethical questions. They’re forever judging and confronting one another, while Bird assesses them, as we’re made to face our own feelings about their actions. How all these judgments shake out over 10 planned episodes may be the most fascinating aspect of this cunningly provocative project.
BOTTOM LINE. Compelling character study/suspenser from creator Tassie Cameron (“Rookie Blue”).