Hard Sun is the latest production from Neil Cross who started his career as a writer but is best know for creating the fantastic crime series Luther. Unlike Luther, which is a fairly straightforward cop drama, Hard Sun’s premise is the end of the world is coming, and only a small group of powerful people know it. That is until our unlikely duo of police officers, DI Elaine Renko (Agyness Deyn) and DCI Charlie Hicks (Jim Sturgess) stumble across the apocalypse on the horizon.
This show has three main characters and we spend the premiere getting to know them. They are DCI Charlie Hicks, DI Elaine Renko, and Hard Sun. Other people and events appear in the episode, but they are merely small planets orbiting around, and reflecting the detectives and the mystery, a.k.a. Hard Sun, personified by Grace Morrigan (Nikki Amuka-Bird).
DCI Charlie Hicks
Charlie Hicks is impulsive, reckless, and morally reprehensible. We meet him as he is breaking into a home and robbing a man at gunpoint. Later we find out he stored the cash in the trunk of his unmarked police car and as the day progresses he has his new partner, Renko, drop him off at his mistress’s house to whom he gives the stolen cash. If that isn’t enough, we learn he has a pregnant wife and his mistress is his dead partner’s widow. Really there isn’t a scene in this episode where we aren’t reminded that Charlie Hicks is trash. All of this leads me to imagine that as the story unfolds, he will have to become a more sympathetic character otherwise I can’t see why Renko would continue the association with him; she is not one to suffer fools.
DI Elaine Renko
Our introduction to Elaine Renko is brutal. She is assaulted and her assailant attempts to burn her alive. Not only that, it’s someone she knows. Eight months later she arrives as Charlie Hick’s new partner. We find out that Hicks’ former partner was killed and it appears Elaine Renko has been assigned to be his partner to covertly investigate Hicks’ potential involvement in the murder of his partner.
Renko visits the man who attacked her in an institution, her son Daniel. I enjoyed the lovely bit of cinematography when she first sees Daniel in the institution and her reflection transposes upon his reflection showing their similarities in appearance. It’s a nice visual to show us they are mother and son before it is confirmed. Later, Hicks assumes she was a victim of rape or incest and uses that in an argument with her. While she doesn’t confirm anything, I would say we are given evidence to support that she was a victim of rape at a young age based on Renko’s lack of gender in her dress and her incredible self -defense skills. She is badass. Whatever happened to Renko in the past, she will not let anyone hurt her again.
We don’t know exactly what Hard Sun is, we just know it’s very, very bad. When I watched the opening scene of the show, I thought my stream was stuck because we see Grace Morrigan virtually frozen in shock in front of the Hard Sun Simulator playing on her video screen. Morrigan is a shadowy character throughout this episode. She appears silently and by the end of the episode she is has taken Hick’s wife and daughter somewhere ‘safe’ pending his return of the flash drive Hard Sun dossier.
As the audience, we don’t learn many details about Hard Sun. What we know by the end of the episode is that the world is ending according to a set of files contained on a hacker’s flash drive and Renko/Hicks are currently in possession of that drive, which you don’t need a password to access. The former holders of the flash drive are dead, killed by MI-5 (possibly) and Grace wants the drive back. This leads to a fight with Hicks wanting to give the data back to Morrigan (to free his family) and Renko wanting to give it to the media so the secret is no longer secret.
Conclusions and Questions
I loved that Renko and Hicks literally fight over the flash drive and that Renko bests Hicks decisively. In order for her to deal with Hicks as the show goes on, it was crucial that she proved her dominance over him or never be respected. He, of course, doesn’t deserve her respect.
The episode ends with Renko going to the Paladin News Group to let everyone know the world is ending in 5 years and Charlie Hicks thinking about the important women in his life while the song “Five Years” by David Bowie plays in the background. This song was Neil Cross’ inspiration for his show.
What is going to happened in episode 2? I’m very doubtful that the media will publish the information on the flash drive. What is Hicks going to do when he catches up with Renko? Did Grace also nab Hicks’ mistress? Will the detectives be able to go back to their day jobs? What do you do when the world is ending in just under 5 years?
Hard Sun S1E1 Review Score
"The Sun, The Moon, The Truth"
Cast: Agyness Deyn, Jim Sturgess, Nikki Amuka-Bird; written by Neil Cross and directed by Brian Kirk