Third-episode verdict: Banshee (Cinemax)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In the US: Fridays, 10/9c, Cinemax

Already time for a third-episode verdict on Banshee? Well, that’s what happens when you have a backlog, isn’t it?

So, to recap, I was quite impressed by the first two episodes, in which a master criminal accidentally ends up the sheriff of a small Pennsylvania town while he’s looking for his former partner and lover and his share of a diamond robbery. Yes, it had a marked tendency towards the ludicrous, the bombastic and the downright sadistic, but it had some decent characters, dialogue a cut above the usual Cinemax migraine-inducers, and interesting things to say about the line between criminality and law enforcement.

The third episode was, in a sense, a make-or-break episode for the main character – is he just pretending to be a sheriff or is he actually a sheriff? Here the choice was to ignore a woman’s rape in order to bring money to the town and avoid antagonising the head criminal, or to bring the accused to justice. Notable for one of the longest, protracted fights you’ll have seen on television, it was clearly put together by a stunt team that knows the difference between a sport like MMA and a genuine martial art and wanted to illustrate the difference in graphic detail.

The show’s still a little ludicrous, a little “heightened reality”, particularly the scenes involving Ivana Miličević and/or her father Ben Cross. But if you like a decent action show that’s also got some thought and character behind it, Banshee is a definite recommendation.

Rob’s rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Should last at least a season, maybe even two or three.