A British/New Zealand/Australian/American co-production, which aired in 2013.
Lake Top, a small remote town in New Zealand
, is shaken up when twelve-year-old Tui Mitcham is found to be pregnant and then disappears. Robyn Griffin, a big-city female police officer who grew up in the town and has returned to look after her cancer-stricken mother, is persuaded to investigate. As well as New Zealander male machismo, she runs into a conspiracy of silence and obstruction, which seems to center around Tui's father Matt, who happens to be the local gangster and has the cops in his pocket. Matters are also complicated by the arrival of an eccentric feminist women's commune led by weirdo therapist GJ, and old wounds related to Robyn's own gang-rape after a high school prom years before.
A Twin Peaks
-like thriller series directed by Jane Campion, and starring, among others Holly Hunter
and Lucy Lawless
Tropes present in this TV thriller series:
- All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: Matt is in a meth racket with a local biker gang and tends to recruit them as muscle when required.
- Asshole Victim: Unrepentant gang-rape participant Sarge is a non-fatal example.
- Badass Grandpa: Matt Mitcham
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The Lake Top police are corrupt, lazy, and completely unprepared to deal with a crime that demands actual investigation.
- Bestiality Is Depraved:
- A character openly boasts of having shagged his sheep and loudly extols how this is superior to sex with women.
- One of the feminist commune may or may not have had a sexual relationship with her pet chimpanzee.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Matt and G.J.
- Broken Bird: Robin.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: What really sets Robin off when Sarge hits on her in the bar is that he either doesn't recognize her as the woman he raped or has forgotten about the incident altogether.
- Campbell Country: the remote part of New Zealand where the series is set.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Pretty much all of the commune-dwellers.
- Chekhov's Gun: Al's barista scheme for disadvantaged local children gets far too much attention to be irrelevant to the plot. It turns out it's actually a cover for him pimping out the children to businessmen, and it's implied one of these people was the father of Tui's baby.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- Tui's friend Jamie is mentioned briefly in the first episode and turns out to have a large role in the plot later, as he's the one helping Tui survive out in the bush.
- Bob Platt dies in the first episode but posthumously proves quite important. It's evidence on his computer that first alerts Robin to the existence of the paedophile ring.
- Corrupt Hick: Matt Mitcham
- Crapsack World: Small rural New Zealand town where a paedophile ring is being operated, the police are corrupt, and abuse towards women is rampant.
- Dirty Cop: Al seems like a nice guy but he's far closer to Matt Mitcham and his drug operation than a policeman should be. And it turns out this is only the tip of the iceberg - he's also running a paedophile ring disguised as a work experience programme.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Al, the local police chief, towards Robyn. Not depicted sympathetically.
- Driven to Suicide: Wolfgang, after he's accused of kidnapping Tui. It's implied, but never confirmed, that he may have been murdered instead, though.
- Emo Teen: Tui's same-aged male friend Jamie.
- Fan Disservice: There's quite a lot of nudity but the clinical style and the fact that most of the actors aren't stereotypically hot means that it isn't particularly erotic.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Deconstructed with Robyn, who only kept the child conceived by her gang-rape because her devoutly Catholic mother forbid her to abort.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Not a good idea to hit on a woman you once raped, even if it was several years ago.
- He-Man Woman Hater: This trait is common among the residents of Laketop:
- Sarge is an unrepentant rapist and is still largely accepted in the town even though this is common knowledge.
- Matt, Mark and Luke Mitcham openly look down on the women in Paradise, at different times calling them "lezzers" and "unfuckable".
- There are also the men in the pub who question Robin to see if she's a feminist, before declaring "no one likes a feminist except a lesbian". One of these men is also the sheepshagging man mentioned elsewhere on the page.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jamie impersonates Tui when Matt's bikers hunt for her and ends up getting chased over a cliff to his death.
- Incest Subtext: Who is the father of Tui's baby? Suspicion falls on her father and brothers. Hints are also been dropped that Robyn might actually be Matt's daughter, which would make her relationship with Johnno Surprise Incest (subverted when it is revealed that Johnno is not Matt's son)
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Attempted unsuccessfully by Al on Jamie.
- Killed Off Screen: Robin's mother dies between two episodes.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Matt Mitcham had an affair with Robin's mother, and is in fact her real father.
- National Stereotypes: The sheepshagger does nothing to dispel a common slur levelled against all New Zealanders.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Matt likes to act like a permastoned old hippie, although few people buy it.
- Old Flame: Robyn and Johnno.
- Out, Damned Spot!: One of the last shots of the series is Robyn wading in the lake attempting to get Al's blood out of her shirt.
- Overlord Jr.: Matt's two younger sons. Pity that, unlike their father, they're about as intelligent as the sheep.
- Parental Incest: May, possibly, have occurred between Matt and Tui.
- The Patriarch: Matt
- Pet the Dog / Kick the Dog: Matt has a brief sexual relationship with one of the commune women, which appears to be humanizing him, but ends up exploding at her after she disrespects his mother's grave and nearly drives his car over her.
- Quirky Town: A peculiar subversion of the trope: practically all the characters constantly cross the line between "amusingly quirky" and "scarily dysfunctional".
- Red Herring:
- Wolfgang Zanic. He's a convicted paedophile, but he's not guilty of kidnapping Tui.
- It's briefly implied that Matt may be keeping Tui in a secret room under his shower. This is not the case - the secret room is actually Matt's drug lab.
- Riddle for the Ages:
- It's never entirely clear whether the death of Wolfgang Zanic was murder or suicide.
- The show also doesn't completely resolve who the father of Tui's baby was. Tui doesn't remember who it was and while Al claims it was Matt, he isn't a reliable source seeing as there's also a lot of evidence pointing to him or one of his "clients".
- Did Matt know about the paedophile ring and that Tui may have been a victim of it?
- Scenery Porn: Used as a constant counterpoint to the grubby and depraved events.
- Self Harm: Matt has a habit of whipping himself with a belt at his mother's grave.
- Self-Made Orphan: Tui shoots Matt dead believing that he's about to kill her son.
- Shout-Out: to a dark British drama, The Lakes, which was also about murky goings-on, sexual irregularity, violence and skullduggery under the surface of a remote inbred community living next to a scenic lake. It also has some character and atmosphere similarities to the first season of Forbrydelsen.
- Surprise Incest: Robin and Johnno, seeing as Robin is Matt's daughter. Disturbingly, she's very keen to continue the relationship even after she discovers this. It's subverted later, though, with the reveal that Johnno isn't actually Matt's son.
- Tattooed Crook: Matt's sons have some striking ones.
- The Ending Changes Everything: Al is the leader of a paedophile ring, and may very well have lied about Tui's baby's parentage. Also, Matt is Robin's father but not Johnno's.
- Turn In Your Badge: Robyn, temporarily, after she stabs one of her rapists with a broken bottle.
- The Voiceless: Jamie mostly refuses to speak and communicates with "yes" and "no" written on his hands.
- What a Drag: Matt and his two younger sons dragged Bob Platt to his death behind a boat after he sold the land Matt's mother was buried on to the feminist commune.
- White Sheep: Johnno Mitcham. He's a recovering drug addict while his father and brothers are dealers and he doesn't seem to have their He-Man Woman Hater streak. Which could foreshadow the revelation that he's not really Matt's son.