Low Winter Sun is a dark Cop Show/crime thriller from AMC, set in the ruins of modern Detroit on both sides of the law and the spaces in between. A story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption, the show begins on a stark cold open with the murder of Dirty Cop Brendan McCann by his partner Joe Geddes and fellow detective Frank Agnew, ostensibly as revenge for the killing of Agnew's girlfriend. When internal affairs show up the next day to investigate McCann, however, it soon becomes clear that Geddes had his own reasons for wanting his partner dead.
AMC cancelled the show after a single 10-episode season due to fairly abysmal ratings and lukewarm at best critical reaction. Despite this, very little was Left Hanging and the show rolls pretty well as a self-contained one-off.
Low Winter Sun provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: A one-off miniseries developed into a ten episode season, with more planned before the show was cancelled.
- Armor-Piercing Question: In the dying seconds of the last episode, Frank is completely taken aback when asked to confirm Katia's name while identifying her body. It throws in to question how well he actually knew a woman he supposedly loved when he couldn't even be sure Katia was her real name.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: The show opens with one cop tricking another into helping him kill a third and kicks off from there.
- By-the-Book Cop: Detective Kahlil is shown to be one of the least corrupt in the department, even willing to alienate her relationship with Agnew by wearing a wire to get information for Internal Affairs.
- Defiant to the End: When Reverend Lowdown's masked goons kill Damon, his last words are "Nice mask, asshole."
- Detective Mole: Agnew and Geddes spend many episodes investigating the murder they committed.
- Dirty Cop: Joe and Brendan. Frank probably counts too after his actions in the opening scenes.
- Driven to Suicide: Averted in "Ann Arbor"; Agnew nearly does it after his ex-wife admits how miserable she was during their marriage.
- He Knows Too Much: In "No Rounds", Agnew and Geddes attempt to discredit a witness by confusing him with questions and uncovering his personal secrets.
- Impersonating an Officer: In "Revelations", Agnew drives to the house in Chicago where he believes Katia is staying and uses his Detroit PD badge to impersonate a Chicago Police detective to gain entry.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Frank tries to invoke this to keep Internal Affairs away from the investigation into Brendan's murder. It doesn't work.
- Just One Little Mistake: In "Surrender", Boyd appears to present a strong case against Agnew and Geddes, but is unable to account for the mystery woman (Katia) who can corroborate his evidence.
- Karma Houdini: Geddes.
- Killer Cop: When Agnew looks through old case files, it's implied that McCann had killed many and had made them appear as suicides in the subsequent investigation, with collaboration from Geddes and possibly Dawson.
- The Lost Lenore: Frank's motivation for the murder of a fellow cop. It's a Subverted Trope, as it is revealed in the third episode that Katia is not really dead, and Joe had manipulated Frank.
- The Perfect Crime: Deconstructed. Agnew and Geddes believed that their killing of McCann was perfect, but later episodes showed that they overlooked certain pieces of evidence.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The McCann murder sets everything in motion.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Frank and Joe have to help their department investigate the murder of Brendan while covering up the fact that they are the killers.
- Sanity Slippage: Frank has a spectacularly bad day in "Ann Arbor" that sees him gradually losing his already shaky grip on things. Already missing a night's sleep after informing the families of McCann's victims of the cover up, he gets beaten up after aggravating a group of workmen, seems to have a mild heart attack after a failed attempt to flee the country, car-jacks a woman trying to help him out, and finally comes close to suicide after an emotional confrontation with his ex-wife.
- Scenery Gorn: The show is set in Detroit and uses many of the city's more clapped out locations to emphasize the show's Crapsack World setting. Even the police station is shown to be crumbling into disrepair.
- Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement: Pretty much all over the scale. Boyd and Kahlil appear to be on the positive end; Agnew is also portrayed as by-the-book until the events of the show. McCann, Geddes, and Dawson appear on the negative end.
- Swirlie: In "There Was A Girl" Agnew and Geddes attempt to use this to force a confession from Damon.
- Villainous Breakdown: In "Surrender", after Boyd's case against Agnew and Geddes is overruled by the deputy mayor.