Fans of Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire, rejoice! You can now catch this wildly talented actress in the new Hulu mini-series National Treasure: Kiri. (And before you ask, it has nothing to do with Nicolas Cage on a American history scavenger hunt.)
This much buzzed about contemporary crime/mystery aired on Channel 4 in the UK back in January of this year, becoming that network's most watched drama series ever. It was penned by Jack Thorne, writer of the This Is England mini-series, the film Wonder and the play Harry Potter and and the Cursed Child. It is directed by Euros Lyn, whose credits include Broadchurch, Doctor Who and Last Tango in Halifax.
Centered around the abduction and murder of Kiri (Felicia Mukasa), a young black girl in the foster care system, the four-episode mini-series examines the factors of race and family relationships in the aftermath of these tragic events.
Lancashire plays Kiri’s maverick social worker, Miriam Grayson. Her appearance is rumpled, she routinely adds a little pick-me-up to her morning coffee and she takes her faithful and flatulent dog Jesse (played by a lovely pooch named Chase) absolutely everywhere, including her place of work. She has a prickly relationship with her mother (played by Sue Johnston) and she isn't timid about making her opinions known to her superiors. In a word, Miriam is a character, but there is no doubt she is 100% devoted to the children she serves.
The rest of the ensemble cast includes Steven Mackintosh and Lia Williams as Jim and Alice Warner, a white middle-class couple and Kiri’s soon-to-be adoptive parents with secrets of their own; Lucian Msamati as Tobi Akindele, Kiri’s grandfather and only link to her biological family; and Wunmi Mosaku as DI Mercer, the officer in charge of Kiri’s murder investigation.
When Miriam recommends an unsupervised visit between Kiri and her grandfather in advance of formal adoption proceedings, her foster parents are a bit on edge. When Kiri goes missing from the Akindele home with her ex-con birth father Nate (Paapa Essiedu), everyone is put on alert. And when she’s found dead on the Downs, the nightmare for the Warners, the Akindeles and Miriam begins.
What follows are glimpses into the private lives of everyone who was involved with the young girl. The Warners’ rocky marriage and troubled son Simon (Finn Bennett), the estrangement between Tobi and his son Nate and Miriam’s sometimes questionable professional judgment and drinking problem all come under the microscope as the police try to determine what happened to Kiri on that fateful day. Bigger questions are addressed about race and the appropriateness of placing children of color with white families in the foster system.
Kiri is a topical, complex drama full of gritty,moving performances. Do you think you'll give it a watch? (You can stream it via Hulu here.) If you already have, what's your take on the series?