Wow. Central Division is one intense cop drama. The four episode first season will cost you ten minutes of your life in viewing time, but a lot more than that in reflection. I’ve never seen so many twists and turns in such a short span of time with no more than two characters and a body.
The minimalist cast consists of Brian Silverman as Det. Alan Edwards and Clay Wilcox as Det. Frank Hodge. You’ve seen both of these guys on a smattering of tv shows from Life and Cold Case for Silverman’s part to Criminal Minds and Heroes on the Wilcox side of things. Though usually bit players in these shows, these two guys are displaying some serious acting chops here.
Of course they seem to be in capable hands with the series creator-writer-director Aleem Hossain, who helmed the the sci-fi web series It Ends Today and the Comic-con official select short, Pinkerton. Hossain has obviously learned from his experience with small-filmmaking, by keeping this show in one easy location: a parking garage, his cast very small, and his writing tight and thrilling. Adding to this solid planning, is great cinematography by Julie Kirkwood that’s both unobtrusive and edgy.
If I have one complaint it’s that the episodes can feel a little short. I don’t mean this in a cute way, but quite honestly episode three is a minute and thirty-seven seconds and ends with a twist that though satisfying, feels like it needs another beat. For some reason the brevity of this ep actually almost feels comical and I think it’s because we don’t get a minute to let the information sink in and see how our characters are dealing with it. Sure, we get it in the next episode and that works, but it seems to diminish the impact of ep three.
And in general, since the whole season is ostensibly what would be a single scene in a television show or film, I was definitely left wanting more, but not necessarily in a good way, if I have to wait a few months for the second season. Perhaps it’s in semantics, because if Hossain hadn’t called these four eps a ’season’, I might not be feeling this way.
That said, this show is definitely worth watching, as is Hossain himself. He has a clear point of view about what he wants and likes and is able to achieve it with very little. Calling season 1 ‘a true labor of love (a love for brutal police stories)’ Hossain delivers ten-fold. Inspired by shows like Homicide, The Shield and The Wire, he’s holding his own and bringing to the web a genre I have yet to see done so well in this format.
The show’s site is also simple and easy to navigate, foregrounding the show itself, without any frill except for the usual general info on cast and crew, etc. Central Division can be found on youtube, and facebook as well, with regular series updates on twitter. I don’t care how, but check this show out, please, you won’t regret it.