Stream or skip? +2023

If you go through Alfred Molina’s IMDb listing, you’ll see over two hundred appearances. And he’s played everything from a cop to one law & order Offshoot of Hercule Poirot to Doctor Octopus. Still, when he appears on our screens, we’re always happy to see him because he brings depth to every role he plays. He’s playing a cop again in a new mystery series on Prime Video set in Quebec, and he’s doing it way better than it should.

THREE JAWS: Stream or skip?

opening shot: “Tiothiá:Ke (Montreal)”. A protest against the disappearance of indigenous women takes place in front of the station of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the provincial police. A senior detective wearing glasses watches the protests from a window.

The essentials: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (Alfred Molina) feels sorry for the protesting families; Thousands of tribal women have disappeared or been murdered in recent years and the SQ has done little to nothing about it. He even defends the mother and sister of one of these victims, Blue Two-Rivers (Anna Lambe), when they are physically restrained by officers trying to control the crowd.

He drives Blue’s mother Arisawe (Georgina Lightning) and sisters Missy (Crystle Lightning) and Kara (Isabel Deroy-Olson) home. He asks a colleague to keep a record related to the case, although like the rest of the SQ, the colleague thinks Blue just ran away.

In the village of Three Pines, CC de Poitiers (Simone-Élise Girard), who has just published a tell-all book, sleeps with her photographer Saul Petrov (Iannicko N’Doua-Légaré), completely ignoring her passive husband Richard (Robert Moloney) and their daughter Crie (Roberta Battaglia). Later, at a curling tournament on Boxing Day, de Poitiers is sitting on a metal chair and suddenly gets hot. Blue liquid drips around her feet. Then she is suddenly electrocuted and collapses dead in the chair.

Gamache is sent to Three Pines to investigate – he believes it is punishment for driving the Two-Rivers family home. He is received there by Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Rossif Sutherland), Sergeant Isabelle Lacoste (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) and overzealous local officer Yvette Nichol (Sarah Booth). With the help of Yvette, they set up a situation space in the gallery of Bea Mayer (Tantoo Cardinal), who is surprised to see an Indigenous Lacoste in the SQ.

As Gamache moves on, he gets news about Blue Two-Rivers; She was seen alive in Brooklyn. However, Missy thinks she would call if she were alive. And as Blue pursues his dreams, he begins to realize that whoever was there when CC de Poitiers died probably had a reason to want them dead.

Three Pines
Photo: Prime Video

What shows will it remind you of? Three Pines has a few similarities to Alaska Daily, regarding the story of the disappearance of thousands of young indigenous women. But essentially, the show is more like a traditional detective show along the lines of Acorn’s many detective shows, eh Whitstable Pearl, Midsomer Murders and other.

Our opinion: Three Pines based on Louise Pennys Inspector Gamache novel series, and it attempts to balance a few different genres of police procedure to weave together a story that’s more complex than the average detective series.

You’ve got the traditional mystery of CC de Poitiers’ murder — Gamache even confronts all the suspects during a book club meeting and talks about why everyone wants to kill her as if he were Hercule Poirot (who Molina has played in the past) — but there’s also one fuller story depicting the very real disappearance of thousands of indigenous women in Canada and Alaska. Also, Gamache has some secrets in his own life that he must face while investigating both cases.

It all comes together pretty well, mostly because of Molina. It’s not exactly his first time playing a police detective, but he still makes Gamache unique from the other times he’s played a cop, largely because he shows Gamache’s weak points so effectively. He’s not the typical SQ cop who sees these missing persons cases as outliers and basically doesn’t give the families answers, but he still has to contend with the indigenous people’s distrust of law enforcement.

A good supporting cast and a slight sense of humor also help. Not every aspect of the show is light and breezy, but she seems to know when to get serious and when to lighten things up. For this reason, Three Pines give viewers an interesting murder case to follow, quirky small-towners with secrets, and a more serious case that will test the protagonist’s skills. What more does a viewer want?

gender and skin: Aside from CC waking up next to Petrov, there aren’t any in the first episode.

farewell shot: When Yvette asks Gamache which of the townspeople killed CC, he quotes Frankenstein and says, “What if it was everyone?”

sleeping star: We give it to Claire Coulter, who plays swearing urban eccentric Ruth Zardo, who hauls her pet duck all over town.

Most pilot line: CC yells at her husband and daughter, “The only mistake here was marrying you and giving birth to that.” “That” is her daughter. Wow, that is incredibly cruel.

Our appeal: Stream it. Alfred Molina and a fine supporting cast rise up Three Pines above standard detective drama, if only because it works flawlessly on more than one level.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he doesn’t fool himself: He’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon,, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

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