We Hunt Together. Showtime. Sunday, August 9, 10 p.m.
Forget cat-and-mouse crime shows. Showtime's We Hunt Together is cats-and-mice, plural, with a pair of mismatched cops and criminals chasing around one another through a fog of hormones and splattered blood. It's twice as gory, twice as creepy, and twice as much fun as anything else you've seen this summer.
Though it's a British import that aired on the BBC's cable arm Alibi last spring, the miniseries We Hunt Together is about as far from the Sherlock Holmes stiff-upper-lip tradition as a crime show can get: No forensics. Pervy psychosexual undertones.
And most of all, no companionable drawing-room partners poring over medical tomes. The two detectives in We Hunt Together can barely tolerate one another when they're first matched up.
Cynical, hard-bitten and apparently lacking any trace of a personal life, Sgt. Lola Franks (Eve Myles, Torchwood) cannot decide what she hates most about her new partner, Jackson Mendy (Babou Ceesay, Into the Badlands): His jollity, born of a belief in biological determinism (no sense in getting mad at murderers when they're just an unlucky mix of genes), his previous assignment as an internal affairs investigator busting other cops, or the fact that he outranks her despite having no homicide experience. Her summation of the situation: "Oh, for fuck's sake."
The seedy case they're assigned to investigate does nothing to ease the tension: The apparent S&M-play-gone-wrong murder of a male habitué of a hookup site.
Though Franks and Mendy don't know it, the killing is the first by a team of rookie serial killers, African refugee Baba Lenga (British TV regular Dipo Ola) and party girl Freddy—that's short for Frederica—Lane.
Baba and Freddy are an even more unlikely match than the two cops. Baba is a straight-arrow church sexton; Freddy, a telephone-sex temptress of staggering ineptitude. ("You want to do what in my ears?")
But after they meet by chance at the dance club where Baba works as a bouncer, their cracked back stories unfold. Freddy's ditzy vamping masks a keen intelligence—her dating-site hookup name is Zara Hustra—that she uses to hustle men, even (or perhaps especially) the dangerous ones.
And Baba fled Africa after a long career as a child soldier of impressive lethality, an existence that haunts him like a ghost. Following their first sexual encounter, Freddy examines the cluster of bullet wounds on his body. "How are you still alive?" she wonders. His chilling reply presages what's to come: "Maybe I'm not." Their first killing is at least arguably done out of necessity, but it unleashes a shuddery eroticism that guarantees it won't be the last.
All four of the lead actors display awesome skill in crafting their broken characters, blending droll humor, terrifying rage and sinister sensuality into an off-kilter crime drama that's sometimes funny, sometimes scary and always irresistible. In a flashback scene, Freddy's father, dropping her off at school, pleads: "Just try not to be you." Fat chance.