Home Before Dark tells a story based on real events about a precocious and intrepid 9 year old journalist who solves a cold case. It’s suspenseful and mysterious. You’ll find it on Apple TV+.
In season 1 of Home Before Dark, an absolutely riveting mystery is solved by a 9 year old and her dad. Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) learned journalism at her father Matt’s (Jim Sturgess) knee while they lived in New York City. They’ve returned to his small home town, where a 31 year old disappearance haunts everyone.
The family includes Matt, little Ginny (Mila Morgan), the mom Bridget (Abby Miller), Hilde and big sister Izzy (Kylie Rogers). Matt’s father Syl (Reed Birney) is also around.
The basic plot revolves around that old incident. Back then, Matt and his friends were on their bikes when one of them was snatched by someone in a van. The missing kid, assumed dead, was the mayor’s son. The sheriff (Louis Herthum) made sure a Native American man Sam Gillis (Michael Greyeyes) went to jail for it. That gave an overlay of racism to the story. It wasn’t heavily pounded, but it was there.
The sheriff got this conviction by having his son Frank testify about the license plate he saw. But Matt didn’t see it that way and didn’t think Sam Gillis did it. Frank (Michael Weston) as a grown up now is a Lt. in the sheriff’s dept. His dad is still sheriff and still telling him what to do.
Matt held issues and secrets about that long ago crime. He hasn’t told Bridget about it and when they return to his home town he starts acting strange. Nothing gets by Hilde and she sets off to investigate and write about it in her online newspaper.
Her first investigation is into the suspicious death of Penny Gillis (Sharon Taylor), Sam’s sister. She died just one day after the family returned to the little town on the coast of Oregon. Hilde puzzled out that one quickly.
I don’t want to give you too many details, because the surprises and reveals are so beautifully paced and written. I will mention a few more important characters. Hilde befriends a female sheriff’s deputy named Trip (Aziza Scott) who is a key player.
The school principal Kim (Joelle Carter) was Matt’s old girlfriend and good friends with the missing boy. Her mother Carol (Sharon Lawrence) is the librarian. There are other characters in this 10 episode season around Hilde, Izzy, Bridget, and Matt. Subplots involve new friendships, high school issues, defending Sam (Bridget is an attorney), and many threads from the past.
Thematically the series touched on bullying, the treatment of women, police corruption, dementia, racism, and family relationships.
There’s plenty of time to develop a strong many-threaded storyline and strong well-developed characters in season 1 of Home Before Dark. A second season was underway and halted because of the pandemic.
The character Hilde is based on a real person, a journalist who solved a cold case at the age of 8. The real girl is Hilde Lysiak. Her publication was called the Orange Street News.
Brooklynn Prince is brilliant as the hyper-intelligent, hyper-aware, and fearless Hilde. She gives feminism a good name. The future is female, indeed. The chemistry between Prince and Jim Sturgess as her father was remarkable and beautiful.
I was very impressed by the writing. The series was created by Dana Fox with additional writing by Thembi Banks, Hilde Lysiak, Dara Resnik, and others. The story was fleshed out and given depth. The suspense was compelling and the secrets and surprises were carefully thought out and delivered. There were women directors including Rosemary Rodriguez, Kat Candler, and Kate Woods. The other behind the camera names were heavily women, as well.
I give this series the highest ratings and hope you are able to watch it.
Hilde Lysiak and the young actress who played her got together for an interview. It’s a delightful read as Hilde interviews Hilde.
Here’s a preview.
Have you seen the series? What did you think about it?