Hinterland is available on US Netflix. There are 4 episodes in Season 1, each an hour and a half long. Each episode is actually a full movie. The plots and stories are as complicated as you might expect in a police procedural mystery of that length. This review is of season 1 only.
Hinterland is set in Aberystwyth, Wales. Speaking scenes were filmed twice, once in English and once in Welsh. The show was broadcast in both languages.
Richard Harrington stars as Tom Mathias. He’s a recent addition to the police department in this small coastal town. Working with him are 3 others. Mali Harries is Mared Rhys, his partner and an experienced police officer herself. Alex Harries plays Lloyd Ellis, a computer geek who doesn’t often get out into the field. Hannah Daniel plays Sian Owens, a younger officer who is trying to impress her new boss with great police work. The Superintendent Brian Prosser is played by Aneirin Hughes. The Supt. may turn out to be as crooked as the criminals they bring in, but that was merely hinted at in Season 1.
The series is full of silence. These are not talkative people. Mathias is particularly taciturn, but none of the others fill the air with unnecessary talk either. They live in a brooding, windswept barren of a place filled with secrets. And they have their own secrets as well. Mathias is not inclined to explain himself to his officers and they are often left to try to read his mind in hopes of understanding why the investigation is going as it is. Richard Harrington does a fabulous job as the melancholy Mathias.
The crimes are worthy mysteries with an interesting cast of suspects in each case. Only in episode 4, “The Girl in the Water,” was I able to figure out much ahead of Mathias who the killer was and what his secret was.
You’ll get an extended travelogue of western Wales as the crimes take the police to various far-flung outposts in the area. I can tell you this much, it doesn’t make me want to hurry with plans to visit. Part of that may be because most of Season 1 episodes were filmed in winter when the countryside was dry and brown. In episode 4, there were signs of spring, which might make the hills in the area verdant and beautiful.
There are 5 episodes in Season 2, which is also available on US Netflix. It follows the same format with 90 minute episodes and complex crime situations. Here’s my review of season 2.
The extended trailer below is in Welsh, but has English subtitles. The versions on US Netflix are in English. In Wales, the series is known as Y Gwyll.