“Hit and Miss”–Or, “Boys Don’t Cry” meets “Dexter”

This new mini-series created exclusively for DirecTV’s Audience Network stars Chloë Sevigny as a transgender hired assassin living in Yorkshire, England and fated to parent four children who have just lost their mother to cancer.  One of the children, Ryan, is her son whom she fathered before pursuing her journey to becoming Mia. Now she finds herself the legal guardian to  four children.  When the children she inherits begin to affect her, she is shaken by her own amorality.

In each opening scene, the camera moves over Mia’s pre-op transsexual body: nude with both breasts and a penis.  The grey drizzle of the scenery of Yorkshire emphasizes the “film noir” mood of the narrative. Sevigny, an extraordinary American actress, has mastered a Yorkshire accent in a cast of British and Irish actors.   Every episode features her gangster boss, Eddie (Peter Wright), assigning a “hit”, which Mia has to carry out, usually disguised as a young boy in a hoodie or as an alluring prostitute.

Chloë Sevigny’s first breakout role (for which she was nominated for an Academy Award) was in “Boys Don’t Cry“, as the girlfriend of a transgender youth.  It is a tribute to Sevigny that the role of Mia in “Hit and Miss”  feels remarkably natural.  The audience is forced to contemplate how gender defines our identity.  Sometimes Mia is a  deadened or robotic self, but she is awakening to the gentle self of mother, father, and lover.

Ben (Jonas Armstrong) will certainly become a heartthrob for his exceptional performance as the one so deeply in love with Mia he can accept her pre-op transgender body in graphic sexual scenes while questioning why he is so attracted to her.  Armstrong’s cool but empathetic air in understanding the problem of a relationship with a transgender partner is an incredibly moving window into the heart of gender identity.

“Hit and Miss” fits into a recurring theme in some of the most talked-about current television series:  the dark past of the anti-hero who has hidden himself or herself in order to blend into “mainstream” society.  Family complicates the secret life by forcing honesty with those the hero loves (or wants to love).  Think:  “Dexter”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “Suits”, and “Damages”.  The back-story inevitably unfolds: an explanation–not quite a justification–for the main character’s moral ambiguity or sociopathology.  “Hit and Miss” clearly fits into this ferociously psychological contemporary genre, engendering a visceral response to the uncomfortable but familiar rabbit hole of human relations.

 

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