Secret Service Agent ETHAN BURKE (Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon, Crash, City of Ghosts) drives to the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID, searching for two missing federal agents. Ethan is the logical choice for the mission. He’s one of the best Secret Service agents in the Seattle office. He’s also the man who knew missing agent KATE HEWSON (Carla Gugino, Watchmen, Entourage) better than anyone. They were partners. They were more than that. Their relationship nearly destroyed Ethan’s marriage.
Everything changes when a truck slams into his car…and he wakes up in the Wayward Pines Hospital, with the intense and unpredictable NURSE PAM (Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Melissa Leo, The Fighter, Treme) at his bedside. It soon appears that Pam may be more interested in harming than healing. She and Ethan grow into deadly rivals, and her role in the town proves much deeper than anyone realizes.
As the mysteries within the town pile up and clash with his own version of recent events, Ethan starts to question his own sanity. He is confronted by the mysterious and charismatic DR. JENKINS (Emmy Award nominee Toby Jones, The Girl, the Harry Potter franchise, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), the psychiatrist who treats him at Wayward Pines Hospital. As he begins to meet some of the local residents, including toymaker HAROLD BALLINGER (Reed Diamond, 24, Much Ado About Nothing), Ethan forms a bond with BEVERLY (Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Juliette Lewis, Hysterical Blindness, Cape Fear), a bartender who doesn’t mince words and is as wary of Wayward Pines as he is.
Back home in Seattle, Ethan’s wife, THERESA BURKE (Shannyn Sossamon, 40 Days and 40 Nights, How to Make It in America), a former Secret Service Agent trainee, gets a call from Ethan’s boss, ADAM HASSLER (Tim Griffin, Prime Suspect). He informs her that early testing shows Ethan was never in the car that was recovered on the side of the road outside of Wayward Pines. They’re still investigating. But this isn’t enough for Theresa. Along with their teenage son, BEN (Charlie Tahan, The Harvest, Charlie St. Cloud), Theresa sets out on her own search for Ethan.
Meanwhile, Ethan is challenged at every turn by the town’s die-hard residents and especially the town’s sheriff, SHERIFF ARNOLD POPE (Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, Crash, Hustle & Flow), who takes offense at a Secret Service agent showing up on his turf and telling him what to do. Ethan believes Pope is out of his mind, and visa versa. Ethan’s continuing investigation only turns up more and more questions, and each one leads him to the most important question of all: What’s wrong with Wayward Pines? (synopsis via Ace Showbiz)
Wayward Pines, based on “Pines”, the first book in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series, has me both giddily excited and understandably cautious.
“Giddily excited” because the premise for the show is a whole lot of Twin Peaks mixed in with Stepford Wives, and that can only be a good thing, but “understandably cautious” because it comes from the rather inconsistent, and that’s being kind, hand of M. Night Shyamalan whose last few films – oh hell, everything since The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable really although I was the one of the few who quite liked Signs – have been, well, a little underwhelming.
Still there’s no denying that he possesses a fertile, endlessly limitless imagination and a genius for embedding within those ideas gasp-inducing narrative twists and turns aplenty, and if he can execute his story for Wayward Pines in a manner befitting such an intriguing premise then we can truly have a superlative show on our hands.
Giving cause for hope that it will be a sterling piece of television is the fact that the series was created and written by Chad Hodge who has some quirky TV runs on the board thanks to his blink-and-you-missed-it show The Playboy Club.
Add to that the fact that Shyamalan only directed a few of the episodes and there’s a very good chance that this “event” series – the new term for “mini-series” which I am guessing the powers-that-be see as a hopelessly outdated term.
So let’s drink out of that glass half full and believe the show will one not only worth watching but every bit as iconic and gripping as Twin Peaks (OK maybe that’s taking things a little too far but hey I’m on an optimistic roll alright?).
Wayward Pines premieres in 125 countries on May 14, 2015.