“There is nothing to winning really, That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind and no scruples whatsoever.” -Alfred Hitchcock.
The opening quote to Perpetual Grace, Ltd sets the scene for a striking new series from Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris -both previously created Patriot starring Aussie Michael Dorman. This has more Aussies in Jackie Weaver and Damon Herriman as well as Brit Ben Kingsley.
The lead goes to Jimmi Simpson, whose recent work in Westworld so impressed. Here he plays James, who drifts through New Mexico where he meets Paul (Herriman), the estranged son of Pastor Byron Brown (Kingsley) and Lillian (Weaver).
But Paul lures James into a scheme to fleece his a parents of $2m they in turn have ripped off their parishioners by masquerading as a meth addict in need of some pastoral care.
Paul proposes a ruse to get his parents to Mexico to be locked up for 2 weeks while James assumes his identity and empties their bank account.
“It would be easy. Just a couple of old people. They stole all that money. It’s not like we’re hurting them. Just get them out of the picture for a little while,” says Paul.
Brooding James, who is already wracked with guilt over a previous incident as a firefighter, goes along with the plan and is taken in by ‘Ma’ & ‘Pa’ Brown in their home. Lillian, desperate to reconnect with her absent son, soon urges her husband to both head to a Mexico where they falsely belief their son is in a prison hospital.
Whilst this could present as an arid heist drama Perpetual Grace, Ltd has far more layers to it.
Jimmi Simpson delivers much with little emoting, and his role as puppet or puppeteer is deliberately blurred in the opening chapter. Ben Kingsley is as always commanding, if menacing, beautifully matched by Jacki Weaver. Versatile Damon Herriman plays a pivotal role in the set-up, but I’m sure much more is to come.
Also featuring are Terry O’Quinn, Luis Guzmán and Chris Conrad.
Steve Conrad directs six of the ten episodes, suggesting this is a labour of love. There’s a Fargo element to this, with an array of long lens, wide and aerial shots with players set against spartan backdrops. Occasionally poetic and absurdist, sometimes it feels very Sam Shepard in style…
If you have room in your drama schedule Perpetual Grace, Ltd. is another hot candidate.
Perpetual Grace, Ltd. screens weekly from Monday on Stan.