Murder in The Arctic: “Fortitude” Is Worth Finding [review]

Written by Viki Reed

“Fortitude” is an environmentally charged show that depicts the shady dealings of a tiny Arctic town. Murder, sex and cover-ups abound. Viki Reed reviews.

aNewDomain — Just before summer began, my insomnia had me tripping through the Fios cable galaxy. The show that sucked me in? “Fortitude.” The episode description had me interested immediately — it was an impossibly breezy blurb about a virus on a remote Arctic community, a killing, a governor, a sheriff and the detective chief inspector.

This is not jiggle T&A rom-com faire: Stanley Tucci, Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gambon and Luke Treadaway comprise the top-shelf of this internationally cast, complicated, ensemble show.

Murder Is Cold

Then there’s the setting: it’s filmed in Arctic Norway, with Fortitude being the fictional town that names the drama. Everyone speaks English with the sharp accent of their home country. Who could live in a place that consists of nothing but glaciers, snow, wind and parkas? Misfits, escape artists, biologists, oil folk, loners and scattered families of workers make up the town. The stakes are high without any red herrings or shoes dropping, and help is remote.

fortitude arcticThings begin to happen to a select few residents and animals. Behaviors change, a murder occurs. Disappearances and inexplicable illnesses ensue, and then parasites creep into each episode, which is thankfully not blasted with Muzak.

These sickening problems are drizzled over the B-story: Who has authority in Fortitude? What is the nature of their power?

Woolly mammoth carcasses are found, but the discovery is withheld because the excavation is at a location where a new hotel plans to go up, even though its in the middle of nowhere. Fortitude’s female governor has been cheated on by one of her beloved cops. The residents are freaking out about everything, all while the wind whistles, nothingness and silence burn their ears and the white-out, endless blue landscape blinds them.

The character details are as unique as the multicultural cast itself; the dialogue is unpredictable and no one is just a “good guy.” It must have been about 1 a.m. when I first discovered pivot and it’s wonderful gift “Fortitude.” There was a marathon of Season One because the final episode was due. I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 4 a.m. that night.

Yes, I can’t sleep. Yes, my mind is a little warped. But the show is worth watching, trust me.

This Sky One Production also has stated an interesting mission: It wants to bring awareness to man-made environmental and wildlife destruction through the show. Not a problem except, of course, in a world where we elect people who don’t even believe global warming exists. “Fortitude” is banking on very smart people who aren’t afraid of a cause.

See the interactive website for “Fortitude,” which also lets fans review the mysteries and clues laid out over the first series. This show is absolutely binge-worthy. You’ll want to be ready for Season Two, which is already in production.

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Featured image: Screenshot courtesy pivot. All Rights Reserved.

Body image: Ponds on the Ocean by NASA via Flickr.