Must Watch TV

While the rest of America was watching the Super Bowl, I was reading Florence King and then binge-watching Banshee, a Cinemax original series.

For the uninitiated, Banshee is the improbable tale of a paroled felon who – through a violent deus ex machina – assumes the identity of a small town (the fictitious Banshee, Pennsylvania) sheriff in Amish country as a pretext to reuniting with his former girlfriend, the daughter of a Russian mobster, now living under an assumed identity married to Banshee’s district attorney.

The acting and plot are campy, perhaps deliberately. More problematic – at least to native Pennsylvanians – are two jarring narrative gaffes.

Our protagonist, the sheriff – with the help of a transgender cybercriminal – successfully passed himself off as a candidate hired sight-unseen from Oregon. In Pennsylvania, police chiefs are hired by municipal councils but sheriffs are elected. Having previously hired a police chief, I have to apply no small effort in suspending disbelief at the premise of hiring a top cop over the phone. But sheriff? Couldn’t an intern at Cinemax have checked wikipedia?

Also figuring in the plot line is an Indian tribe along with its obligatory tribal casino. There are exactly zero Indian reservations in Pennsylvania, a fact that would have taken the lazy producers of this show about 30 seconds to verify from a Google search.

Plot holes and campiness aside, you can’t go wrong with a storyline about an ex-con pretending to be sheriff in Amish country, bedding every pretty girl in sight while trying to rekindle a lost love, and simultaneously attempting to hide from a vengeful Russian criminal who goes by the name of Rabbit.

Much violence and graphic sexytime, so not appropriate for kids or your bible study group. Local connection: the third season was filmed in and around Pittsburgh during which the cast stayed at the Cork Factory in the strip district.

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