TV review: Hit & Miss

From the July 5, 2012 edition

DirecTV brings us a very weird and interesting tale in a reboot of British mini-series “Hit & Miss,” starring Chloe Sevigny as a transgender hitman. This sounds like a shameless shock-and-awe premise, but creator Paul Abbott — who also created “Shameless” and the awesome British mini-series “State of Play” (unrelated to the crappy Ben Affleck movie) — has the skill to take the extreme and temper it with reality.

While “Hit & Miss” opens with Sevigny’s character, Mia, carrying out a ruthless assassination and then taking a shower — which feels like an excuse for a money shot of Sevigny wearing a prosthetic penis — there’s tact to the whole affair. We quickly learn who and what Mia is before a word is spoken.

“Hit & Miss” quickly jumps into a bigger twist: It turns out Mia fathered a son, Ryan (Jorden Bennie), with a former girlfriend before he chose to dress and act as a woman. Making matters more difficult is the fact that Ryan’s mother just died from cancer, leaving Mia the guardian of Ryan and his three half-siblings.

It’s interesting how Mia moves into the role of both mother and father for the kids. “Hit & Miss” excels in these familial plots. Mia is a tender mother and a father who can teach deadly self-defense techniques. When the children first witness violence at Mia’s hands, it’s both endearing and frightening to them.

While Mia supports her newfound family by continuing her murderous career, other more nefarious plots play out in the periphery. Here’s where I expect the tension to mount and eventually peak.

I like “Hit & Miss” for its ability to play against expectations, but a lot rests on Sevigny’s shoulders. She doesn’t quite pull it all off — and her British accent is pretty bad — but it is a solid performance (and mini-series) nonetheless.