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Acorn Brings 'Hidden' to the U.S. from Wales
July 16, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

It’s not the most original premise ever: The body of a teenage girl is pulled out of a river in a remote corner of Wales, and unsavory secrets slowly begin to surface.

Anyone who remembers Broadchurch, or a dozen similar police dramas from recent years, will feel immediately comfortable with Hidden, an eight-part Welsh series that comes to the U.S. Monday on the streaming service Acorn.

Besides, what matters in television is execution, so to speak, and Hidden tells its grim tale well.

Detective Inspector Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams, top) recently returned to her hometown to help her two sisters care for her ailing father, Huw (Ian Saynor).

He was the chief of police in his youth and passed his love of the job on to Cadi, who was an apparently successful detective in a big city. We say “apparently” because Cadi, like pretty much every cop on television, has more trouble figuring out the missteps in her own life than she has figuring out the misdeeds of others.

Hidden’s story begins when the body of 16-year-old Mali Pryce washes up, and John immediately notes that she has deep slashes on her wrists, consistent with being shackled.

The plot thickens when it’s discovered that Mali was reported missing five years earlier. The news of her death thereby proves understandably infuriating to her father Alun (Owen Arwyn) and her sister Lea (Lara Catrin). They want to know why the police didn’t track Mali down before she was dead, and Alun thinks he knows why: because he’s an ex-con and therefore his family isn’t worth the trouble.

There isn’t much Cadi and her partner Owen Vaughan (Sion Alun Davies) can say, but Alun’s question does become one of the many they must try to answer, particularly after there are indications Mali may not be the only victim.

Hidden doesn’t throw a lot of information at viewers right away. The first episode instead introduces us to a number of seemingly random people around town, including nurse Lowri Driscoll (Lois Meleri-Jones), who is being stalked by a psycho acquaintance named Marc, and an introverted factory worker named Dylan Harris (Rhodri Meilir, right), who seems to live at home with his very angry mother Iona (Gillian Elisa) and his young daughter Nia (Elodie Wilton).

We also meet Megan Ruddock (Gwyneth Keyworth), a university student who seems to be severely depressed.

So this isn’t the happiest band of campers anywhere, and Hidden has placed them all in a remote, rugged and quite lovely corner of Wales.

Let the sordid secrets begin to spill.

Hidden scores points for some well-turned asides along the way, including the way Owen’s eye keeps wandering to detective constable Alys Mitchell (Sarah Tempest).

Like many recent crime-driven miniseries, Hidden doesn’t startle us with any new approach to its subject or any heretofore unseen resolution. Rather, it works at telling a story through flawed characters whose ultimate mission seems compelling enough so we want to see how it turns out.

We do.

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Not wanting to be a nay sayer, but the number of "consistent with being shackled" plotlines, or sadism in general is becoming suffocating. It is a version of violence-porn. Is there no other inventive plot available to series?
I started Hidden, in UK, and found it's darkness, literal and figuratively too much for me. Damsels in distress, circa 21st century is grueling. Apologies if it lightens after several episodes, to each their own.
Jul 17, 2018   |  Reply
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