The film 2 Days in the Valley (1996) is one of my favorite films from way back, so as ridiculous as it might sound I had to see what this new scripted drama from ABC Ten Days in the Valley was all about. While I wanted to make sure they were not trying to turn a film I love into a TV show maybe that would have actually helped make this show better.
Jane Sadler (The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick) is a former documentary filmmaker who now is a writer and Executive Producer of a fictional police TV show. One night, as she is lying in bed with her young daughter Lake (Abigail Pniowsky), she gets a phone call from her colleague Henry Vega (Currie Graham) to do some emergency scriptwriting to fix a scene. She tells Henry that she already took an Ambien but he just makes a joke about how that will just help her write even better. So as much she doesn't want to, Jane gets up and goes to "the shed" which is her workplace/office outside of her house. She takes the baby monitor with her and after pouring herself some wine she begins to work on the scene. Anybody else think that drinking wine after taking pills is a bad idea? It is raining hard outside and at some point in the night, Jane falls asleep-shocking.
She wakes up very lethargic and decides to call a guy who seems to routinely hook her up drugs and brings her some cocaine over. So now we have a mother who is on pills, wine, and coke. Obviously, Jane is not the succession of Carol Brady here.
Eventually, she finishes her writing and when she heads back to go into her house she notices the sliding door she had left open is locked. Panic-stricken that she can't get in, she breaks the glass window and furiously rushes inside. Upon entering she immediately goes to her bedroom, screaming her daughter's name, but when she flicks on the light the room is empty.
Jane calls her sister Ali (Parenthood's Erika Christensen) to come over and help her deal with the situation because she is a frantic mess and is going on about how her ex (and Lake's father) Pete (Kick Gurry) is the one that took her daughter. Against Jane's wishes, Ali calls the police who come over in the morning to try and sort it all out. It is already a very big red flag that Jane doesn't want the police involved. The cops are led by a man from the Robbery Homicide division named John Bird (Lost's Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who states that they were called in because the local guys were "tied up." Jane explains to them that she feels it was Pete because apparently, he has violated their custody agreement before. While Bird says they will pay him a visit, Jane goes to work on the lot to address her duties on the TV show.
Ten Days in Valley does a good job of covering all the bases to set up the series for the investigation on where Lake is and who abducted her. They introduce many characters in Jane's life so the potential for possible suspects to keep us guessing is plentiful. Pete has a past of substance abuse, her nanny Beatriz (Marisol Ramirez) who seems loyal is definitely up to something shady, and she has a real life officer named Gus (Francois Battiste) that is not happy with her using his past cases he told her about for stories on her show. They move the story at a good rate as we constantly jump from Jane's life at work and home to checking in on the various people in her life that could be suspects.
The problem with Ten Days in the Valley is it's about a little girl that gets kidnapped and you can't help but wonder if maybe the kid is better off away from Jane. Hey, it's a fictional show so I can say that! Sedgwick does an excellent job of portraying a mother who is very motivated and dedicated to her career but too bad she doesn't seem to show the same attention for her daughter. Not only is she so negligent to mix pills and booze in the middle of the night while Lake is sleeping inside, but her prioritizing her job while her daughter is missing is disturbing. She has no problem leaving her house in the morning with her daughter missing to go to work. She just ASSUMES Pete has taken their daughter and she'll just conveniently get her back at the end of the day like a rental car. What kind of mother isn't worried about their child's whereabouts?! As the episode progresses I just kept feeling more resentment towards Jane than sympathy. And that's a problem.
Ten Days in the Valley has done a good job of connecting with my soft spot with the child abduction story because I am very curious to see who the guilty party is and why they are doing this. Plus with a likable supporting cast of Christensen, Agbaje, Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show) I am dealing with any of them could also be behind this and I would be seriously bummed out! I only hope they plan on turning Jane into more of a redeeming character because otherwise, I might just keep siding with the kidnappers on this ABC series.