Harry opens on a melancholy DS Harry Anglesea (Knightley) who arrives back in Auckland from bereavement leave in Samoa to try and solve a brutal and pointless homicide committed by a young Samoan high on "P" - a drug currently infesting the city streets. Harry's return comes with a mask of denial: he's emotionally blocked by his wife Sina's unexpected death and hasn't a clue how to properly deal with it, or with his grieving teenage daughter, Mele (Kamuhemu), who needs his affection more than ever and misguidedly sees her father as "the cavalry coming to the rescue."
Despite insisting to the world that all is well, Sina's death takes such a toll on Harry, it forces him into a downwards spiral of drinking, sleepless nights and ever-increasing anger – an anger which will threaten the closest relationships around him. Forced by police policy to undergo regular counselling sessions, Harry meets another obstacle in the form of psychiatrist, Dr. Boucher (Theresa Healey), who sees through Harry's carefully constructed façade and refuses him a full operational clearance.
Compounding his troubles is the pressure at work. The pursuit of the murderers unexpectedly leads Harry and the Major Crime team to the door of a vicious motorcycle gang about to undertake the biggest importation of Contact NT (the precursor for making P) the city has ever seen. The certainties in Harry's world further erode when Professional Standards aggressively pursues him for police brutality – and at the same time the growing tension between father and daughter becomes too much. When Mele provokes him one time too many, Harry snaps, only to discover the consequences of his anger may become the ultimate tragedy in his life.
'Harry' is a police procedural produced in New Zealand. Offering up a gritty, but familiar, look at a detective with skeletons in his closet and a whole lot of introspection to perform.
DS Harry Anglesea (Oscar Kightley), a native of Samoa, has just returned from saying goodbye to his wife. The death of his wife is a central part of the story, and the situation surround her death is slowly revealed as the story plays out.
Harry is racked with an inner struggle that all lone-wolf detectives seem to suffer from. The psychologist provided by the police department attempts to pry any information out of Harry in order to find out his mental state, but he's a stone wall. His wife's suspicious death is clearly affecting him, but he doesn't want to let it interfere with his work.
We've all seen it before, the too-tough law man who can't bring himself to confront his feelings. Harry is no different, although it's nice seeing someone of Pacific Islander descent take on the role. Kightley is great as Harry, even if the story surrounding him is one that we all feel acquainted with.
DSS Jim Stockton (Sam Neill) is Harry's immediate supervisor. If Harry needs a shoulder to cry on he's surely not going to find it here. Stockton is a hard man and expects Harry to get right back to work after his loss. Harry welcomes the bluntness, since he doesn't want to discuss his wife either.
Harry has been tasked with tracking down a team of bank robbers who most recently murdered a bank teller during a heist. There's also a storyline about a new strain of meth going around and that these bank robbers might be high on it.
The worry becomes that if this new drug spreads the police force could be facing an unprecedented crime wave. The drug apparently makes people even more violent, and Harry needs to stop the drug from finding its way to the populace before it's too late.
As a six-part miniseries 'Harry' is allowed to slowly build over time, but not overstay its welcome. As far as police procedurals go it's one of the better ones. Kightley's performance really sells Harry as a character that we care about and root for. Sure, this character has been reheated again and again in various cop dramas, but there's a certain quality to Kightley's acting that makes Harry feel a little more unique than the rest.
I'm not saying that 'Harry' is completely original, it is not. It's just that it does a lot of little things well. It doesn't rush its story. It allows its title character to grow and come to grips with the ghosts that haunt his wellbeing. It also contains some exciting detective work.
This is one of those shows you've likely never heard of, but after you watch it you might find yourself wondering why it didn't get more buzz.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a two-disc set that comes with a couple 50GB Blu-rays. They're packaged in a standard keepcase that includes a slipcover.
Acorn Media has provided a stable 1080p video presentation of 'Harry.' This is a dimly-lit show, signifying its gritty motif, and the presentation does its best with the low light surroundings.
Shot digitally, there are some noticeable drawbacks. Black areas are a little flat. Lower light scenes lack some depth. It's not overtly distracting, but it's there all the same. Fine detail varies from striking to soft. It all depends on the lighting and scene really, but clarity wavers.
Colors are purposefully muted. This isn't a colorful show. It tends toward earth tones, which are presented nicely. Whenever the sun is out those scenes have the best detail, contrast, and color pop. Some noise is visible at times. Some aliasing and banding can also be seen infrequently. These are the kinds of issues you might expect with a lower budget TV show and its Blu-ray release. No cause for alarm.
'Harry' has been issued a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track. It's a barebones audio mix that simply provides dialogue and sound effects. The heavy accents provide a bit of a challenge when it comes to hearing everything clearly, although I'm certain that most of the dialogue comes out of the speakers as clear as possible.
There's a little directionality with the stereo track, depending on where the voices are coming in relation to where the person is on screen. Not much else to really say. It's a stereo mix that provides, for the most part, clear dialogue.
Photo Gallery – The lone special feature is a photo gallery contained on the second disc.
'Harry' is somewhat compelling even though, on its surface, it appears to be a detective story that we've seen a thousand times. It's Kightley's performance that makes it really worth watching. With competent video and audio this one is worth a look if you're trying to find a gripping police story from another country.