The dark underworld of crime, particularly when coupled with the family dynamic (Breaking Bad, Sopranos) has been a huge pull for TV audiences over the past several decades. Audiences are typically transfixed by people behaving in a way that is so far outside of ‘regular life’ that they can’t help but watch. Ice is a crime-family fueled series that first aired on The Audience Network in 2016. The series focuses on the family owners of a business known as the Green & Green Diamond. The series stars a vast array of talented movie and TV actors, including Ray Winstone and Cam Gigandet, and it recently was renewed for a second season. The series has some incredible clout going for it behind the scenes, including Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directing the pilot. Now is a perfect time to take a look back at the first season of this dark crime drama in order to prepare ourselves for the debauchery, violence, and drug-fueled adventures that are to come in 2018.
ICE Stacks Its’ Cast With Talent.
The story of Ice is, at face value, rather simple. We follow the Green Family as they traverse the seedy underworld that is brought to their doorsteps after the black sheep of the family commits the ultimate sin (in their world): he kills a dealer. Freddy, played by Jeremy Sisto (The Returned, Suburgatory) is your prototypical problem child. He routinely gets himself into trouble and his trouble quickly spreads to the rest of the Green family where big brother Jake, played by Cam Gigandet (Pandorum, Twilight) is routinely tasked with acting as the family ‘fixer’. Only, as it turns out there are some things that even a good brother can’t handle and that includes an increasingly irate and violent world of criminals. The pilot episode, which is the only episode that Mr. Fuqua directed, embodies the escalating chaos that the Green family has to face in a way that is so rarely captured on television. Los Angeles looks alive with danger and chaos and floating amidst it all is a family that thinks they can hang tough, but really isn’t prepared.
The heart and soul of the first season of Ice is all about Cam Gigandet and his progression from being the good brother to becoming the crux of all the Green & Green problems that follow. The Green family are constantly put into a position where they have to choose between running a clean life and going dirty in order to profit and, at times, literally save their lives. The first season puts a huge focus on Cam Gigandet’s character, Jake, and it is through him that the audience will either be able to enjoy the show or struggle to follow along. Jake’s character is easily the most diverse of the bunch as he tries to be a good father to his daughter while working with his screw-up brother to save the family business and keep their heads attached to their bodies.
While Gigandet is obviously the star of the show, Ray Winstone’s character Cam easily steals every scene that he is in. Winstone rumbles through each episode with a gruffness that is hard to match and even better — he is allowed to do it in his real accent. Ice also has a fascinating arc featuring Donald Sutherland as a deliciously over-the-top diamond smuggler from Sierra Leone. Judith Shekoni, as Lady Rah, plays the primary antagonist throughout much of the first season as the writers essentially wrote her as the ultimate James Bond villain in a realistic setting and it turns into a lot of fun as the show progresses.
But enough with character retrospection, let’s take a look at what actually happened through the first ten episodes of the show.
ICE Takes Family Drama to a Dark Place.
The first season of Ice operates like a junky on his or her favorite stuff. We are thrown directly into the pit of mud and despair when black sheep Freddy ends up killing a well-connected diamond dealer. Jake is immediately called to the rescue, which becomes his M.O. for the rest of the first season, and we are off to the races. The Green Family is immediately put into a position where they have to decide what is important in their lives and often that decision isn’t easy to make, as Jake no doubt can attest to. Jake faces blackmail at the hands of Lady Rah and her army of henchman and he has to decide if giving up a $25 million account is worth it to keep his daughter by his side. Fortunately for us, Jake chooses to cooperate with Lady Rah and that leads to some of the more tense sequences in the show.
Lady Rah sends Jake and Freddy over the border in order to transport a mass of illegal diamonds and things go predictably wrong. Back at home the Green family patriarch, Isaac, is killed in a squabble with Winstone’s greedy character, Cam. The ensuing will shows that the money left behind by Isaac Green is to be split into equal parts to the Green family members. Cam goes on a warpath to find his fortune while Jake continues trying to pay Lady Rah back — whom we soon find out is also being blackmailed by an even more nefarious figure. Lady Rah has something of a face turn toward the end of the season when it is revealed that she is trying to save her daughter as well. Things end up coming to a head when Ava, Jake’s ex-wife, is kidnapped by the big-bad, Peter (Donald Sutherland). Jake comes to heel and agrees to work with Peter in exchange for freeing Ava. The two meet up only to have Lady Rah storm in with her own hired guns in order to find vengeance which leaves us hanging, waiting for season two.