Possible spoilers ahead!
I have been a fan of Steve Zahn since I saw him in 1996’s “That Thing You Do.” But I have to admit I had a hard time picturing him as the leading man on the new ABC show “The Crossing.” In the drama, Zahn plays a small town sheriff named Jude Ellis. He’s only been on the job for a few weeks, but he suddenly finds himself dealing with an unusual crisis when hundreds of bodies wash up on a local beach. 47 of them however, survive, and that’s where the mystery starts.
The local authorities don’t find any signs of a crashed airliner or of a sunken ship that would explain where all these people came from. But soon enough the mysterious arrivals inform the sheriff that they are refugees not from some other place but some other time. They have come from an America 180 years from now, hoping to escape a great war and the “genetic overlords” that caused it.
However, before Zahn can get more answers from the survivors, his involvement om the case is curtailed by a higher authority in the form of Sandrine Holt’s Homeland Security agent Emma Ren.They don’t see eye to eye on much, but it’s clear from the start that both of them want to help the survivors however they can. But neither knows that the mystery of the 47 goes deeper than either of them could have imagined.
As I mentioned at the start, I’m a Steve Zahn fan, but I wasn’t sure he could pull off the role of the sheriff. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Zahn was terrific in the part, and he looks better than ever. This isn’t the pudgy guy from “Saving Silverman” or the goofball from “Happy, Texas.” This Steve Zahn is in shape, and he’s a much better dramatic actor than I would have thought.
Also good in the series is Sandrine Holt as Homeland Security agent Emma Ren. Instead of going the usual route of a tough as nails agent that always goes by the books, “The Crossing” gives agent Ren a nice amount of heart. Yeah, she has bosses she needs to answer to. But it was nice to see that she does want to help these people. Holt and Zahn play well off each other, so I suspect the rest of the season may explore that relationship.
The rest of the cast included Rick Gomez as Ellis’ deputy, and Simone Kessell as a time traveler out on her own looking for her daughter. All the characters are appealing enough that I wanted to know more about them, especially Simone Kessell. The actors all do a good job selling the dialogue as the show’s main plot is explained from various angles.
All in all, I thought the pilot to “The Crossing” was well acted, well paced, and full of surprises. I like he premise of the show, and everything looked really good for a network show. Hopefully, ABC will give the series time to build and audience as the events unfold and build towards something big.
“The Crossing” score: B+