TV Review | Rabbit Hole (2023)
Kiefer Sutherland stars in the action-packed series Rabbit Hole on Paramount+. But is it gripping entertainment or should it vanish down the hole without a trace?
Paramount+ has quite the roster of new, upcoming original entertainment. One of which is the series Rabbit Hole. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, the show is an interesting piece of adult action drama. Think of Mission: Impossible but more for adults than the whole family. The series contains eight episodes and hits the streaming service on March 26th in the U.S. and Canada, and the following day in the UK, Australia, Latin America, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France. But is the series a great piece of entertainment or is it destined to vanish down the proverbial hole, without a trace?
In RABBIT HOLE, John Weir (Kiefer Sutherland), a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage, is framed for murder by powerful forces who have the ability to influence and control populations.
In addition to Sutherland, RABBIT HOLE features a dynamic cast including Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) as Dr. Ben Wilson, Meta Golding (“Empire”) as Hailey Winton, Enid Graham (“Mare of Easttown”) as Josephine “Jo” Madi, Rob Yang (“Succession”) as Edward Homm, Walt Klink (“The English”) as The Intern and Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”) as Valence.
If you’re in the mood for a twisting, gripping espionage thriller that will keep you guessing, and on your toes from the start, then look no further. The four episodes that I was given to watch had me hooked from the start. The story is confusing to start with but like an onion, the more layers are removed, the more is revealed. The more you think you know, the more is revealed that throws you off. and at no time are you sure who is a friend and who is a foe.
When you think you know who is who, and what side they are on, the series throws a spanner in the works and leaves the viewer breathless. You are never comfortable throughout the proceedings. Nobody is who or what they seem. It leaves you guessing as to what will happen or be revealed next while pulling the rug out from under your feet. I can say hardly anything about what happens during the first four episodes as even the smallest piece of information I reveal is a spoiler.
Kiefer Sutherland is in top form here. As John Weir, we feel resentment towards him from the start. Believe me, when we meet him for the first time, we can see he isn’t a nice person. At all. His manner, his out-of-control ego, and his chauvinism make us hate him to begin with. But as the story unfolds, we start to feel an affinity towards him. He has a tragic backstory (don’t they all?), but it doesn’t affect him too much. As we follow his journey, we get to see inside his head, his inner thoughts. What happens to him during the first episode, he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know where it comes from or why. This, however, is the first layer of the onion of his character. And as we progress, several more are revealed.
Meta Golding as Hailey Winton is another standout. We are never sure exactly who or what Hailey is. Could she be innocent or is she playing a role, manipulating John from the start? I’ll say this: no one is as innocent as they seem. Every character we meet has a secret past that they keep hidden, a secret that is a flaw in their character. Charles Dance as Dr. Ben Wilson is another character we meet that has more to him than meets the eye. Dance gives a complex but winning performance as Wilson, one that makes the show even more enjoyable.
Enid Graham as Josephine “Jo” Madi, Rob Yang as Edward Homm, Walt Klink as The Intern, and Jason Butler Harner as Valence are superb additions to the cast. These four round out the main characters we will follow during the opening episodes. Of them all, Walt Klink as The Intern (that’s all we know him as) is an enigma. Again, he seems to be innocent, childlike in a way. But can he be faking it?
Enid Graham as Jo Madi is an adversary to Weir, investigating him with a desire to jail him for financial crimes. But is she truly on the right side of the law? Jason Butler Harner as Valence is an old friend of John’s and his former business partner. But can he be trusted? Rob Yang as Homm is an investigator. But is he as straight as he should be? All these questions will be answered in time.
WRITING AND DIRECTING
The pairing of John Requa & Glenn Ficarra as creators, the writers, and the directors of the first episode have struck gold. They have created a spy thriller that is hugely enjoyable. Forget Mission: Impossible (no rubber masks or daring stunts here), what they have created is an espionage series that is grounded, for the most part in reality. What we see here is all too frighteningly real. We can believe that where the series goes could actually happen, or has happened in the world today.
This isn’t for the whole family, there is plenty of strong language and violent scenes that tip the show firmly into R-rated territory with ease. But every utterance of foul language or scene of violence or death feels justified in the context of what we are given. The show is filmed in Canada, and the pair make the country look as beautiful as can be. The locations are gloriously colorful and the framing of the various shots is wonderful. The show looks as if every cent spent on it is on the screen for us to marvel at.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Sutherland serves as executive producer for RABBIT HOLE, alongside writer-directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“This Is Us,” “WeCrashed”), Charlie Gogolak (“The Sinner,” “WeCrashed”), Suzan Bymel (“Designated Survivor”) and Hunt Baldwin (“Longmire,” “The Closer”).
If you are in the mood for entertainment that will make you think, listen to every word, and get invested in, look no further than Rabbit Hole. The show is a gripping, thought-provoking, action-packed success. Sutherland has never been better here. In fact, he tops his performances in 24 without breaking a sweat. The series is similar to that show in many ways but has the foresight to stand proud on its own two feet. It is a shame that it will only run for eight episodes. But it has enough going for it to have us coming back to watch it again and again.
John Requa & Glenn Ficarra have done the impossible. They have created something that makes a certain spy movie franchise look like child’s play. Instead of death-defying stunts, chase scenes, and the like, they have created something that is perfect for adults only. It is the type of entertainment for parents to sit down with once the children are in bed, or to cuddle up with together to binge-watch on the sofa. Far from heading down into the earth, never to be seen or heard from again, Rabbit Hole is an adventure that we will all enjoy taking while deciding to come back for more.
Rabbit Hole will premiere on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada on Sunday, March 26th, and in the UK, Australia, Latin America, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France on Monday, March 27th.
Feel the Force on Social Media.
Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!