Bird on a wire

Published November 12, 2022

A still from the TV show Black Bird featuring Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser sitting opposite each other at a table in prison

The miniseries Black Bird starring Taron Egerton was released back in August and although I heard all the positive reviews and expected it was going to be a good watch, it took a while to get round to it. I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned it but there’s a LOT of good TV out there at the moment, it’s hard to know what to prioritise! But anyway, I’ve finally raced through this series and what a wonder it is to behold.

The story is haunting in so many ways. The fact that a serial killer who confessed to murders and shows no remorse, not even an understanding of what he’s done, could be let loose on appeal like that is terrifying. The sheer scale of the crimes before being caught on the flimsiest one is a worry.

I’m not sure about the plan to send in an undercover prisoner to get information from him, it feels so out there as a concept and then would it even be admissable? The law is so complex with so many loopholes. But that’s what happened and we got to see Taron as Jimmy Keene, transferring into the maximum security prison, making plenty of enemies, and struggling under the weight of befriending a truly disturbing character. Ultimately the plan worked and they got some details they needed, if not the exact info they were looking for.

So it’s a great story, the pacing of it is perfect, and I like how we dip between perspectives - the worried father, the murdered girl, the cop trying to do the right thing, the FBI agent on the hook for the whole thing. But what really makes it next level is the acting. Everyone is on absolutely stellar form in this, particularly Taron and Paul Walter Hauser. These performances just suck you in and don’t let go so that it’s only at the end of an episode you remember to breathe and that there’s a real world around you.

It’s so good and so recommended, but not at all a comfortable watch.

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