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Watch Hilary Swank in a classy crime drama

Watch Hilary Swank in a classy crime drama

The two-time Oscar winner plays a reporter rebuilding her reputation in the far north in Alaska Daily, starting this week on Alibi

By Chris Miller, Feature Writer

She’s a hard-nosed reporter. A truth seeker. A fearless investigator. A thick-skinned New Yorker. But when Eileen Fitzgerald inadvertently publishes dubious evidence from an unreliable source, it’s the final straw for her editor. She’s out of a job and, having burned bridges left, right and centre, she seems to have hit a career dead end.

 

What’s a hard-nosed reporter to do? Well, thanks to an old colleague offering her a job, Eileen – played by double Oscar winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) – is to move to Alaska. To a New Yorker like Eileen, it seems like the ends of the Earth, an impression that doesn’t change when she arrives in the chilly northern state. But there’s a story.

 


Indigenous women are going missing, and the police and the local government aren’t interested in doing anything about it. It’s been left to Roz Friendly (Grace Dove, The Revenant) of the Daily Alaskan newspaper to investigate the case, and editor Stanley Kornik (Jeff Perry, Scandal) thinks teaming her up with the tenacious Eileen is the best way to force a breakthrough in the story.

 

Eileen and Roz inevitably rub each other up the wrong way at first but as their partnership develops and they begin to work in tandem, truths are revealed – and not just about the missing women.

 

Alaska Daily’s creator Tom McCarthy has shown his passion for the importance of serious, independent journalism on screen before: he’s the co-writer and director of the Oscar-winning Spotlight, about the Boston Globe investigations team who exposed the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic church. (He also played the fictional managing editor of the real Baltimore Sun in The Wire, in which former journo turned TV legend David Simon made clear his feelings about the state of modern newspapers.)

 

The case in Alaska Daily isn’t a real one, but the series is based on the non-fiction book Lawless: Sexual Violence In Alaska by Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News, who is a producer on the show. While Alaska Daily is a crime thriller with a fascinating, shocking mystery at its heart, it’s also a drama that highlights the importance of journalistic investigation in the face of institutional indifference, especially in cases involving violence to minorities and the powerless.

 


And, of course, McCarthy is not the show’s only Academy Award winner. Hilary Swank won the Best Actress Oscar for her first major movie role (if you don’t count The Next Karate Kid) in Boys Don’t Cry, the story of a young transgender man’s struggle to be accepted, and followed it up with another in Clint Eastwood’s emotional boxing drama Million Dollar Baby. She’s mesmerising on screen, and it’s a pleasure to watch her in the complex character of the abrasive but principled and fearless Eileen.

 

And Swank isn’t the only Oscar winner to grace our TVs. While the accepted order used to be that small-screen stars went on to movie fame, recently there’s been some traffic the other way, as classy TV projects like this attract top-notch actors. Here are some of the Academy Award recipients you can see in TV roles.

 

When does Alaska Daily start on TV?

Alaska Daily begins on Wednesday 5 June at 9pm on Alibi HD (CH 114), when all 11 episodes will be available in On Demand.

 

Oscar winners on your telly

Matthew McConaughey


Oscar: Best Actor for his role as an HIV-positive drug smuggler in Dallas Buyers Club.

TV roles: After his Oscar win, McConaughey continued his McConnaissance with one of his signature performances as Rust Cohle in the first season of True Detective (On Demand). Time is a circle, man. Later he lent his voice to the main character in bizarro animation Agent Elvis (Apps > Netflix).

 

Nicole Kidman


Oscar: Best Actress for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours.

TV roles: More than any other Oscar winner, Kidman has embraced the possibilities offered by TV, with roles including a high-ranking CIA official in Lioness (Paramount+), a wellness guru in Nine Perfect Strangers (Apps > Prime), a highly strung mother in Top Of The Lake (On Demand) and a bored housewife caught up in a tragic chain of events in this year’s Expats (Apps > Prime).

 

Jamie Foxx


Oscar: Best Actor for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biopic Ray.

TV roles: Standup, movie actor, singer and Ed Sheeran-discoverer, Foxx went back to his comedy roots when he co-created and starred in the sitcom Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! (Apps > Netflix), in which he played the unprepared single father of two teenage girls.

 

Emma Stone


Oscar: Like Swank, a two-time Best Actress winner: Stone took home the statues for her aspiring actor in La La Land and scientist’s creation Bella Baxter in Poor Things.

TV roles: After winning for a film that’s a tribute to Hollywood classics, Stone took a complete left turn by starring in Maniac (Apps > Netflix), a black comedy about the effects of mind-altering drugs, and more recently The Curse (Paramount+), an offbeat satire about a celebrity couple who find themselves suffering from some bad mojo.

 

Julianne Moore


Oscar: Best Actress for an indelible performance in dementia drama Still Alice.

TV roles: Moore absolutely ate up the screen in this year’s Mary & George (On Demand) as a scheming noblewoman attempting to win power and wealth by getting her son to seduce King James I and VI.

 

Anna Paquin


Oscar: The second youngest winner ever, she took Best Supporting Actress for psychodrama The Piano aged just 11.

TV roles: Canadian-born, New Zealand-raised Paquin followed histrionic vampire drama True Blood with the British comedy-drama Flack (On Demand), about a hotshot PR executive cleaning up the mess made by her irritatingly irresponsible clients, on which she was also executive producer.

 

Helen Mirren


Oscar: Best Actress for playing Elizabeth II amid a Diana-induced royal crisis in The Queen.

TV roles: Having risen to fame with a brilliant TV role in ITV police drama Prime Suspect, Mirren returned to the small screen to play another queen in Catherine The Great and then for the Yellowstone prequel series 1923 (Paramount+) as the Dutton family matriarch Cara, alongside fellow movie legend Harrison Ford.

 

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Image Credit: Alaska Daily ©