When you look back on 2017, you will probably remember it fondly as the year Elisabeth Moss traumatised you via the medium of television, while also making you think.
After captivating us in The Handmaids Tale (you can still watch it on SBS On Demand if you happened to miss that boat) Moss has stepped back into the shoes of Detective Robin Griffin in Top of the Lake: China Girl, the follow-up to Jane Campion’s chilling yet brilliant 2013 miniseries, Top of the Lake.
The first time we encountered Robin she was investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl in the small and secretive New Zealand community of Lake Top, while also dealing with her mother’s cancer diagnosis and returning to the scene of her brutal teenage trauma.
China Girl takes place a few years after the original series and this time around the wild beauty of rural New Zealand has been switched out for the gritty world of inner city Sydney.
Listen to The Binge host Laura Brodnik explain why you must watch Top of the Lake: China Girl.
Robin is looking to once again escape her past and throw herself back into her work, so of course she is first on the scene when an old suitcase washes up on Bondi Beach, with just a few strands of long dark hair trailing from it’s broken zip, eluding to the body of the young dead Asian woman who has been jammed inside.
As Robin begins to piece together the young woman’s identity and cause of death, she is also navigating the tricky practice of meeting her adopted birth daughter for the first time.
Her daughter Mary (played by Alice Englert, real life daughter of Jane Campion) is going through a very excelled version of teenage angst and rebellion, becoming engaged to a 40-year-old man and blatantly disregarding her parents’ wishes. Mostly due to the fact that her adopted mother Julia (Nicole Kidman) has left her husband and entered into a same-sex relationship with a teacher from Mary’s school.