October 2, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Ten Days In the Valley”


TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY:  Sunday 10PM on ABC – Potential DVR Alert

TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY is very ABC, in a good way.  Created by Tassie Cameron, who co-created the network’s longtime summer hit Rookie Blue, it’s a purportedly closed-end mystery soap, about a successful TV-producer mother whose 8-year old daughter goes missing.  Missing and murdered children are a staple at ABC (Secrets and Lies, American Crime, Somewhere Between, The Family), but at least in its opening hour, Valley seems to be a cut above the norm.

Partly that’s because Kyra Sedgwick is playing the distraught mother, Jane Sadler, and after 7 years of polite procedural life on The Closer, she’s seemingly out to remind everyone what a big talent she is.  Jane doesn’t just have the obvious fear and worry that comes with a missing child; she was a collection of nerve endings already, trying to juggle single parenthood with the demands of running a hit series, and staying awake for rewrites with the help of wine and cocaine.  She’s also surrounded by people who may be lying to her, not just her shady ex-husband Pete (Kick Gurry), but assistant Casey (Emily Kinney), sister Ali (Erika Christensen), and the staff of her series.  Then there’s the odd interplay between real-life events and her fictional series, some of which may be explained by her previous career as a documentarian, but perhaps not all.

Sedgwick puts on quite a show, desperate and angry, crisply professional and out of control, and although she dominates the opening hour, she’s surrounded by good actors, also including Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the lead detective on the case.  TV shows-within-TV shows are often silly, but Cameron keeps the behind-the scenes material fairly realistic, with crises caused by things like shooting permits that fall through at the last minute, and music drops that have to be approved at all hours.  Despite the title and setting, Valley was mostly shot in Canada, because tax breaks, but director Carl Franklin does a good job of simulating an LA physicality while pushing the pace forward and letting Sedgwick do her thing.

It’s easy to imagine Ten Days In the Valley going melodramatically off the rails as its reveals mount up and the hysteria accelerates, but it’s off to an engrossing start, and if nothing else, Sedgwick will be worth watching.  Its ratings may be another story, what with the disaster area of ABC’s Sunday, but if the series is genuinely meant to be 10 hours and out, that won’t matter much.  It’s one of the brighter spots of the new broadcast season thus far.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."