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Giancarlo Esposito Can’t Keep Overcrowded, Rushed Parish on the Road | TV/Streaming


Giancarlo Esposito Can’t Keep Overcrowded, Rushed Parish on the Road | TV/Streaming


Esposito plays Gracian “Gray” Parish, a man with a dark past who has left most of it behind to run a car service in New Orleans. His life has already started to unwind when we meet him, after the shooting death of his son, leading to problems at work and home. The business is struggling, and his daughter Makayla (Arica Himmel) is pulling away from Gray and her mother Rose (Paula Malcomson). Rose is convinced they’re going to have to sell their expensive home, and Gray can’t stomach the thought of not only leaving behind all that he’s worked for but the only place that will hold memories of his lost child. That’s why he takes a job. It will be an easy driving gig for a break-in at a lawyer’s office. What could go wrong?

Of course, everything goes wrong, and Parish finds himself entangled in the business of a family of Zimbabwean gangsters led by a power player who goes by The Horse (Zackary Momoh) and his sister Shamiso (a charismatic Bonnie Mbuli). There’s drama in the Tongai family, including a power struggle with The Horse’s brother Zenzo (Ivan Mbakop), but too much of this material is written in broad, clichéd dialogue that allows the show to sink every time it pulls away from its titular character.

There are more distractions. Bradley Whitford pops up to gnaw on some scenery with a vague Southern accent as Anton, a crime magnate with a connection to Gray’s dark past. Skeet Ulrich slinks around the periphery as an old friend of Gray’s who likely has an equal ledger of getting him into and out of trouble. Amanda Brugel gets a mysterious tough-talking savior role as Sister Anne, a potential lifeline for Gray when things go wrong.

Given its based on a show called “The Driver” and set in a world of high criminal stakes, one would hope that “Parish” was at least thick with action, but that’s not exactly true. There are big developments at the end of episodes like shootouts that shift allegiances, but there’s surprisingly little actual high stakes tension in this show. Part of the problem is the many plot threads fighting for air from Gray’s grief to the Tongai’s human-trafficking operation to political games being played by Anton.

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