River is a 2015 television series from Britain. The show stars Stellan Skarsgard as Inspector John River. When the series begins, we’re introduced to River and his long-time partner, Jackie ‘Stevie’ Stevenson (Nicola Walker). The pair are on the hunt for a vehicle, which they’re familiar with. After tracking the vehicle, River chases Christopher Riley (Josef Altin) into an apartment building, with Stevie close behind. River kicks in the door and attempts to apprehend Christopher. He pursues him to the balcony, where Christopher leaps over in a desperate attempt to escape.
Christopher falls to his death. Initially, River seems like a traditional cop show. However, Stevie passes by the camera and we see a bullet wound to the back of her head. After we learn the truth about River and Stevie, River becomes an original, bleak experience. The paranormal or imaginary friend has been done in countless shows, but few can parallel the success of Stevie and John River. The connection between Stellan Skarsgard and Nicola Walker feels genuine and sets an incredibly realistic, albeit bizarre, premises. Of course, Stevie isn’t the only deceased individual, who speaks with River. He also chats with Thomas Cream (Eddie Marsan) and the newly deceased Christopher.
River never attempts to hide his behavior and this becomes a problem. He is eventually forced to meet with a shrink, Rosa Fallows (Georgina Rich), so he can overcome his downfalls. As the series begins to unfold, we start to see that nothing is as it seems. Each episode in the 6 piece saga unveils a key piece of the puzzle not only in Stevie’s murder, but also River’s internal struggle. The series does grind slowly, but each scene is important and watching until the end is thoroughly rewarding. River is unlike anything else on television, despite following some cliches. The interactions between River and his imaginary friends deliver laughs, tears and a finale, which will make you want to get up and dance.
All in all, River is truly fabulous. The acting is great and the concept is undeniably fascinating. It is a slow burn, but it pays off dividends in the end. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen a better season finale. And yes, I am saying season finale, since the series could easily be carried on. Of course, whether or not River will see a Season 2 will not matter. The first season was some of the best television of 2015 and the finale will stick with viewers forever. A truly magnificent series. A 9 out of 10 is deserved.