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Briarpatch: When does it start? Who are in the cast? How to watch Rosario Dawson’s stylish crime drama
The slick detective series starts with a murder mystery, but takes a surprising journey across its 10 episodes.
Based on Ross Thomas’s 1984 novel, Briarpatch is a slick, stylish and surprising new detective series with Rosario Dawson (Sin City, The Mandalorian) taking on the lead role of Allegra Dill.
The series begins with a classic murder mystery premise as Allegra returns to her quirky hometown San Banifacio following the death of her sister.
However, this is far from your usual detective show and Allegra soon has far more to concern her time than just a search for a killer as she finds herself in an all-consuming battle with her hometown.
Here is everything you need to know about the enthralling new series, including the stunning cast and what you can get up to with a real tiger in Albuquerque.
What is Briarpatch?
“Briarpatch starts off as a murder mystery, but very quickly it becomes something completely different,” explains Alan Cumming, who plays evil arms dealer Clyde Brattle in the series.
“Like in all of these little American towns, there’s a lot going on behind the shutters – and that’s what we delve into. It’s got this otherworldly quality to it. It’s bold and it’s very different.”
On the themes of the show, Rosario Dawson said: “I wouldn't necessarily look at Briarpatch as a revenge story. There will definitely be aspects of revenge that come up as the story unfolds, but this is really a murder mystery.
“For my character, the show looks at the armour she's put on in life to survive coming from an incredibly impoverished background and a lot of childhood trauma. She's clawed success out of a lot of really trying situations and now she's put to her most incredible test, which involves dealing with the murder of her sister.”
Explaining the differences between the original book and TV series, creator Andy Greenwald said: “When it comes to the border town aspect of the show, that came down to wanting to update the story. The idea of setting a show in a place where eyes are turned right now felt really exciting to me.
“Also, I wanted to confound some people's expectations about what a border town story could or should be.”
The writer and showrunner also said that it was a deliberate decision to not make the series about “dead women” and instead focus on the incredible characters played by Rosario Dawson and Kim Dickens (Fear the Walking Dead, Deadwood).
“For me, one of the joys of genre is that these people show up wearing armour. Rosario Dawson is literally in this incredible power suit and Kim Dickens has her uniform,” he said.
“Over the course of 10 episodes, we can blow that armour off them and hopefully unpack what emotions are working beneath that armour; the emotion that causes them to need the armour in the first place. That’s the hope.”
Who are the cast of Briarpatch?
Rosario Dawson plays Allegra Dill
“I play Allegra Dill in the show. Allegra is a woman on the hunt and she’s completely suspicious. She goes back to her hometown to investigate her sister’s murder, while drinking too much and smoking too much – and confronting her childhood friends.
“When you first meet Allegra, she shows up in town and she checks into a hotel – and she thinks she's going to wrap up this investigation within a week. Even as trying and terrible as the situation is, the very first line you hear from Allegra is one that I improvised on the day.
“When she gets picked up at the airport and her driver asks, ‘Miss Dill?’ She replies, ‘The one and only’. That was my line. Her mother is dead.
“Her sister is now dead. And this line is a small, immediate window into the mind of Allegra Dill.”
Kim Dickens plays Eve Raytek
“My character, Eve Raytek, is the chief of police in San Bonifacio. She’s a formidable character and an authoritative firecracker. She’s a lot of fun to play.
“This role totally surprised me. I said to Rosario, ‘I'm usually covered in dirt and killing zombies [in Fear The Walking Dead], but now I have all of these monologues to do.
“It was a really nice challenge for me, and it was really fun. Briarpatch has so many comedic elements to it, so it’s great to play a character who is bigger than life with a lived-in flair to her. I haven't gotten to play a character like this in forever.”
Jay R Ferguson plays Jake Spivey
Jake Spivey is Allegra's childhood best friend and former running buddy. Once the poorest kid in town, he's returned from years of shadowy business abroad and reinvented himself as the region's richest swell.
“I stayed away from the book when we were shooting the pilot – but after that, I dived into it a little bit. One of the things that intrigued me the most about this character is his unwarranted gregariousness, or what could be perceived at times as unwarranted. Who knows what he's thinking or feeling?
“When I read the book and saw that it really wasn't an embellishment on the part of Andy Greenwald to make this character as over-the-top and crazily gregarious that I felt I could push the envelope a little bit further, which terrified me on a daily basis. It was very informative to read the source material for that reason”
Alan Cumming plays Clyde Brattle
“My character is a man called Clyde Brattle. Clyde is a dapper, evil, vigilante arms dealer. In scenes, he is always doing something insane – usually involving having a cocktail. I love playing insane people who are charming and together, although I’m happy to admit that Clyde is nothing like me. I’m nice. I’m Scottish. And I’ve never been an arms dealer in Iraq.
Where is Briarpatch filmed?
The show was shot in Albuquerque, which caused a few problems for the cast due to the high-altitude of the New Mexico city.
“I get really serious altitude sickness, so I had to drink a lot of chlorophyll water every single day,” said Dawson.
“I also staved off from drinking [alcohol]. Chlorophyll water is great. It helps you develop more blood cells and more oxygen.”
She added:" You should’ve seen the video that Alan Cumming did, because I got him on it.
“He did a whole video talking about it, which was hilarious. He was like, “Boris Johnson, PM of England: not hilarious. Drinking chlorophyll water and having your poop turn green: hilarious.”
A running storyline in the series, which differs from the book, is a zoo breakout that means animals pop up throughout the town. But even in Albuquerque, there were some scenes that couldn’t be filmed with real creatures.
“There were no CGI animals,” said Greenwald.
“There was a version of the pilot with a CGI tiger, but we then shot a real tiger. As it turns out, you can do almost anything in Albuquerque, where we shot the show, but you cannot bring a live tiger up to the third floor of a hotel.
“For that reason, we were unable to shoot a real tiger in the pilot – but we remedied that on the last day of production. There is a real tiger. And there were two real giraffes. No offence to the cast, but the giraffe was one of the best actors I've worked with.”
Will there be a Briarpatch season 2?
Sadly, it looks like a one and done for Briarpatch.
The series hasn’t been given the greenlight for more episodes, despite creator Andy Greenwald having big plans for stories to come.
However, in the world of TV things can quickly change so if you’re a big fan make sure you get your voice heard on social media and demand more episodes. Lots more.
“Though I’ve known for months, it’s still a bummer,” said Greenwald.
"We had an amazing story planned for [Season 2] and I was lucky enough to work with the most amazing writers and crew, all of whom were itching to get back to work.
“I think we were going to do something special. And, hey, maybe we still will. If enough people keep checking the show out on demand, anything’s possible - especially for an anthology series as weird as this one. Nothing’s over until it’s over. But if it’s over? What a way to go.”