Banshee (TV series)
Banshee is an American action television series created by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler originally appearing on the Cinemax network beginning on January 11, 2013. Set in the small town of Banshee in Pennsylvania Amish country, the series' main character is an enigmatic ex-con (Antony Starr), who assumes the identity of Lucas Hood, the town's murdered sheriff, to hide from powerful crime lord Rabbit (Ben Cross). Imposing his own brand of justice, Hood attempts to reconcile with his former lover, Rabbit's daughter, Anastasia (Ivana Miličević), who has herself adopted an assumed identity, married, and raised a family during Hood's incarceration. Hood struggles to maintain his new identity while still embracing crime alongside his partners Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison), and coming into conflict with local kingpin Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen).
|Created by||Jonathan Tropper|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||38 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jonathan Tropper|
Robert F. Phillips
|Production location(s)||Charlotte, NC and Mooresville, NC (Season 1-3)|
Vandergrift, Pennsylvania (Season 4)
|Editor(s)||Chris A. Peterson|
|Running time||43–59 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Your Face Goes Here Entertainment|
Tropper Schickler Productions
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||January 11, 2013 –|
May 20, 2016
The series was developed as part of Cinemax's drive to develop original content. A 10-episode second season debuted in January 2014. Banshee was renewed for a third season that same month, which debuted in January 2015. In February 2015, the series was renewed for an 8-episode fourth and final season. The final episode aired on May 20, 2016.
A man is released from prison after serving 15 years for stealing $15 million in diamonds on behalf of his employer, a Ukrainian mob boss named Rabbit. He and his former lover and accomplice, Rabbit's daughter Anastasia (Ana), had already decided to keep the loot for themselves. Anastasia got away with the diamonds and Rabbit is after the man, thinking he will lead him to his daughter and the diamonds. The man flees to the small fictional Pennsylvanian town of Banshee, where Ana has been living under the alias of Carrie Hopewell, mother of two and wife of the DA. Lucas Hood, the new sheriff, arrives in a bar at the entrance to the town and is immediately killed when he intervenes in a dispute between local criminals and the bar owner. The man takes Hood's identity and has to impersonate the sheriff and deal with ex-Amish crime lord Kai Proctor, sort things out with "Carrie" and get his share of the diamonds while evading Rabbit.
Season 1 focuses on Hood's attempts to restore his relationship with Carrie under the looming threat of Rabbit finding them. Hood completely disregards the law while clashing with Proctor and pursuing his often criminal activities, alienating his own deputies. Rabbit eventually tracks him down and Hood surrenders to spare Carrie. Carrie leads some criminal accomplices and the deputies in a raid to free Hood and shoots Rabbit.
Season 2 deals with tribal chief Alex Longshadow's attempt to build a casino on the reservation which places Sheriff Hood in the middle of a violent struggle between Longshadow and Proctor. Carrie must face up to her past when she is imprisoned for her part in the raid against her father. With Carrie trying to fix her marriage, Hood enters into a relationship with his deputy Siobhan. He must deal with the real Hood's son when he comes to Banshee looking for his father. Hood and Carrie are forced to track down and confront Rabbit and settle things once and for all when they learn he survived being shot.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||January 11, 2013||March 15, 2013|
|2||10||January 10, 2014||March 14, 2014|
|3||10||January 9, 2015||March 13, 2015|
|4||8||April 1, 2016||May 20, 2016|
- Antony Starr as the man known as Lucas Hood: An ex-con and master thief released from prison after 15 years who adopts the identity of the real Lucas Hood, Banshee's incoming sheriff, who dies in the premiere episode. The character's real name is never revealed.
- Ivana Miličević as Anastasiya Rabitova / Carrie Hopewell: Hood's former criminal accomplice and lover. She lives in Banshee under an alias as a real estate agent with her husband Gordon and children Deva and Max, who are unaware of her past. She is also in hiding from "Mr. Rabbit", her father.
- Ulrich Thomsen as Kai Proctor: A crime kingpin and businessman in Banshee. Proctor was originally a member of Banshee's Amish community, but abandoned the faith for crime.
- Frankie Faison as Sugar Bates: A retired former boxer and ex-con, turned bar owner. He befriends Hood and is aware that he is a criminal.
- Hoon Lee as Job: A computer hacker and Hood's criminal accomplice. Job is a transvestite. He is also in hiding from "Mr. Rabbit", and is forced to move to Banshee after his identity is uncovered.
- Rus Blackwell as Gordon Hopewell: Banshee's district attorney and Carrie's husband. He is a Gulf War hero and retired Marine. (season 1-3)
- Matt Servitto as Brock Lotus: A Banshee deputy, and the longest-serving member of the force. Brock was intended to become the new Sheriff before the real Hood's appointment and is resentful of being passed over.
- Demetrius Grosse as Emmett Yawners: A male Banshee deputy. (main seasons 1–2, guest season 4)
- Trieste Kelly Dunn as Siobhan Kelly: A female Banshee deputy. (main seasons 1–3, recurring season 4)
- Ryann Shane as Deva Hopewell: A rebellious teenager, daughter of Carrie and Hood.
- Daniel Ross Owens as Dan Kendall: Banshee's mayor, an idealist and a young politician opposed to Proctor's criminal activities. (season 1)
- Lili Simmons as Rebecca Bowman: A young ex-Amish girl who lived a devout life with her father Elijah by day, but was a rebellious, sexually adulterous by night until her family discovers her double life and kicks her out. She is Proctor's niece and the only member of the Amish community he has contact with. Her uncle takes her under his wing and starts mentoring her in the life of crime.
- Ben Cross as Igor "Mr. Rabbit" Rabitov: A ruthless Ukrainian gangster seeking revenge on Hood for stealing from him, and turning his daughter Anastasia against him. (seasons 1–2)
- Anthony Ruivivar as Alex Longshadow: Indian tribal chief and Proctor's rival. (recurring season 1, main season 2, guest season 3)
- Geno Segers as Chayton Littlestone: The imposing leader of the local Kinaho tribal gang the Redbones. (main season 3, guest seasons 2 and 4)
- Afton Williamson as Alison Medding: Assistant District Attorney Alison Medding. (recurring season 2, main season 3)
- Langley Kirkwood as Colonel Douglas Stowe: A U.S. Marine running an illegal business out of Banshee's Camp Genoa. (season 3)
- Matthew Rauch as Clay Burton: Proctor's ruthless right-hand man. (recurring seasons 1–3, main season 4)
- Tom Pelphrey as Kurt Bunker: A former member of the Aryan Brotherhood who becomes a Banshee deputy. (recurring season 3, main season 4)
- Chris Coy as Calvin Bunker: The leader of the Aryan Brotherhood in Banshee and the younger brother of Kurt Bunker. (recurring season 3, main season 4)
- Odette Annable as Nola Longshadow: Alex's sister. (seasons 1–3)
- Christos Vasilopoulos as Olek: Right-hand-man to "Mr. Rabbit". (seasons 1–2)
- Joseph Gatt as Albino: A prisoner who served time with Hood. (recurring seasons 1–2, guest season 4)
- Derek Cecil as Dean Xavier: An FBI agent. (seasons 1–2)
- Gabriel Suttle as Max: Carrie and Gordon's son. (recurring seasons 1–2, stand-in season 3)
- Deja Dee as Alma: Employee at Banshee's Sheriff Department. (seasons 1–3)
- Chelsea Cardwell as Beaty: Deva's best friend. (seasons 1–3)
- Robert Treveiler as Jackson Sperling: Kai Proctor's lawyer. (seasons 1–3)
- Harrison Thomas as Jason Hood: The real Lucas Hood's son. (guest season 1, recurring season 2)
- Željko Ivanek as Jim Racine: An FBI agent. (season 2)
- Reg E. Cathey as Det. Julius Bonner: An NYPD Detective who had arrested the protagonist after the diamond robbery. (guest season 2)
- Maya Gilbert as Juliet: A stripper. (season 2)
- Eddie Cooper as Fat Au: A New York-based crime lord who is an old friend of Hood, Carrie and Job. (seasons 2–4)
- Jennifer Griffin as Leah Proctor: Kai's mother. (seasons 2–3)
- Tyson Sullivan as Hondo: Key enforcer for the Aryan Brotherhood in Banshee, who works for Kai. (recurring season 2, guest season 3)
- Julian Sands as Yulish Rabitov: "Mr. Rabbit"'s brother and a priest. (season 2)
- Chaske Spencer as Billy Raven: A former officer of the Kinaho Reservation Police Department before becoming a Banshee deputy, who is now considered an outcast by his own people. (recurring season 3, guest season 4)
- Meaghan Rath as Aimee King: The sole honest officer in the corrupt Kinaho Reservation Police Department. (season 3)
- Tanya Clarke as Emily Lotus: Brock's ex-wife. (season 3)
- Happy Anderson as Bones Tuesday: A cajun fight club owner whose star fighter is Chayton Littlestone. (season 3)
- Dennis Flanagan as Leo Fitzpatrick: A computer hacker. (seasons 3–4)
- David Harbour as Robert Dalton: A black ops agent. (guest seasons 3–4)
- Casey LaBow as Maggie Bunker: The wife of Calvin Bunker, who wants a better life for her and her son. (season 4)
- Eliza Dushku as Special Agent Veronica Dawson: An FBI agent who is incredibly reckless and also has personal demons of her own. She is hunting down a serial killer who has just arrived in Banshee. (season 4)
- Chance Kelly as Randall Watts: Maggie's father. (season 4)
- Frederick Weller as Declan Bode: A satanist and a serial killer. (season 4)
- Nestor Serrano as Emilio Loera: A powerful member of the cartel. (season 4)
- Ana Ayora as Nina Cruz: A smart, tough and streetwise Banshee deputy who is also working as a mole for Proctor. (season 4)
Banshee is part of Cinemax's attempt to expand its original programming content, and it joins Strike Back (co-produced with BSkyB) and Steve Kronish's Sandbox. Banshee premiered on January 11, 2013. The show was first revealed in August 2011, when it was announced that Alan Ball would produce the crime drama. Ball helped develop the project alongside creators Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler. Banshee was originally set up at Cinemax owner HBO, but moved to Cinemax when it was decided to increase original programming on that network. By August, Cinemax was finalizing casting and financial details with the intention of filming in Spring 2012 in North Carolina. In January 2012, Cinemax ordered ten episodes for the show's first season, with the first episode being directed by Greg Yaitanes. In March 2012, Servitto, Dunn and Owens were cast as, respectively, Brock Lotus, Siobhan Kelly, and Mayor Dan Kendall. Later that month, Starr was cast as lead character Lucas Hood, alongside Grosse as deputy Emmett Yawners, Thomsen as Kai Proctor, Lee as Job, and Milicevic as Carrie Hopewell. Simmons was cast in April as Proctor's niece, Rebecca Bowman, an Amish girl who lives a rebellious double life, and in August 2012, Odette Annable was cast in the recurring role of Nola Longshadow, a Native American assassin. Tropper, Schickler, Ball, Yaitanes and Peter Macdissi serve as executive producers.
During the first day of shooting on the series, Starr suffered a facial injury when stunt fight choreography went wrong, splitting his lip open. He continued to film for six hours to complete the scene before going to the hospital to receive six stitches. The injury required digital removal for all scenes set before the fight but filmed after the stunt, resulting in lengthy post-production on the first episode. Some of the many fight scenes on the show can take up to 25 hours to film. Yaitanes cited Jason Statham-starring action films, and John Carpenter films Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and They Live (1988) as inspiration for the fights and violence in Banshee. Marcus Young serves as the series' fight choreographer.
On January 29, 2013 Cinemax renewed Banshee for a 10-episode second season which premiered on January 10, 2014. The season's opening action set piece featuring Milicevic, Starr, and Lee, performing a high-speed heist, was filmed across five miles of closed highway. Tropper originally wrote the scene for the show's accompanying graphic novel, Banshee Origins which follows the trio sixteen years earlier, but he decided that it would be an interesting live action stunt. The season finale's shoot out was filmed inside a church in Harlem, New York. The scene was shot over three days.
For the first three seasons, filming took place mainly in the Mooresville, North Carolina area. In addition to Mooresville, other area locations were used including Huntersville, Mount Ulla, Lincolnton, Salisbury, Charlotte, Monroe, Gastonia and Waxhaw. Because North Carolina's legislature chose not to continue tax credits for filming movies and TV series, the show moved to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, centering in the suburb of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has continued to offer tax incentives.
The first season of Banshee received a 64% score on Rotten Tomatoes, an average rating of 6.05/10, sampled from 33 reviews. Seasons 2, 3, and 4 received scores of 93%, 100%, and 100% respectively. On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 61/100 based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Wall Street Journal critic Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote, "Its smartness comes shining through despite the claptrap (none worse than the parade of sex scenes, soft-porn variety, whose noisiness is exceeded only by their unconvincingness); its story, littered with intriguingly repellent characters, like Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), local evil tycoon, grows ever more enticing". The San Francisco Chronicle said about Banshee, "It has a solid pedigree. It's also part of Cinemax's effort to expand its original programming. That effort pays off with Banshee". The A.V. Club included season 3 on its list of the best TV of 2015, describing it as "upping the emotional stakes to almost unbearable levels."
Season one of Banshee drew Cinemax's then-highest ratings for an original series, averaging 433,000 viewers per episode and 727,000 in the 7 days after each episode was released. The season finale drew 455,000 viewers during its initial screening and 655,000 during its repeat, the largest audience ever, at the time, for a Cinemax original series, and the third-highest ratings achieved by Banshee at that point.
The second season exceeded the first's successes. The season's fifth episode, "The Truth about Unicorns", set a series record with 591,000 viewers during its original airing. The season finale also set a new record, with 733,000 viewers, and a total of 968,000 for the evening including repeat showings.
A soundtrack album, Banshee – Music from the Cinemax Original Series, was released as digital download on February 11, 2014. The album features 17 songs from the show's first two seasons, including the main theme by Methodic Doubt, and tracks by artists including Nico Vega, Ivy Levan, The Growl, Anders Osborne, Fred Eaglesmith, and Martin Harley.
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