REVIEW: TRAFFIC – THE MINISERIES

 

CAST

Elias Koteas (Crash)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mary McCormack (Deep Impact)
Ritchie Coster (The Tuxedo)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Moneca Delain (Agent Cody Banks)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Bill Mondy (Postal)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
A.C. Peterson (Narc)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
Apollonia Vanova (Man of Steel)
Tygh Runyan (Versailles)

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It’s easy to get confused about what, exactly, is Traffic: The Miniseries, considering that there’s a feature film of the same name, and a British miniseries called Traffik that’s regarded as having inspired both the film and the U.S. miniseries. But the only thing that Traffic: The Miniseries has in common with these productions is its use of drug trafficking as the central plot point, and its use of an ensemble cast and multiple, interwoven story threads. Other than that loose connection, Traffic: The Miniseries stands on its own… and it stands very solidly indeed.

Four main stories are at the core of Traffic: Mike McKay (Elias Koteas) a DEA agent working to track down heroin delivery routes in Afghanistan; his wife Carole (Mary McCormack) and teenaged son Tyler (Justin Chatwin) who have just moved to Seattle; an ambitious businessman (Balthazar Getty) who discovers the shady but profitable world of smuggling; and a Russian taxi driver (Cliff Curtis) who is waiting for the arrival of his wife and daughter through the network of smuggled “illegals.” In one way or another, all four stories connect to the mysterious sinking of a ship off the coast of Seattle, to the drug trade, and potentially also to a global terrorist network.

Traffic runs a total of four hours and 23 minutes, but its pace is so gripping that you could almost watch it in one sitting; certainly after you watch the first half you’ll be dying to see the second half. The stories are deftly laid out and intriguingly developed: in each case, we see the characters getting more and more entangled in the larger web of the story. Each story thread has its own impetus, so even before we sense any connections between them, we’re completely hooked to find out what’s going to happen in each case.

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