By Dave Pezza
The humble island of Nantucket is the true star of John Shea’s latest project “Grey Lady.” Shea—best known for his roles on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventure of Superman,” “Gossip Girl,” and “The Good Wife”—delivers a sturdy thriller that follows Boston detective Doyle, played by Eric Dane (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Last Ship”). Doyle retreats to Nantucket after the violent deaths of his sister and partner/lover at the hands of a serial killer that has pointed the crosshairs at everyone the monosyllabic cop loves.
The island, though, stands out as a main character on its own. Shea forgets none of Nantucket’s gorgeous ocean vistas, quaint shoreline shacks, eerie fog, or beachfront storms. He uses the island’s best aspects to draw the audience into its insular community as Doyle returns to the place he cherished as a boy. The present-day Nantucket is marred in his eyes by the rogue investigation that has consumed his life, despite the good people he finds that want to help him both professionally and personally. Adrian Lester (“Primary Colors,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Hustle”) plays police officer Johnson, Doyle’s somewhat reluctant partner in crime, and Natalie Zea (“The Detour, “Justified”) skillfully inhabits the role of Melissa Reynolds, an alluring and enchanting local painter.
“Grey Lady” stays true to its genre. Packed with suspense between the island’s wide shots, Shea and his writing partner Armyan Bernstein touch upon mental illness, childhood drama, loss, alcoholism, family ties, and even managed to sprinkle in a little torture and cult-like ritualistic homicide. From start to finish, “Grey Lady” offers a dark ride that constantly leaves you not asking “who?” but “why?”
With the exception of some awkwardly paced transitions, dissonant dialogue, and perhaps one plot twist too many, “Grey Lady” highlights Eric Dane’s formidable talent as an action/drama leading man, Natalie Zea’s uncanny range, and Shea’s masterful sense of suspense. Not to be undervalued are Chris Meyer’s haunting and remarkable performance of the gruesome and capable Perry Morrison, and the efforts of the beautiful and talented Carolyn Stotesbery, who plays Meyer’s shadowy and emotionally-damaged counterpart. All of these facets come to head in the film’s most accomplished scene: Doyle’s suspenseful game of cat and mouse with the murderer at a bed and breakfast as Melissa is held captive as bait.
“Grey Lady” opens nationally on April 28 and is well worth a Friday night viewing for lovers of noir, a touch of poetry, and a dash of bittersweet romance.
Listen to our podcast interview with writer/director John Shea: