New ABC thriller series “Big Sky” is packed with mystery and twists, but its lead star prefers its quieter moments.
Kylie Bunbury, who made a name for herself as Ginnie Baker in the 2016 baseball drama “Pitch,” plays Cassie Dewell, a private detective in small town Montana who finds herself hunting a killer after two teen girls are kidnapped by a truck driver who’s done this before.
“What drew me was that (Cassie’s) biracial, and so am I, and she’s growing up in this small town that is overwhelmingly white and is conservative,” Bunbury, who spent chunks of her childhood in Minnesota, told the Daily News. “I really understand what that feels like. I understand the vulnerability in it, but also the strength that comes along.”
“Big Sky,” which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m., is based on the 2013 novel “The Highway” and was created by David E. Kelley, the mastermind behind “Big Little Lies” and “The Undoing.”
It co-stars Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt, who’s Cassie’s business partner; Kathryn Winnick as Cody’s estranged wife; and John Carroll Lynch as the local state trooper.
Bunbury, 31, promises that more of Cassie’s secrets will be revealed as the season progresses, but at the outset, she’s strong, brash and bold. She gets in a brawl. She’s been broken by the world around her and has built herself back up.
“With Cassie, you find a lot of instinct,” Bunbury said. “She leads with instinct and has more of a … not necessarily a stoic disposition, but she’s grounded. She’s gone through a lot … and given what she has been through, she’s developed certain ways to protect herself.”
All of this exists in the backdrop of a mysterious disappearance of two pretty blond girls, portrayed by Natalie Alyn Lind and Jade Pettyjohn, and a desperate search for a monster who has a prostitute, played by Long Island native Jesse Keitel, tied up in the back of his truck. Keitel, meanwhile, is making history as the first nonbinary character on an ABC primetime show.
While Kelley has stuck to the coasts on his past two hits, “Big Sky” finds its home in Montana, full of clearings and forests and plains. Bunbury dug into the history of Black cowboys to help her pull off Cassie’s background in rodeo.
The show exists in a post-coronavirus world. Where series like “Superstore” and “The Conners” have incorporated masks into their shows and others, like “Social Distance” and “Love in the Time of Corona,” were created specifically to reflect the global pandemic, “Big Sky” quietly alludes to a world survived.
“We’re not shying away from my Blackness in a very white world,” Bunbury said. “We’re not shying away from COVID or toxic masculinity. It’s not just some glossy show about detectives.”