Civilization breaks down when fear and ‘The Mist’ grip a small town in new Spike series

Secrets, a brutal crime and a deadly fog – they’re the ingredients for terror in small-town Maine in a new series premiering this week on Spike TV.

In “The Mist,” based on a story by horror-meister Stephen King and debuting Thursday, June 22, the sleepy burg of Bridgeville is rocked when young Alex Copeland (Gus Birney, “This Is Nowhere”) is sexually assaulted, allegedly by her high school’s football star Jay Heisel (Australian newcomer Luke Cosgrove), who also happens to the son of the town’s alpha dog sheriff, Connor Heisel (Darren Pettie, “Mad Men”).

As the fallout from the crime sends shockwaves through the town, it also places further stresses and strains on the already-shaky marriage of Alex’s parents, Kevin (Morgan Spector, “Boardwalk Empire”) and Eve (Alyssa Sutherland, “Vikings”). Eve, a former wild child still trying to live down her reputation, often clashed with Kevin over what she feels is his permissive attitude toward Alex’s upbringing, which she thinks is partially to blame for what happened to her. And the people in town aren’t so sure Alex is an innocent party, either.

Into the town settles an eerie, dense mist that poses more danger than just hazardous driving. In the opening episode, that can mean death at the hands of what appear to be cannibalistic insects, no electricity and no cell service, among other woes. The smart ones stay indoors with the windows and doors shut.

As Bridgeville goes into crisis mode, secrets are exposed, relationships are threatened and the rules of society begin to break down. And people’s true natures – for better and worse – emerge.

On the apparent better side is Kevin, the reasoned, moral man who refuses to give in to the prejudice and anger he sees around him.

“He’s the good, civilized man,” says the actor who portrays him, Spector, “and I think part of what Christian (Torpe, the showrunner) was interested in certainly was, OK, if you have somebody whose beliefs have probably been relatively unchallenged, whose convictions, while maybe he would regard them as deeply held, have never really been put to the test – what happens when circumstances put that man’s convictions to the test?

“The possibility of exploring that …,” he continues, “I find that really fascinating, that idea of exploring, OK, at what point do you let go of your scruples in order to survive or in order to protect those you truly love?”

Eve has been very protective of Alex all along, raising her under a strict set of rules in the hopes of avoiding the mistakes of her own youth, which include a teenage pregnancy. This places her in direct opposition to Kevin, who tends to relax the rules a bit and lets her do things like attend the party where she was assaulted.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this troubled couple, says Sutherland, the Australian actress who plays Eve.

“I think there are some cracks,” she says, “and what happens to their daughter really magnifies what’s going on between the two of them and the history is also explored over this season, of their relationship. You get to find out more about the past, which is interesting stuff. So we start out with the family kind of in turmoil and then all hell breaks loose. (And the question becomes) how are these people going to survive and what they’re willing to do to survive. And will they come back together, will they not?”

“The Mist” premieres Thursday, June 22, on Spike TV.
George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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