Did you catch the first season of “Mr Inbetween” on FX last year? It’s an Australian comedy-drama that’s more poignant than you might expect, given that it’s about a brutal street thug. It’s also a quick binge, totaling six half-hour episodes. You might want to get on it, because the second season premieres on FX Thursday night at 10.
The show’s writer, Scott Ryan, stars as Ray Shoesmith, a laconic and laid-back criminal for hire who murders his targets — after he makes them dig their own graves. Ray is also a soulful, loyal guy who cares lovingly for his preteen daughter and his sick brother. As he moves between these two moral worlds, we have to reconcile our feelings about his character.
Ryan, with his deadpan face, is remarkable in the role, moving from tenderness to ruthlessness without strain or dissonance. His Ray is never less than efficient when it comes to the task at hand.
I know: The killer with a heart of gold isn’t a new trope; viewers have been put in the position of moral compromise many times in the past two decades, from “The Sopranos” to, most recently, HBO’s “Barry.” But “Mr. Inbetween” gives the concept a fresh and funny going over. And for the second season, perhaps thanks to the success of the first, there will be 11 episodes. That means Ryan will have an opportunity to go a little deeper into Ray and show us how this man keeps himself from cracking in half.