Sleeping Dog – Season 1 Episode 1 “Startled” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Sleeping Dog begins at a prison, where a guy called Mussa is verbally abused by the other inmates. They tell him he doesn’t belong there, and he quietly heads back to his cell. In the morning, the guard finds him with his wrists slashed. It seems like suicide, and the alarms are rung to confirm as much.

Living in a small caravan on the outskirts of town, we cut across to ex detective, Mike Atlas. He’s the one responsible for putting Mussa behind bars, although even in the courtroom, Mussa is adamant that he’s innocent. After being knocked out by Mussa’s friend, Abou, who calls him a dirty cop, he awakens to find his caravan completely ablaze.

Heading back into town, Atlas speaks to Mussa’s old court judge, Hartloff, who thinks Atlas should press charges. He’s also quick to point out that the death of Judge Herres was a key bit of evidence that put Mussa away. But the way this conversation plays out, Atlas doesn’t seem to fully comprehend what happened, and he’s haunted by the memories of this.

With nowhere else to go, Atlas ends up heading back home to see his family, where his daughter Tinka is rather shocked to see him asleep in bed upstairs. She knows about running away too, given she did the same thing when she was a little kid. Still, Atlas doesn’t have a home here so he ends up grabbing some gear and heading out onto the streets to slum it.

Another character we’re introduced to here is Jule Andergast. She’s the lead prosecutor on the Mussa suicide and is a shining star in the DA’s eyes. Jule starts looking through the files, seeing if this really is a suicide. She’s intrigued by a tattoo on Mussa’s chest and wants to find out what the Arabic words mean but her concerns are dismissed by Corinna Steck, the District Attorney.

Jules heads to the prison, where apparently there’s no sign of Mussa fighting with other inmates. She does have a list of visitors printed out though, and similarly with video files too.

Atlas heads in to seeĀ  Corinna, urging her to let him see the Herres file. She’s having no such thing, and tells him to get back to the 49th as “her sniffer dog has had a burnout”. Well, this sniffer dog ends up grabbing files from Jules’ bag while she’s outside that night, and proceeds to begin scanning them so he has a copy. While this is going on, Jules ends up looking through the list of visitors.

We then skip across to Inspector Adebayo, who ends up in trouble after storming an apartment as part of a crime scene. Unfortunately, in kicking the door open, a little girl happened to be on the other side and ends up with a concussion. Adebayo blames herself and heads to see the neighbour, reprimanding her for not revealing all the details regarding the girl being in the house.

This is a big story too and it makes mainstream news. The Minister of the Interior wants an inquiry into this, especially as the neighbour claims that the cops were aware a child was inside.

Two of her colleagues head back to see the neighbor and threaten her. Atlas immediately heads in to see Hartloff in the morning, holding the crime scene photos. He points out that the gun was just found in Mussa’s car, while the name Idris Kouri seems to be a big clue. Apparently he left the country but there are definitely holes in this case.

Atlas finds Idris Kouri’s father, who happens to be working in a fish restaurant. Idris is apparently off in Agadir, and Abou has an alibi for Mussa during the time of Herres’ murder too, given they were apparently fixing up cars together.

Idris Kouri also head in to see Mussa at the prison too, and as we cut across to Jules, she checks the footage of him with Idris. Mussa seems really happy that they’re together and there could be a romantic connection between them.

Contrasting that though is a visitor who showed up a day before to see Mussa. Private detective Jurgens. He and Mussa got into a heated discussion and Mussa looked genuinely scared. It could well be a big clue as to what’s happening here. Hartloff actually drops off some cash to Atlas, telling him o fix himself up and if he still feels like he wants to get involved, then he can.

Jule meanwhile, heads off to see Prviate Detective Jurgens, but he doesn’t answer the phone. In fact, he holds a gun up at the door and waits for her to go. After sliding her business card underneath the crack in the door, she receives a call from Idris’s friend at the fish store, who wants her to meet in the alley behind the store that night.

The earlier suspicions about Mussa and Idris being lovers is confirmed, when the tattoos on Mussa’s chest actually reads Idris’ name. They were together the whole night in bed and not fixing cars the night Herres died. But how does Abou fit into this?

That night, the case takes a wild turn when Idris is found dead in a playground, still holding his gun in his hand.

The Episode Review

The first episode of Sleeping Dog gets off to a pretty good start, with an intriguing mystery and a decent atmosphere. Quite how Inspector Adebayo’s story slots into all of this remains to be seen though, because right now is does seem a bit disparate to everything else that’s going on.

However, the central mystery is pretty endearing, and it seems there’s the usual case of dirty cops at the heart of this one. We’ll have to wait and see quite how this one plays out though but it certainly starts off quite well.

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You can read our full season review for Sleeping Dog here!

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