There's a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., that was transported stone by stone from London, where it once spanned the Thames River.

Fox has funded a similarly audacious transplant with Gracepoint, its prestige project for the season.

It hired the star (David Tennant), writer (Chris Chibnall) and director (James Strong) of Broadchurch to re-create the acclaimed British mystery for an American audience. (The original Broadchurch was shown on BBC America last year.)

The 10-part Gracepoint (9 p.m. Thursday on Fox29) is set in motion by the discovery of a dead 12-year-old boy on the beach in a remote coastal town in what is ostensibly Humboldt County in California.

The investigation falls to two police detectives, played by Tennant with a convincing American accent and Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), who don't get along. He's just transferred in from the big city, taking the supervisory job she was promised. She is affronted by his callousness, and he finds her parochial and gullible.

Whether you call them suspects or persons of interest, there are a ton of them, including the witchy trailer park lady (Jacki Weaver of Silver Linings Playbook), the crusty old coot who rents kayaks (Nick Nolte), and the town's somewhat self-effacing minister (Justified's Kevin Rankin, playing nicely against type.)

Even the boy's father (Michael Peña) faces considerable scrutiny. The tragedy is hardest, of course, on the mother (a shattering performance by Virginia Kull of The Following). But the tension is getting to everyone in town.

Small wonder. It seems everyone in Gracepoint has secrets, even the detectives. At his first sight of the body, Tennant looks up and mutters, "Don't do this to me."

The series (if its brevity lets us call it that) is reminiscent of Twin Peaks in that it's remarkable, but perhaps not remarkable television.

Gracepoint is artsy both in its painterly look and in its treatment. The story rolls out with daring forbearance, almost as if it's transpiring in real time.

Unlike homegrown American TV, there isn't something jumping out of the bushes every two minutes. Instead, the drama relies on the slow-building power of emotions.

People who work on location TV series will often boast that the setting - New York, Chicago, or wherever - is another character in the ensemble. That's true for once of the foggy coastline of British Columbia where Gracepoint was shot. It establishes a palpable mood for this atmospheric piece.

Unsurprisingly, Gracepoint is quite faithful to its British model. But I have a feeling the surprise reveal of the culprit's identity will be switched up. After all, in this country, we don't have a lot of butlers.



9 p.m. Thursday

on Fox29EndText

215-854-4875 @daveondemand_tv