“I have a really hard time relaxing my mind,” TV producer Jane Sadler (Kyra Sedgwick) tells her young daughter Lake (Abigail Pniowsky) in ABC’s new crime drama Ten Days in the Valley. She’s not kidding–the moment is a brief mutual confession between mother and child before Jane heads to her writer’s shed for a session fueled by both uppers and downers. Somewhere in the haze, Lake goes missing. Jane, trying to get ahead of the situation, lies to the cops.
Dissembling comes too easily to Jane, a character who we learn early on is battle-hardened by divorce and Hollywood. Both help explain why she doesn’t initially take her daughter’s disappearance with the appropriate gravity; she assumes her ex-husband (Kick Gurry) took Lake and–even as the mystery proves less easily cracked than she’d hoped–she can’t let her reserve fall in front of her cast and crew.
Sedgwick, an Emmy winner for police procedural The Closer, is as tough as ever here, giving the audience few inherently sympathetic traits. That makes her all the more compellingly real, especially for a network drama–a genre that’s retreated further into safety in the cable and streaming eras. Jane can’t allow herself to slow down, despite the warning signs. Her relentlessness endangers her case and makes for taut and tart viewing.
Ten Days in the Valley airs on ABC on Sundays at 10 p.m. E.T.
This appears in the October 16, 2017 issue of TIME.