Amazon Studios delves into the seemingly alternate worlds of religion and revenge in its new drama Hand of God.
The series stars Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) as powerful Judge Pernell Harris, a major political figure in a fictional California town who’s not afraid to wield his power and influence over the entire community, from Mayor Robert Boston (Andre Royo) all the way down to the town’s police department.
Harris’s world is rocked when his son PJ (Johnny Ferro) shoots himself after an unknown assailant repeatedly assaults his wife, Jocelyn (Alona Tal), in front of him. The pilot opens with the elder Harris in the midst of a mental breakdown, naked in a public fountain and speaking in tongues. Later it would be revealed that Harris had recently been converted into a born-again Christian by a con man preacher, Paul Curtis (Julian Morris).
Unwilling to come to grips with his comatose son, who has been declared brain dead by doctors, Harris refuses to pull the plug despite Jocelyn’s pleas to move on. His stubbornness is steeled when he begins to hear PJ talk to him from his bed, which Harris interprets as the voice of God asking him to avenge the wrongs done to PJ and his wife.
Unable to convince his own wife, Crystal (Dana Delany), or his friend Boston of his divine messages, he turns to Curtis for spiritual direction and to a born-again convict, KD (Garret Dillahunt), to help him dole out vigilante justice against those he believes are guilty of hurting his family.
Perlman is terrific as the complex and strongwilled, yet conflicted and complex Judge Harris, and Delany turns in a solid performance as his supportive but not-so-innocent wife.
The series suffers through numerous subplots that tend to take away from the strength and appeal of Judge Harris’ s plight. Overall, though, Hand of God should ultimately receive the blessing of Amazon Prime subscribers.