Green and Green Diamonds is a prosperous high-end diamond jewelry company in Los Angeles run by kindly head of the family Isaac Green (Raymond J. Barry, The 100), his surly and uncouth brother-in-law Cam (Ray Winstone, Beowulf), his wayward eldest son Freddy (Jeremy Sisto, Population 436, Kidnapped), who also happens to be basically Rainman with diamonds, and youngest son, Jake (Cam Gigandet, Priest), who is very business savvy. A drunken tragedy wherein Freddy shoots and kills Avi, one of their diamond suppliers, throws the family into a tailspin, especially since the victim was not only someone the boys grew up with and have known all their lives, but also someone who will be very much missed by his employer, the imposing Lady Rah (Judith Shekoni). Although the family does everything they can to get ahead of the situation, Lady Rah wants payback, and Avi was a big earner, so in her eyes, the Green's owe her some 25 million bucks.
They don't have that kind of liquid cash, which causes them to turn to more unscrupulous methods to raise the money, including getting into bed with Rah on some pretty unsavory and dangerous deals. But not everything is as it seems, especially Lady Rah, and we soon learn that there is a world of back-stabbing and treachery going on, and they are all just steps away from their own personal graves.
To make matters worse, another old friend from childhood, Carlos (Reynaldo Gallegos), is a detective and he has his own suspicions about what really happened to Avi and has no plans of giving up until the murder is solved. Meanwhile, Jake's ex-wife Ava (Audrey Marie Anderson, Arrow, The Walking Dead) is clueless about what is going on in the business until she finds herself thrust in the middle of it and fighting for the Green family legacy on behalf of her young daughter.
Finally, things really start to heat up about halfway through the season with the introduction of the enigmatic and terrifying diamond magnate Pieter Van De Bruin (Donald Sutherland, Dirty Sexy Money, The Hunger Games), who shares a shady past past with Cam Green and has clear designs on the complete destruction of Green and Green, at almost any cost.
First, let me say that Antoine Fuqua only directs the first episode and it shows. The man has a distinct style of directing (which I love) and it's woefully missing in Ice: Season One. As I watched, I found myself confused by the Green family's behavior. Here is this upstanding family who have been selling diamonds for decades, literally spiriting a huge diamond called the Holocaust Diamond out of Germany's grasp in order to start their company in America so long ago, and they find themselves caught up in a world of crap. Sure, Freddy's poor decisions have much to do with it and instead of kicking him to the curb and letting Lady Rah take out her vengeance, they chose to save him because, in truth, he is a diamond savant when it comes to looking at the stones and reading them like a book without even so much as a jewelry loupe. But still...
It's been quite a while since I worked in the fine jewelry business, but there were a few things that went on here that gave me pause, such as them trying to pass off stolen and completely illegal diamonds by forging some papers. Come on! Stones of this size and quality have a laser engraved serial number on them and, in this day and age, I can't imagine them not being flagged on Interpol, so I don't think it's as easy as a simple document forgery. Second, if you have a 4K setup, you'll see more than you want to see on Ice: Season One. No, I am not talking about the male nudity that often occurs, although that was probably better left out, but I am referring to an amusing sex scene between Ava and Jake. When the camera pans out to show her from the back, you can clearly see her flesh-colored underwear, and even her daintily placed hand on her backside doesn't change that. She has no butt crack and it just looked weird. Also, the story takes place in Los Angeles, but the regular rain showers tells me it's filmed in Vancouver or thereabouts. Yes, you can have some iconic shots of L.A., but Vancouver doesn't quite cut it as a dupe for L.A. to me.
The acting is solid, I just didn't find the overall story all that compelling. I think Donald Sutherland was introduced too late in the game to have the proper impact and, although he is brilliant as always, I found his portrayal of a homosexual crime lord, simperingly doting on his lover while plotting murder, a bit off-putting, personally. Also, the constant f-bombs. Now, I can curse like a sailor, so I am not typically offended by foul language, but it was just so constant and excessive. If it adds to a show, sure, throw it in there for color and punch, but if you literally have to preface every effin' word, then it's too much. See what I did there?
Overall, Ice: Season One isn't horrible, but it just didn't grab me. Most of the family seemed kind of crappy and I didn't find myself caring what happened to them, especially with the stupid decisions they were making. Who buys diamonds at a shady motel anyway? Creepy criminals, that's who, and something tells me the Green legacy was doomed based on poor choices all around, long before Freddy's pivotal screw-up.
Special features include a short interview with Jeremy Sisto and Cam Gigandet and a music video for a song featured prominently in a weird and under-the-table diamond auction.
If you are looking for a TV series with the punch of the movies Training Day and The Eqaulizer... keep looking. If you want a peek into the underground world of the diamond trade, complete with blood diamonds, evil henchmen, swallowing balloons of stones to illegally transport them (this was so gag-inducing - I can't even) and murderous hyenas - yeah, you read that correctly - check out Ice: Season One. Personally, it was just okay to me.