Elisabeth Moss returns as Detective Robin Griffin in Top of the Lake: China Girl, starting this Sunday (September 10) on SundanceTV in the U.S. While Griffin successfully solved the case of an underage New Zealand girl being impregnated in season one, which debuted in 2013, the case was so overwhelming she makes her way back to her native Australia in the follow-up. Her solace is short-lived, however, when a suitcase containing a body washes up on shore.
In addition to getting her footing back professionally, Griffin struggles with personal matters. In season two she reunites with her now grown 18-year-old daughter (Alice Englert), who she gave up for adoption as an infant. She also meets her daughter’s slimy boyfriend, played by David Dencik, and the girl’s adoptive mother (Nicole Kidman).
Griffin has a lot going on, but she’s not in it alone. Gwendoline Christie stars as police officer Miranda Hilmarson.
The below trailer introduces the storyline and main cast:
Now that we’re nicely geared up for Top of the Lake: China Girl, here’s where else you can look for this show’s stellar cast:
1. Elisabeth Moss
We just saw Moss in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale. She took on the lead role of Offred, who narrates the story of a world gone wild, where women are stripped of their jobs, belongings, and ultimately, their rights. They’re also forced to reproduce on demand. Unlike some of her fellow handmaids, Offred is fully awake to the horror and ready to fight back. Moss also starred opposite Anglo favorite Tom Hiddleston in 2015’s High-Rise. Again, her character, Helen, seems to be the only one of sound mind when everyone in her apartment building kind of loses it. Back in 2014, she starred opposite Mark Duplass in the sci-fi dark comedy, The One I Love. On a quiet retreat the couple find themselves unknowingly loved up with a robotic version of each other. But you probably know Moss best from her breakout role as the determined Peggy Olson in Mad Men, available on Netflix. Moving forward, we can look for Moss in the 30-minute short film, Tokyo Project, which will air on HBO this coming October 14. The romantic drama, set in Japan, is directed by Richard Shepard (Girls) and also stars Ebon Moss-Bachach and Shu Kakizawa. And Moss is currently working with BBC AMERICA on developing the “Typhoid Mary” limited series Fever.
2. Nicole Kidman
Like Moss, Nicole Kidman just starred in a much-talked about TV series, HBO’s Big Little Lies. Kidman played the unshakeable, chic mom Celeste Wright and also executive-produced with her co-star Reese Witherspoon. The screen adaptation of the 2014 novel opens with a murder — a shocking event in the typically quiet, well-to-do California suburb. Of course, we know Kidman from her many earlier movie roles, including 1990’s Days of Thunder, 2001’s Moulin Rouge! and 2007’s The Stepford Wives. More recently we saw her in 2016’s Lion, portraying the adoptive mother to Dev Patel‘s Saroo Brierley. The film is based on the real-life story of Saroo, who as a young child growing up in India, wanders away from his older brother and gets lost. After a short time in an orphanage, he’s adopted by an Australian couple (Kidman, David Denham), ultimately leaving his homeland. Kidman has also completed filming on 2017’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, based on Neil Gaiman‘s short story, and is currently filming 2018’s Aquaman, in which she’ll play Queen Atlanna.
3. Alice Englert
Moss and Kidman are, of course, huge stars. But Alice Englert, who plays Griffin’s daughter, is a bit of a newbie. Even so, this isn’t her first acting credit of note. You may remember her as (the sometimes strangely behaved) Lady Pole in BBC America’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Before that, she starred in the 2014 miniseries New Worlds as Hope, alongside Jamie Dornan (The Fall), Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones, Skins) and Freya Mayor (Skins). The series, set in 1680, follows four idealists (Englert, Dornan, Dempsie, Mayor) as they struggle under the rule of King Charles II. And in 2013, Englert took the lead in the feature film Beautiful Creatures. She played Lena Duchannes, a young girl with witch-y ancestors who just wants to live a normal life. But you don’t always get what you want… Back in 2012, she won her first major role, starring opposite Elle Fanning in the rite of passage film Ginger & Rosa. The movie revolves around the young girls’ friendship, and has some major star power with Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, and Annette Bening rounding out the cast. She may not be a household name like her Top of the Lake co-stars just yet… but that could all change with this growing body of work under her belt.
4. Gwendoline Christie
Gwendoline Christie needs no introduction… but just to be safe, we’ll give her one anyway. For six out of seven seasons, you’ve likely been enjoying her as Game of Thrones‘ unlikely, but very determined, warrior, Brienne of Tarth. And, we can look forward to seeing Christie again in the eighth and final season of GoT — quite an achievement considering the show’s death toll. In 2015, she popped up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Captain Phasma and will reprise that role in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We don’t actually see her in the 2015 film, however, as she keeps her helmet on the entire time, and, sadly, it seems to be the same for the follow-up. She is currently filming 2018’s The Darkest Minds, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, which sees a disease kill off 98 percent of the U.S.’s children. The kids who survive are put into internment camps, to contain their… superpowers.
5. David Dencik
We could stop there, and make it an all-girl power roster, but… there is one more actor we’d like to put the spotlight on: David Dencik. We’ve yet to see Top of the Lake: China Girl, but his character, who goes by “Puss,” definitely plays a key role in the story, being the older (by more than 20 years), bad influence boyfriend to Englert’s Mary. His character is German but Dencik is Swedish, and you may remember him as Janne Dahlman in 2009’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring opposite Noomi Rapace. His character worked on Mikael Blomqvist’s (Michael Nyqvist) magazine, and was discovered to be leaking private internal information. He reprised the role for a 2010 Swedish miniseries, Millennium, which was based on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo saga. And he played a young Morell in the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in the leads. Dencik also starred in the 2011 Cold War film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as Toby Esterhase, a high-ranking British intelligence official. Just this past year, he took on the role of Danish physicist Niels Bohr in the biopic TV series, Genius, which depicts Albert Einstein‘s life, from a young man to his later years. We can also look forward to seeing him in 2017’s thriller The Snowman (October 20), starring opposite Michael Fassbender.
Now that you’re prepped on the cast — are you even more intrigued about Top of the Lake: China Girl?