Top of the Lake: episode guide

Paradise Sold

Episode 1.01
USA: Monday, March 18, 2013 (The Sundance Channel, 9:00)
Aus: Sunday, March 24, 2013 (UKTV, 8:30)
NZ: Monday, March 25, 2013 (UKTV)
UK: June 26, 2013 (BBC2, 9:10)
Written by Jane Campion and Gerald Lee
Directed by Jane Campion

On the South Island of New Zealand, 12-year-old Tui Mitcham is rescued from the freezing waters of a remote mountaintop lake, which she had walked into in an apparent attempt to take her own life. Her teacher notices that she is pregnant and with the small local police force ill-equipped to question her, social services enlist the help of child protection expert Detective Robin Griffin to talk to the girl and uncover the truth. Robin has only just returned to Queenstown from Sydney, Australia, to visit her dying mother but agrees to help. Slowly, she forges a connection with Tui and learns more about her and her family, but the young girl refuses to reveal the father of her unborn child.

Meanwhile, Tui's father, Matt, is bemused to find a small ad hoc village is created out of container crates on a plot of land known locally as Paradise, land which he believes he owns but has seemingly been sold by local estate agent Bob Platt. Populated by women of a certain age, veterans of love and rejection, the project is financed by rich divorcee Bunny but they are led by GJ, a silver-haired Svengali who administers a bracing form of kindness. Furious and seeking revenge, Matt sends his sons to question Platt, who has betrayed him with the sale.

As Robin continues to investigate Tui's case and learns more about the small town of Laketop, her world starts to unravel, uncovering difficult secrets from her past.

Note: this episode guide is based on the original 6x58min version of the series. In the USA it was re-edited into a 7x50min series for the Sundance Channel. The content is the same in both versions.

Cast (order of appearance):

  • Jacqueline Joe as Tui
  • Dra McKay as Delia
  • Luke Buchanan as Jamie
  • Philippa Archibald as School Nurse
  • Jay Ryan as Mark
  • Kip Chapman as Luke
  • Erica Englert as Narelle
  • Peter Mullan as Matt
  • Genevieve Lemon as Bunny
  • Robyn Malcolm as Anita
  • Holly Hunter as GJ
  • Alison Bruce as Anne-Marie
  • Sarah Valentine as Prue
  • Skye Wansey as Grishina
  • Griz Pomirska as The Naked Lady
  • Elisabeth Moss as Robin
  • Robyn Nevin as Jude
  • Calvin Tuteao as Turangi
  • Stephen Lovatt as Officer Pete
  • Gavin Rutherford as Officer Joy
  • Madeleine Sami as Zena
  • David Wenham as Al
  • Benjamin Farry as Officer Lee
  • Sara Allen as Doctor
  • Darren Gilshenan as Bob Platt
  • Michelle Ang as Kimmie
  • Thomas M. Wright as Johnno
  • Lauren Dawes as Mandy
  • Byron Coll as Penguin
  • Jacek Koman as Wolfgang Zanic
  • Edward Campbell as Putty
  • Luke Hawker as Stunt Performer
  • Shayne Blaikie as Stunt Performer
  • Glen Levy as Stunt Performer
  • Aaron Lupton as Stunt Performer