Family Matters: A Review of Netflix’s Bloodline

By Donna Arp Weitzman | @DonnaAWeitzman |

We find ourselves in the middle of the “peak TV” era, with fantastic show upon fantastic show available to us via several platforms; from your traditional cable box to streaming services, the best of today’s television series are the press of a button away.  Accomplished author, columnist, businesswoman and civic leader Donna Arp Weitzman offers her take on a Netflix series that has her attention…

Photo Credit: Netflix

Photo Credit: Netflix

Netflix continually features great shows and Bloodline is one of my favorites.  The theme of complete and utter family dysfunction is displayed with every scene, while snippets of darker family secrets tantalize your psyche.

Sissy Spacek plays Sally Rayburn, the all-knowing yet desperately loving mother and matriarch.  She is painfully aware of her children's dark sides, but forges on with a half-hearted smile and determination to believe the positive.

Her eldest, Danny, the prodigal son, is played by Ben Mendelsohn.  Danny's sinister soul sent chills up my spine.  He begged to be hated, yet somehow wormed his way into making his siblings feel responsible and guilty if they didn't succumb to his mean-spirited demands.

John (Kyle Chandler), second son in line, is beset with guilt for reasons unknown to the viewer, although occasional flashes of his life while a boy pairs him with action scenes with brother, Danny. You know there is some deed lurking in the past that has incessantly haunted him.  His innards want to hate and despise Danny, but his innate sense of a do-gooder pleads him into forgiveness for Danny at every turn.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Photo Credit: Netflix

Meg, played by Linda Cardellini, is the bright lawyer in the family.  In my opinion, she is the weakest character, always thrusting herself into situations and throwing her legal knowledge into any mix. Bloodline seems to typecast Meg as a strong, bright woman purposefully just to appease us girls!

The fourth and most unpredictable sibling is the man-child, Kevin.  Norbert Leo Butz plays the hot-headed, unforgiving baby of the family.  His every sentence insults Danny, albeit rightly so.
With total disdain for his oldest brother, Kevin has a minor role for the first season.

Dad, expertly played by Sam Shepard, dies in the first season.  His demise opens the flood gates to a void in the family.  Danny, who openly berated his father and played up to Mom, decides to move in with Mom upon his father’s burial.  It is obvious Danny plans to get more than a share of the family business heretofore run by Mom and Dad.  Mom seems happy to have a male shoulder to help run the Floridian beachside inn, Rayburn House, as it requires a strong handyman much of the time.

The show uses the tag line “we’re not bad people, but we did a bad thing” and I look forward to uncovering more family secrets when the series returns for season two.

Bloodline is a critically acclaimed and award nominated drama and Netflix Original Series. The much-anticipated second season premiered May 27th and was released in its entirety. Prepare to binge.