Before the pilot ends there’s one death Hilde deems suspicious – the cops, of course, do not – and that opens up a mystery about her father’s childhood in the town.
Hilde, who’s memorized the dialogue from “All the President’s Men,” comes off as a bit of a conspiracy nut who sees criminal activity everywhere, including a man digging a hole in his yard. But this is the type of show where odds are the protagonist is going to be right most of the time.
“Home Before Dark” is not exactly subtle. A policeman literally pats Hilde on the head and later acts dismissively toward Hilde and a woman police officer. A commenter on one of Hilde’s online stories writes, “Cute little girls aren’t supposed to be journalists. Stick to tea parties.”
All of that is accurate – the real Hilde faced age and gender discrimination -- but it happens in such close proximity in the first hour, written by series showrunners Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, that it comes off as overly calculated and a little too much at once. Put it this way, "Home Before Dark" puts its thumb on the scale in favor of Hilde but Hilde's a great, grounded character who doesn't need the kid gloves treatment.
Prince (pictured above) is a real find and Hilde’s relationship with her father forms a heartwarming backbone for the series. But the tone is confusing: Too dark to be a family show, even though it has a family at the core, “Home Before Dark” offers a dark mystery plot instead.