Review: ‘Home Before Dark’ shines as a mystery with an uncommon type of detective


Photo credit: Apple TV

The Apple TV series "Home Before Dark" was released on April 3. This promotional photo shows Hilde (Brooklynn Prince) and her friends investigating a location.

By Avery Fox, Staff Reporter

Apple TV released the first season of its original series “Home Before Dark,” inspired by the actions of real 9-year-old journalist Hilde Lysiak, on Friday, April 3. The series was created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik. The mystery aspect of the series made it an intriguing and interesting show to watch.

“Home Before Dark” centers around 9-year-old Hilde Lisko, (Brooklynn Prince) who has a photographic memory. At the start of the show, Hilde and her family have just moved from New York to the fictional town of Erie Harbor, Washington. However, when the Liskos get there, Hilde’s father Matt (Jim Sturgess) begins acting differently. One night, Matt’s childhood friend Penny Gillis (Sharon Taylor) is found dead in her house, and Sheriff Frank Briggs (Louis Herthum) is more than ready to declare her death an accident. Based on the way the town’s residents are acting, Hilde knows that Penny’s death isn’t that simple.

While investigating and writing for her townwide news website, Hilde soon finds out that Penny’s brother Sam (Michael Greyeyes) is at the heart of Erie Harbor’s most terrifying case to date. Back when Matt was a child, the mayor’s son Richie (Kiefer O’Reilly) was abducted and assumed to have been murdered by Sam. However, a tape showing Richie’s abduction resurfaces, and Hilde and her mother Bridget (Abby Miller) discover that the reason Matt has been acting strangely since the move is because he was right there when Richie was taken, as he was Richie’s childhood best friend.

Believing that Sam was wrongfully accused, Hilde and her fellow reporter friends Donny Davis (Jibrail Nantambu) and Wesley Witherspoon (Deric McCabe) set out to solve Penny’s murder and to prove that Sam is innocent.

Apple TV


The unraveling of the mystery is shown in real-time through the eyes of Hilde and through flashbacks to the year of Richie’s abduction. Most of the time, the latter is shown from Matt’s perspective.

The cliffhangers at the end of each episode made the show easy to keep watching. Most of the time, the next episode picks up exactly where the previous episode left off. With the whole season already released, this gave the effect of the story keeping on and continuing.

However, with the exception of the ending, the series follows the structure of an average mystery. Hilde seamlessly progresses in solving all the cases, big and small. Additionally, Hilde is a little too good to be true if you are viewing the series through a realistic lens. As a result, this part of the show was very predictable.

The actors also portrayed their roles extremely well. Brooklynn Prince, who is best known for her role in the 2017 film The Florida Project, is amazing and realistic in her portrayal of Hilde. In one scene, she is extremely believable in her portrayal of a cheerful and youthful 9-year-old girl, but in the next, she is just as persuasive playing a more mature version of the same character.

While the show isn’t realistic, the series’ young female lead highlights the idea that anyone can make a difference in their community. In the series, Hilde had all the odds against her since barely anyone trusted or believed anything she was saying. Moreover, no one was willing to tell Hilde anything because she is 9 years old and her family was seen as being out of place because of Matt’s actions when he was younger. But through it all, Hilde’s determination that led her to progress in the case’s mystery illuminates that anyone can accomplish even the most extraordinary tasks.

“Home Before Dark” is available to watch on Apple TV.

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact


Nine-year-old journalist Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) and her family have just moved to the fictional Erie Harbor, Washington. Following the murder of her father Matt’s (Jim Sturgess) childhood friend, Hilde decides to investigate. This leads her to discover that her father is right in the center of a mystery that the town has buried for decades.