I'm just curious: does anyone else share the sentiment that Kevin Hanchard's portrayal of Art Bell is, by far, the worst performance of the show?
I think his acting makes the character come across as unbelievably one-dimensional: he simply angry all the time. And we're not talking about the "life issues underlying my personality" anger (which I would take as acceptable), but rather, the "I'm on the razor's edge of popping a blood vessel" angry.
For me, this has almost become distracting, as it is just not realistic, and prevents the character from developing any dept or sympathy. Art Bell iliteraly growls every word he says, and wears a constant hyper-angry scowl, even while just sitting down to have lunch with his partner Beth (really Sarah).
Am I being too harsh here? Do you think the wrtiers intended this character to be portrayed in this unrealistic manner? I'm curious to hear any other thoughts.
I don't see it that way. The character is a detective (apparently a good one) who is edgy because of the predicament he's in with Beth's shooting of Maggie Chen. In the pilot episode, the big show really starts with the main character's (Sarah impersonating Beth) first encounter with Art outside Beth's condo. This was the first real test of Sarah's scam, not only for her, but for the audience. When the Art character first appears, we see a veteran cop who is pissed off about something important, and his interaction with Sarah as Beth clearly shows that he knows Beth well, and that he has absolutely no clue that the woman he's scolding and pushing into the car is not Beth. To me, this was a very important scene for the series, because the audience sees the effectiveness of Sarah's deception. I thought the actor Hanchard played this key scene beautifully. As the show progresses, Det. Bell does indeed remain a rough, scowling presence, but the writers have slowly revealed more dimensions of the character and the Bell-Childs relationship. Bell clearly cares (cared!) about Beth Childs, but seems to have kept things professional, partly because he's a good cop and partly because the character is basicaly a hard-ass who doesn't like to admit that he cares. This inner tension is what eats at the Bell character.. he's in trouble now because he cared about Beth enough to step over the line. For me at least, Hanchard has played this conflicted character really well.
I would bet that the Bell character's hard exterior is a set-up for a dramatic story line later on (Season 2?) where he and Sarah become allies, something like the way Paul is on Sarah's side now (I think... don't yet trust him completely). Same thing with the Felix-Alison relationship. That they are becoming close now is compelling and funny because Alison was first introduced as a one-dimensional uptight soccer mom, who thought that Sarah and Felix were low-lifes.
I have to stifle a giggle every time i hear the name Art Bell in connection to his character. all i can think of is the real Art Bell from the UFO era (aka 1990s overnight radio show Coast to Coast!) If you don't know who I'm referring to look into it and you'll chuckle too!
What I want to know, does he not check his messages on his phone?! Didn't Sarah leave a message on his phone telling him who she really was? I'm lost!
Sarah left a message on her/Beth's phone, thinking that she wouldn't survive her encounter with Helena. That's why she said "Art, if you're hearing this, then you found the body," or something like that.