High Desert — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Peggy’s primary case is against “Guru” Bob, a news anchor-turned-scam artist selling fake Picasso and Cézanne paintings. Homeland’s straight-faced Rupert Friend is a surprising farcical force as the long-haired, ingratiating Bob, whose healing motto is “Everything is stupid.” (Maybe he has a point.) Peggy and Bob’s grievances spiral out of control over time as she tries to solve whether he killed his missing wife. The show sporadically loses focus by stretching out this mystery into different tangents—but the comedy remains on-point.


High Desert primarily derives humor from everyone in Peggy’s life reacting to her nonsense: her family’s exasperation, Bruce’s wide-eyed shock, her Pioneertown boss Owen’s (Eric Petersen) bewilderment, her longtime friend Carol’s (Weruche Opia) loyalty, and her husband Denny’s (Matt Dillon) own brand of chaos. Recently released from prison, Denny ropes her into the illegal activities she’s hoping to escape. The supporting cast is solid, although Carol and Bruce don’t have fully fleshed-out personalities, and are primarily being used instead to prop up Peggy.

The show might not be everyone’s cup of tea because it demands fortitude. While the early episodes are enjoyable, High Desert shapes itself into a more insightful version over the remaining tightly paced outings. It’s not a meditation on grief exactly, but it presents a resonant depiction of what it’s like to lose an adored loved one, promptly lose your mind, and then claw your way back to reality. And Arquette channels all of it beautifully.


High Desert premieres May 17 on Apple TV+