Hilary Swank is at the top of her game in ABC’s new drama series Alaska Daily, which finds Swank’s character, hardcore journalist Eileen Fitzgerald, returning to her Alaskan roots following a professional setback. Swank leads a talented cast comprised of both television veterans and fresh faces including Jeff Perry, Matt Malloy, Grace Dove, Meredith Holzman, Ami Park, Craig Frank, and Pablo Castelblanco. Part Newsroom, part Northern Exposure, Alaska Daily has demonstrated all the makings of a great modern-day American drama within just the first few episodes.
Upon her return to Alaska, Eileen teams up with star reporter Roz Friendly (Dove) to investigate a string of unsolved murders involving Indigenous women of the area. While this is one of the main narratives that have driven the series thus far, it also highlights the real world crisis of Native American and Indigenous women who are either missing or have been murdered with unresolved cases.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the violence perpetrated against Native Americans and Alaskan Natives far exceed the national average, with an estimated 84.3% of women experiencing violence in their lifetime and 56% who say they are a survivor of sexual assault. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the murder rate for women living on reservations is ten times higher than the national average –becoming the the third leading cause of death for Native women.
While the reason behind these unusually high crimes rates is unclear, the series does an amazing job at telling the stories of the victims families and friends left behind in the wake of tragedy. The show also features a short PSA at the end of each episode, reminding viewers that this is, indeed, a real life problem.
Alaska Daily airs Thursdays on ABC and is available for streaming on Hulu.