Landscape Architecture Magazine


“Hey, Mark.”

“They’re trucking a bunch of boxes up to Paradise.”

“What boxes?


“Onto the property?”

“Yeah, heaps of the things.”

“Does Dad know?”

“Dad” is Matt Mitcham, the patriarch of Laketop’s underworld, who lives in a secured A-frame with a drug lab in the basement. Laketop is the scenic setting of Jane Campion’s television mystery series Top of the Lake, which stars Elisabeth Moss as the detective Robin Griffin. The series, set in New Zealand, tracks Detective Griffin’s efforts to find Matt’s pregnant daughter, Tui.

Does Dad know that Bunny, a wealthy divorcee, has bought Paradise, the land he assumed was his birthright? Does Dad know a group of semiclothed women, past menopause, are now making camp in brightly colored shipping containers on the golden moraine meadow of dark Lake Wakatipu, disrupting his male gaze of the virgin high peaks beyond?

Dad knows, and he’s as triggered as Yosemite Sam. Matt and his tattooed boys pile into a pickup and storm the women’s camp, demanding answers about how they came to possess his Paradise. The women intercept the men, attempting to deflect their anger with tea and unsolicited tales of the personal traumas that landed them in Paradise. Matt ignores them, and the camera cuts to the camp’s androgynous leader, GJ (Holly Hunter), who is in the meadow, deep in thought.

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