I’ve caught up with the final episode of Hidden, which I’ve reviewed here before, and also seen another recent BBC TV crime show, The Field of Blood. The contrast between the two was striking.
Hidden first. It was full of action and plot developments, but it all became pretty incoherent. A sad waste of the talents of a cast that included David Suchet as well as the charismatic Philip Glenister. Disappointing.
The Field of Blood, unlike Hidden, was not originally written for TV. It was a two-parter adapted from a novel by a talented author, Denise Mina, though I haven’t read it. Set in 1982, the story concerns a young woman, Paddy Meehan, who is keen to make her way in journalism. The abduction and murder of a young boy gives her a chance. But her own youthful cousin becomes a suspect.
The script was an odd mixture. There were some good lines, but the first episode was painfully slow at times, and there was a weird and monotonous insistence that Paddy was fat and plain. Jayd Johnson, who played Paddy, is certainly neither. And I also felt the repellent sexism of the newspapermen was rather unsubtly depicted.
But the pace picked up, and the second episode was excellent. David Morrissey and Peter Capaldi, in relatively small parts for such notable actors, were very good, but Jayd Johnson was at the centre of everything that worked best. And the story had some interesting things to say about families - also a theme of Hidden. The Field of Blood tried to do less than Hidden, but in the end made much more of an impact.