Thursday, 18 October 2012

DCI Banks: Strange Affair - review

DCI Banks' latest two-parter, Strange Affair, concluded unexpectedly yesterday. I say "unexpectedly", because for twenty minutes it seemed perfectly clear in which direction the story was heading, and the dialogue felt equally predictable. Yet, all of a sudden, the narrative motored off in a new direction, and I found myself enjoying it very much indeed.

This owes much, of course, to the strength of the plot in Peter Robinson's book on which the adaptation was based. But there was also fine work from a strong cast in which Stephen Tompkinson was at his most anguished and Caroline Catz at her spikiest, while Keith Barron was excellent as Banks's dad. In the end, the story posed a moral dilemma which I'd really not seen coming, and this device worked very well. Importantly, it didn't feel contrived.

Another pleasing feature, for me, of this episode was an element of nostalgia, in that I recognised a couple of locations. After I left law college, I spent a couple of years working in Leeds, a time when money was, to put it mildly, in short supply. I left Yorkshire to work in Liverpool, but I remain a great fan of the White Rose county, and DCI Banks makes good use of the Yorkshire setting, even though it is, admittedly, slightly less dramatic that that of, say, Lewis or Vera.

DCI Banks is, I think,starting to develop into a very good series, and it's reassuring to know that, because Peter Robinson has been so prolific and consistent over the years, there are plenty of story-lines to come. I look forward to the next instalment.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - It's very good to hear this series is going well. It's not available yet in the U.S. but I hope it will be soon.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Margot.

Kim D said...

Margot - I don't know if you've seen the episodes yet, but if not, here's a link to them via an Idaho station. As long as you're in the States, you can watch them all. Idaho public TV wanted US viewers to have access to the shows in support of fine programming. Cheers then that they do. I burned the midnight oil for these and loved them all.