Monday, 31 March 2014

The Widower, DCI Banks, Line of Duty, and other TV crime dramas

The Widower, written by Jeff Pope, and based on a true story, is the latest of the crime dramas coming so thick and fast on British television screens at the moment that I'm finding it difficult to keep up. The first two (of three) episodes have been quite gripping, even though the story follows, in some ways, a slightly predictable pattern. Reece Shearsmith plays the eponymous nurse, yet another of those menacing medical professionals who exploits the availability of drugs in hospitals for nefarious purposes. Sheridan Smith plays his first wife and victim with her customary excellence, and all in all this is a good example of how true crime can be turned into very watchable faction.

I've managed to catch up with another two-parter in the DCI Banks series. Bad Boy benefited from a taut and very well-constructed script by Catherine Tregenna, and the highly effective way in which Banks' personal dilemmas were integrated with the main kidnapping plot, and a sub-plot about a bungled police operation meant that this was probably the most gripping entry in the series so far.

I really ought to have said more about Line of Duty, Jed Mercurio's excellent six-parter about corrupt police officers, which came to an end recently. Keeley Hawes was superb, but so was the cast as a whole, making the most of a convoluted story that cleverly combined in-depth characterisation with twisty plotting. I missed the first series of Line of Duty, which I now very much regret. This was really good telly.

All this and other shows ranging from Shetland and Vera (both of which occupy similar territory to DCI Banks), and the excellent Sherlock to the cosier entertainments supplied by Jonathan Creek, Father Brown and Death in Paradise, and imported shows such as the very good Salamander and the promising Inspector De Luca mean that there is something for all crime fans on the box at the moment. The admirable Lewis may have ended, but a new series of the very well written Endeavour is imminent. I haven't even mentioned American shows such as Elementary and True Detective - and that's because, I must admit, I simply haven't had time to take a look at them.

Anyway, I'll be away from the television for a few days as I go on my travels, but I've scheduled posts for Wednesday and Friday as usual. I may not have internet access,so forgive me if I'm slow to post or reply to any comments - but I will of course always delighted to hear your views. 


Jamie Sturgeon said...

Martin, ITV have commissioned a new series of Lewis,

Nan said...

I was recently told about tunnelbear, a way to watch British television, and my husband and I are in viewing heaven. Finally I'll be able to watch some of the wonderful shows you write about! Just watched parts 2 and 3 of the Johnny Worriker set which began with Page Eight.

Propagatrix said...

I can vouch for TRUE DETECTIVE. Stunning and very, very, very dark.

Martin Edwards said...

Jamie,thanks,that is very good news.

Martin Edwards said...

Nan, I'm glad to hear it.
Propagatrix, thanks, good to know this.