Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Hidden - TV review

A downmarket, dogged criminal lawyer called Harry works in a scruffy city backstreet. Harry has been damaged by the death of someone very close to him and has a troubled love life, as well as an eye for a pretty woman. When he gets dragged into a murky case involving the murder of an attractive woman, he visits a gym as part of his enquiries, and runs into more trouble for his pains.

These were all elements of my first novel, All the Lonely People, so I was intrigued to see them reprised in the new four part BBC TV thriller Hidden, by Ronan Bennett. Hey, I knew my story-line was a good one! Joking apart, I won't be sueing for plagiarism, because in fact what Bennett has written is not a whodunit but a conspiracy thriller, with a political dimension (a bit like Take My Breath Away!) And Bennett's Harry is known to some of his mates as 'H', which reminded me of Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday.

All this shows, of course, is that there's nothing new in the world. Bennett has, however, tried to give the material a fresh feel by interweaving several convoluted plot elements, with copious flashbacks. A great deal of suspension of disbelief is required, especially when a mystery woman claiming improbably to be a lawyer offers Harry a large sum of money to find a man. In the Google era, it takes seconds to discover that she is not who she claims to be. As for the political storyline (is the Prime Minister the victim of a plot orchestrated by his smug colleague?), it struck me as not much more authentic than the portrayal of legal life.

And yet there's something about Hidden that encourages me to watch episode 2. That something is the presence of Philip Glenister, a very enjoyable actor, in the role of Harry. He carries the whole thing along with his usual rugged charm. I'm not sure I care much about the various mysteries, but I'll be interested to see how Bennett weaves all the strands together.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like one of those cases where an interesting character can keep a reader reading or a viewer viewing. Hope the series improves a bit for the next episode.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. It's a series with definite potential, I think, but it does rely heavily on one terrific actor.