I’m happy to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this episode. Knowing HBO’s penchant for gratuitous nudity, the prospect of Ani Bezzerides going undercover at an Eyes Wide Shut-style sex party made me uneasy. I was expecting wall-to-wall, highly stylised cavorting the likes of which would make Game Of Thrones blush. Throughout these past few episodes the developing strip-club-high-class-prostitution-ring-blackmail-scam-Eastern-European-gangster storyline has felt clichéd and something we’ve seen before time and time again in US crime drama, both on the big and small screens. We’ve seen these storylines in LA Confidential (the high-class prostitution rings), in Chinatown (especially the brief storyline of the contaminating of farm land, one of many storylines that seems to have come and gone in this series) and countless others, and now we’re seeing it again and all of it at once.
It’s 1952, and the Beresfords, prissy Tommy (David Walliams) and nosey Prudence, known as “Tuppence” (Jessica Raine, Call the Midwife) are in Paris – we know that because of a poorly CGI’d Eiffel Tower – on their way back to London after an expedition to buy a queen bee (Tommy knows all about queens, he says – ahem). While Tuppence reads a Dorothy L. Sayers novel (she also references Conan Doyle and John Buchan), a mysterious stranger, Jane Finn, hides a package in their luggage, before being chased off by a murderous birthmarked assassin.
Say what you like about New Tricks (and plenty of people have), but you can’t deny that it’s an absolute ratings juggernaut, consistently pulling in over eight million UK viewers per episode. Like the lamentable Death In Paradise (sorry, not a fan), there’s something formulaic and comforting about the series, which in this age of complex, twisty-turny, dark dramas is no bad thing. It’s coming to the end of its run and now the BBC has announced the transmission date for its 12th and final series, and there seems to be plenty going on.
We’ve already carried a story expressed mild excitement at the premise of the David Duchovny drama, Aquarius (see it here), so it’s great news that the series has been snapped up by Sky Atlantic for UK transmission. Although it hasn’t been getting huge audiences in the US and good but not great critical acclaim, it’s still a period cop drama set in an era where free love and liberal revolution was just starting to turn sour.
Two-thousand-and-thirteen’s Top Of The Lake was one of the better crime dramas in recent years. Created and directed by Oscar-winning director Jane Campion, the series was shot in beautiful New Zealand and this landscape produced a sublime, complex and dream-like series. It starred Mad Men actress Elizabeth Moss as Detective Robin Griffin, an Australian police woman called in to investigate the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. It also featured unforgettable performances from Holly Hunter, David Wenham and Peter Mullan. News has been floating around of a second series for a while now (see here for our original news story), but now we know that Moss will be returning for series two.
Ash is out of hospital after a beating at the hands of Roach’s associate Yorkie, more determined than ever to get to the big man now that’s he’s spoken to him for the first time. But with his cover blown, he’s sidelined. After his minor faux pas of asking his kids to follow Docker, Ash no longer has the support of his family, any more than he has the support of his boss Cartwright, who’s paranoid about having his department closed down. He does have a lead, though; Docker, Roach’s lieutenant. But Docker’s lifestyle seems to be strangely clean, and his meetings with Roach are unobserved.