While Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes had sworn off the fairer sex – leading to all sorts of literary speculation about his proclivities – Elementary’s Sherlock has a rather too-much-information tendency to trumpet his bedroom athletics. So when he gets out the ‘sex blanket’ – yewww! – and books Watson three days in a luxury hotel, she’s probably well advised to make herself scarce.
Megan Abbott could be my favourite contemporary writer. Starting off in the more traditional spheres of period noir, her early books like Die A Little, The Song Is You, Queenpin and Bury Me Deep showcased sharp, clipped rhythms and expert studies in manipulation steeped in familiar noir tropes. But what made that quartet different was that the stories added real psychological depth to the rat-a-tat styles and characterisations only hinted at in traditional mid-century noirs. It was noir, but it was super-charged noir with contemporary twists, always accompanied with a tension that frizzed all the way through. Since those early successes Abbott has gone on to write three more sensational novels, this time featuring them (more or less) in the present day. Her last two stories (Dare Me and The Fever) demonstrate what she does best – explore how fear affects groups of friends and communities, and how situations can quickly paranoia, guilt, humiliation and manipulation can start to take over. The good news is that her stunning cheerleader drama, Dare Me, is being made into a film, and now her most recent book, The Fever is being turned into a TV series.
In many ways, Gotham is like a Western – you get cowboys with white hats, cowboys with black hats, and the city-dwellers caught in the middle. Then a two-fisted sheriff rides into town to stand up and fight for what’s right – and Jim Gordon is that sheriff. Trouble is, the hats worn by his deputies are kinda grey.
Last week’s Safe House opener left me a bit cold. By the end of it I didn’t feel I had much of a connection with either Chris Eccleston’s traumatised ex-copper Robert and his wife Katy (Marsha Thomason) who were running the safe house in the middle of the Lake District, or the grumpy and ungrateful family they were caring for. And then there was the fact that I just didn’t buy it: I didn’t buy the fact that Robert’s wife Katy agreed so readily to turn her home into a refuge for the threatened after she had lived through what had happened to her husband’s last stab at protecting someone, and I didn’t buy Paterson’s Joseph’s copper Mark trying to bring back a man so obviously traumatised back into the fray. What kind of best mate would do that? But it’s never a good idea to give up after a first episode, especially with something that was well made and wasn’t exactly bad. And so it proved…
It’s always exciting when a new series starts to take shape, especially when it’s something as good as Line Of Duty. Jed Mercurio’s teeth-grindingly tense mega-hit saw both Lennie James and subsequently Keeley Hawes take on the ambiguous roles of characters who were investigated by the AC-12 department. We already know that Daniel Mays plays the third character to come under scrutiny in this new series, and now we know more about his (potentially) corrupt team.
This Wednesday (29th April) the seventh series of Inspector George Gently starts up, comprising four, new, feature-length episodes. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of Newky Brown but it’s one of my favourites, blending as it does police procedural with social realism and shifting cultural sands of the late 1960s. Here, one half of the police pairing, Martin Shaw, talks about the new series.
When much-loved family man and all-round pillar of the community Owen Thorne does a header off a multi-storey car park after picking up his foster daughter Lila from her school prom, no one can throw light on who could have such a beef with him. Even more puzzling, he has bruising consistent with a previous fight.