Review: No Offence (S1 E3/8), Tuesday 19th May, Channel 4

Ep 3

It’s not often a wedding cake is decorated with a swastika, but then it’s not often the bridegroom is nicked on suspicion of a murderous racist arson attack at his wedding reception. DI Deering doesn’t hesitate to take a bite out of the fascist fondant before bringing proceedings to a halt, and suspect Jimmy Webb has a poor alibi – he says he was on his stag do, and too pissed to carry out the attack.

A girl has died in the arson attack, and when it transpires that Jimmy was a loanshark and the dead girl’s husband Majid owed him money, it looks like Jimmy’s in the frame; CCTV of a white man filling a petrol can looks damning.

But Jimmy comes up with an alibi in the form of a convincing transvestite, and Dinah re-examines the CCTV and comes to an astounding conclusion; that the suspect is wearing a prosthetic disguise. In fact it was Majid who burned down the house – but was it for the insurance, or as he claims because his wife was a feminist, and he’s a drug-crazed jihadi?

As racial tension tears the streets, Joy has to tear down Majid’s defence, and finally enrages him to the point where he confesses that he killed his wife for the life insurance he’d taken out on her.

Meanwhile, with two Downs Syndrome girls dead and a third girl in a fugue state, Dr Peep (a brilliantly mannered and rat-like performance from Kate O’Flynn) points the cops to a theatre group, where Tanner finds out that dead girl Lucy had a boyfriend who had dumped her on the day she vanished.

While Dinah’s on-off boyfriend inveigles himself into the house, recovering victim Cathy also gets a visit from her boyfriend, tearaway Alpha. He claims no knowledge of her abduction or that of the dead girls, and Dinah trusts him enough to let him spend time with Cathy.  But when another Down’s girl goes missing, it’s clear that the killer is back in action.

Paul Tomalin’s script is as sharp as ever with the Northerisms coming thick and fast, and this week’s Two Girls One Cup moment comes when Dinah and Joy share a toilet seat for a conference.

But it’s not the most satisfying episode yet – Dinah leaps to the conclusion about the disguise implausibly quickly based on the suspect’s physical tics, and it’s daft that the suspect keeps the mask in his safe.

However, we do get a nice little aside into Viv’s private life when we see her bonding with musician husband Laurie in the recording studio he’s building in their cellar. She also gets to quote Walt Whitman (well, Dead Poets Society anyway), and supporting characters Tegan and Stuart get a look-in too.

No Offence is developing into a well-rounded ensemble piece rather than the DI Viv Show, and is the better for it.

Deborah Shrewsbury

For our episode one review, go here

For our episode two review, go here

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