Forget our increasingly tiresome hero ‘Ash’ Ashton (O-T Fagbenle), the real star of The Interceptor, a slapstick farrago of almost every bad 1970s cop series, is Trevor Eve. We haven’t seen nearly enough of him yet. As drugs kingpin Roach, he bestrides the screen like the Colossus of Rhodes – well, the Colossus of Pringle in his canary-yellow golf vest, throwing his weight around his local golf club like a malevolent Alan Partridge. Although manically tearing up the green in a golf cart doesn’t exactly send out the same signals as careering about in a tricked-out Escalade, Trev. Still, it does put the wind up an old school tie club member at the 19th hole, so job done – we do hope you are here to stay.
Why? Because Ash and the rest of the tedious and rather dimwitted Unit are far less scintillating company – particularly Cartwright (Ewan Stewart), Ash’s boss, an unremittingly tetchy Scotwho is a total Home Office jobsworth. He seems to have one function – to remind all his operatives that they are taking up space in expensive real estate so it is incumbent upon them to pull down the untouchables at the top of the food chain without creating messy complications by busting mere foot soldiers.
But he might have a basis for all his paranoid whinging; after he goes cap-in-hand to his government paymasters Met top brass Alistair Stannard (Simon Armstrong) warns him that he’s trying to shut his vanity op down. Poison, we discover, is being poured into Stannard’s ear by Unit hottie Kim’s Flying Squad boyfriend. See what we mean? Dim.
Still, Cartwright has given a swivel chair at HQ to Tommy (Robert Lonsdale), Ash’s old colleague who was injured in the opening episode. He’s on phone-tapping duty – a Primark version of The Wire’s Lester Freamon – but he’s not happy about hobbling about on crutches while Ash gets all the action.
Unit is still a fair way away from collaring Roach. Although not too far; it is keeping up with the many pay-as-you-go phones used by his strangely named lieutenant Xavier (Lee Boardman). Xav’s a worried man – getting grief from above and from would-be players on the street. Especially an outfit that is toting retooled Baikel 1ZH79 gas guns all over his pitch. When he meets Fitz (Ryan Calais Cameron) – a would-be Avon Barksdale – to call a truce in Camden Lock, a stand-off ends in the shooting of an innocent teenage bystander – witnessed by his pal Cal (Jack Bence) and Cal’s young siblings.
Much to Cartwright’s chagrin, Ash makes a spectacle of himself by chasing Fitz into the Regent’s Canal – thereby losing any DNA and prints from the weapon. He’s one up on Fitz anyway, who has lost some fingers.
Amazingly, the charmless Ash gets Fitz’s info – after being arrested by uniforms – from sexy Organised Crime Squad DI Gemmill (Jeany Spark), who for some reason takes a shine to him.
Meanwhile, poor Cal’s life has become a nightmare. When his front door is defaced at night and a Molotov cocktail is chucked into the back garden where his little brother and sister are playing, he’s certain he is being targeted by Fitz’s gang for talking to the police. His mother is in hospital and he fears for his family’s lives. All the while he’s being urged by his friend Buster (Theo Barklem-Biggs) to arm himself – he knows where to buy a gun.
In a bargain-basement homage to the gun-in-the-restaurant-bathroom scene in The Godfather, he picks up a Baikel courtesy of Buster, and goes to face down his tormentors at a bowling alley.
But Tommy has been doing his job. Tapping into Cal’s mobile, he begs him not to use the gun. Luckily, Cal complies as the penny drops and he realises Buster has been playing him – and is acting as seller for the wheelchair-bound gunsmith. Even more luckily the gunsmith is an idiot too – his retooled gas guns are lethal and are apt to explode when discharging real rounds. When Buster tries to shoot a raging Cal he is blinded by the blowback.
So, happy endings all round; Cal’s mum’s op went OK and Xav is still in play as a conduit to Mr Big.
Ash’s nice suburban wife Lorna (Jo Joyner) is still in the dark about his new job – he’s made out that he is a boring desk jockey. But kids at her school have tipped her the wink that Miss’s husband was at the Camden shooting. The cogs slowly begin to turn.
For our episode one review, go here