Review: The Interceptor (S1 E5/8), Wednesday 8th July, BBC1

Programme Name: The Interceptor - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 5) - Picture Shows:  Roach (TREVOR EVE) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Des Willie

Here we are over the halfway line and deliverance is in sight. Yes, it has seemed an eternity, but The Interceptor has only three hours of life left (in this series at least). Those few of us who have risked our sanity by persevering with this drama in the hope that it will suddenly jolt into its stride? Step away from the edge. 

Narcotics Mr Big Roach (Trevor Eve), still desperately trying to drum up cash to set him up for a sit-down on the Costa del Crime, is running out of product. Having lost the Norwegian heroin connection last week, he has made an ill-advised move down-market into pills being cooked by another London crew, headed by grizzled veteran rave operator Scooter (Dexter Fletcher, yet another decent actor self-flagellating on this altar of despair). In an amazing flash of unoriginality the gang’s cover is a pizza joint run by South Americans. 

A teenage girl dies after scoring from a tainted batch – not the best PR, as it is the second pill-related death in recent days. Customers dropping dead is not fazing Roach’s money-making focus – or doing much to mitigate his infamously explosive temper. Henchman Docker (Gary Beadle) probably doesn’t need to make holiday plans. 

However, the Ecstasy pushers’ ‘cook’ Marvin (Harry Kershaw), a cross between Walter White and Mary Berry, has a hissy fit when he finds out his ‘safe’ high-quality recipe has been changed – making it even more toxic. Never mind the quality, feel the width, says Scooter, who later stamps him into a paste in an underpass, passing pill-cooking duties to a gormless sidekick. 

The police, naturally, are struggling to find the source of the lethal batch. When the Unit unearths a link between the pills and the gang they’ve long been investigating, the boss, Scots jobsworth Cartwright (Ewan Stewart) agrees this should be pursued, but in the next breath again starts banging on about keeping their powder dry for getting higher up the organisation. No one desires this more than Ash (O-T Fagbenle), but he’s also for piling in to stop more pills hitting the streets. 

However, he and lady cop Gemmill (Jeany Spark) must connive to stop their respective bosses from going handbags at dawn over an internal affairs investigation into corruption at Barren Street nick back in the ’80s that resulted in the death of a bent cop. 

The appealing fall guys in this episode are doe-eyed affianced couple Paolo and Valentina. He is a pizza delivery lad who is forced into pill delivery when his colleague Carlos is nicked for dishing out E to the dead teen. Valentina is preggers so when Paolo is knocked off his bike by a car and later captured by Unit, she is ripe for being kidnapped in the final 20 minutes and stashed in Scooter’s abandoned warehouse so he can pretend he’s in Reservoir Dogs.

Had you fallen asleep a few minutes in, you’d have known exactly where the storyline was if you had awakened at 9.45pm – that’s when all Unit troops get up on Tommy’s wire and the car chases begin. You could literally set your watch by the plotting. Oh, the formulaic tedium. 

Ash’s informant Smoke, ‘Sarf’ London’s portly answer to Huggy Bear, is forced to babysit Paolo while Ash and co dash off to find Valentina – just in time naturally – and yet again it’s Ash in fisticuffs with protagonist of the week.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kim’s ex-bloke (Supt Stannard’s mole) is still trying to find out Unit secrets, lolling around her flat in his pants watching Top Gear reruns on Dave. At home, Ash is jumping at the slightest sound – yes, it will be Docker breaking down the door very soon. On the bright side, though, Ash has bonded over a Scotch with Cartwright (who was revealed as a former cop in charge of probing Barren Street) because Scooter’s arrest gets Unit closer to Roach. So will the pair be all kissy-kissy from now on? Doubt it.

Deborah Shrewsbury

For our episode one review, go here

For our episode two review, go here

For our episode three review, go here

For our episode four review, go here

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