Ever since 1st January, we’ve had a glut of crime dramas of varying quality – those comfy staples like Midsomer Murders and Death In Paradise that serve as entertaining romps rather than stomach-knotting, dark masterpieces. They all have their place, but we’re nearing the end of that January run of series, with a new batch of dramas waiting in the wings. We have Happy Valley starting up next week on BBC1, but over on BBC2 there are two new crime dramas that are both headline-grabbing and intriguing in equal measure. And they’ve both had their transmission dates confirmed today.
There’s no doubt about it, this one is going to be an addictive, headline-grabbing watch, featuring as it does an all-star cast and a celebrity-based true crime angle. Based on the book The Run Of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, the series of the same name (add on the American Crime Story suffix to the book’s title) explores the chaotic, behind-the-scenes dealings and manoeuvring on both sides of the case, and how a combination of the prosecution’s over-confidence, the defence’s shrewdness, and the Los Angeles Police Department’s incendiary history with the city’s African-American community, gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.
Starring Cuba Gooding Jr as O.J. Simpson, John Travolta as defence attorney Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as defence attorney Robert Kardashian, Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran.
The series starts on: Monday 15th February, 9pm, BBC2.
Now comes for the real if more understated intriguing one. One Child tells the story of Mei (Katie Leung) who, adopted as a baby from China, has had a contented upbringing in the UK. She’s grown up knowing little about her beginnings, but is the love of her parent’s life.
Out of the blue Mei gets a message from a journalist in China called Pan Qianyi, who tells Mei that her birth mother wants to meet her. She is desperate for Mei’s help. Her son, Ajun, the brother Mei has never met or even knew existed, is on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Suddenly questions of abandonment and identity overwhelm Mei. Qianyi asks her to come to Guangzhou immediately. Telling her adoptive parents only that her mother wants to meet her, Mei is relieved when they agree she should go and must take this journey alone.
The three-part series starts on Wednesday 17th February, 9pm, BBC2.