And the top-quality crime dramas just keep on coming. It has been chock-a-block since the turn of the year and, as hardy perennials like Midsomer Murders and Death In Paradise shuffle off into the middle-distance, new series are starting up. At the end of this month there are three new crime dramas of note, and one of them has the potential to be something very special indeed.
First things first. The second series of Grantchester, the 1950s-set drama based on the books by James Runcie, kicks off again. James Norton reprises his role as Sidney Chambers, the charismatic, charming, crime-fighting clergyman, and Robson Green also returns as his partner in crime, Detective Inspector Geordie Keating, in the second series of Grantchester. Series two of Grantchester begins on Wednesday 2nd March, 9pm, ITV.
Next up is Murder. There was a stand-alone drama back in 2012, which was directed by The Killing’s Birger Larsen, and presented a murder case in almost documentary fashion – a couple of protagonists spoke directly to camera, interview-style, revealing their own roles in a murder case. It wasn’t clear whodunit until the final scenes, when we found out who was telling the truth. Now it has been expanded into a three-part series, and in this opening episode it tells another story from three different viewpoints.
When Rafe Carey’s body is washed up by the River Tweed, it looks like he’s drowned in a tragic accident on a day of extreme weather.
He and his brother-in-law Leo Durridge were swept away when the section of riverbank they were fishing from collapsed. Leo fought his way to the shallows and is in hospital with cuts and bruises – Rafe wasn’t so lucky. But when detective Corinne Evans investigates, she finds the cause of Rafe’s death isn’t drowning at all – he’s been stabbed through the heart, and Leo is the prime suspect. While he claims that he and Rafe were the only ones by the river on that stormy day, but a witness says he heard three voices, and forensic examination of the scene reveals three sets of bootprints.
You can watch Murder on Thursday 3rd March, 9pm, BBC2.
Finally we have something a bit special. Thirteen tells the story of Ivy Moxam, who escapes from the cellar, her prison for the last 13 years. After she makes a desperate 999 call from a phone box, Ivy is picked up by the police and taken to be interviewed. With no precedent to follow, DI Elliott Carne and DS Lisa Merchant question Ivy to see if she is who she claims to be while they wait for official DNA confirmation. But before they can confirm her identity, news of her escape is leaked and the police rush to contact the Moxam family before they hear it from the press. When the family is reunited, younger sister Emma is the only person with doubts; mother Christina and estranged father Angus need no proof that Ivy is their daughter.
Judging by the first episode, it’s an incredibly moving, tense and brilliantly plotted drama, with an astonishing lead performance from Jodie Comer as Ivy. You can see this from Sunday 28th February on BBC3 (online only, now).
With all this incredible stuff on, we may never leave the house again.