So far, The Level boils down to a question of who we trust, and who we don’t. Of course, we can’t entirely trust Nancy herself, but then neither can her colleagues.
We’re after two villains; a murderer, and a mole in the detective squad. Of the cops, it can’t be Gunner – that would be too obvious. He’s been conniving with Nancy’s dad, he doesn’t trust Nancy, he disappeared before Kettler died, he has a previous connection with Eagle Repairs, he obstructs Nancy’s pursuit when Kettler’s missing car is found, and he seems to have removed some surveillance photos. Nah, it’s all too obvious, surely it will turn out that he has a hidden agenda – maybe he’s undercover for Customs and Excise or Professional Standards – hunting the mole rather than betraying the team himself.
Nancy’s dad must know more than he’s letting on, but with both hands injured he’s not in much of a position to plot. What with the Scottish accent – which Nancy doesn’t seem to haver picked up at all – we reckon he’s going to turn out to have a heart of gold, and will be less of a villain than he’s made himself appear.
No, while we reckon Nancy’s boss Newman is going to turn out to have feet of clay, we still reckon that Nancy’s ex-boyfriend Kevin is going to turn out to be the mole. Firstly he’s playing too nice, and secondly we can imagine the scene where an incredulous Nancy finds out that even the man she kind-of loves has betrayed her.
As for the killer, we don’t think it can be Le Saux’s wife Cherie. If our theory is right, and he’s still alive and trying to find out who tried to kill him, Cherie (assuming she was asked to identify the body) must have misidentified it deliberately. She knows he’s still alive and that someone else is trying to kill him, so it can’t be her.
Clearly it isn’t daughter Hayley or son Tate, who are now embroiled in an argument over who inherits the haulage business. Hayley’s too screwed up and Tate’s too simple to orchestrate a murder plot.
Shay Nash is an old friend of Hayley’s and is sympathising with her plight, but he’s had dealings with Le Saux and Kettler, obviously something dishonest, and is clearly looking for a Mysterious Thing (please don’t let it be a memory stick). He’s obviously a Bad Person, and probably a drug importer, but given that Joe Absolom usually plays characters who are troubled but basically innocent, we reckon he’s not guilty of the murders.
Elliot, owner of Eagle Repairs, may well be involved with the mystery truck and its presumably contraband cargo, but is he sophisticated enough to have planned a series of killings, and clued up enough to be stalking Nancy? We think not.
No, so far our money is on the devious Darryl Quinn, who has inveigled himself into Le Saux’s good books, befriended Tate, bedded Hayley, and lied about receiving a phone call from Le Saux – we reckon all these little pointers are going to add up to a major revelation. Maybe he isn’t who he claims to be?
Of course, the net is also closing in on Nancy – it’s now known that Le Saux was meeting a woman on the night he ‘died’, and his phone has been found, containing the number of her ‘burner’. More to the point, DNA evidence shows that the woman he met, and who took a bullet meant for him, was a daughter of Le Saux’s – and it wasn’t Hayley.
While this comes as a shock to Nancy (the supposedly great detective), it’s no great surprise to us. Clearly, there was more than the fact that she knew Hayley connecting Nancy to Le Saux, and when her mother confirms her parentage, we begin to wonder why Nancy wasn’t more on the ball all these years. More to the point, surely Le Saux would have figured out that Nancy was his daughter, even if her mother didn’t tell him?
Kevin’s duplicity does comes to light eventually, when Nancy shares a tube of Pringles with him, and finds the missing evidence in his hotel room; so it looks like we’re on the right lines there. But to our astonishment, Le Saux does not return from the dead this week. So, next week, for sure.
This week’s car chase sequence is almost exciting (and more plausible than Nancy’s flight from Gunner, what with her still recovering from a gunshot wound), and it’s nice to see Brighton featuring more heavily in this week’s episode, with some brightly lit scenes on the seafront, the pier and at the amusements. It suggests the heritage of Brighton Rock, with its contrast of sunny holidays and a seedy underworld.
But the shocks and twists in The Level are coming at a rather ponderous pace, and at this half-way mark, we need something more to mix up the formula. At the moment it’s more like a wet weekend in a dingy B&B than a sunshine mini-break.