No-one seems much worried about the huge pile of machine-guns in Nash’s truck, or who they were destined for; Nancy suspects that the seemingly innocent medicines in the truck are in fact the ‘gold mine’. She leaps to the that they’re fakes meant to be sold into the NHS – her mother is increasingly unstable despite her treatment, so maybe Nancy is on to something.
Newman’s opposition to Nancy’s suspicions of Nash seems baffling – why couldn’t he be in the frame for the murder of Le Saux? It’s not like Newman has a better suspect.
Equally unconvincing is Gunner going all soppy over Nancy, and the burgeoning relationship between Darryl and Hayley – the premier league footballer’s wife and lad’s mag pinup, remember – which is veering towards soap territory.
When it turns out that Nash’s drugs are indeed fake, and we know Cherie Le Saux is in it with Nash, doesn’t this make her the likely murderer? Particularly as the victim’s wounds suggest a close relationship. But Nancy at this point flips to suspecting Darryl, thinking that he’s fallen out with Frank over the gun shipment, and she that he’s left a gun with Tate. Why would he do that? If it’s the gun that killed Le Saux, better surely to dispose of it, or keep it close?
By this time, it’s obvious Darryl is the killer – he clobbers Nancy’s dad and makes off with Hayley and the kids – but the Alan Partridge- standoff on the pier can only end one way, with Darryl’s suicide-by-cop.
With Nancy’s collusion, Kevin gets off scot free – but hadn’t he done enough to make it clear to Newman that he was bent? Cherie tries to shift blame for everything onto Shay Nash, and Hayley volunteers to go undercover to expose him.
So we’re left with the prospect of a follow-up where Undercover Hayley becomes a more central character, with Nancy as her handler – and now, they both know, her half-sister.
So practically nothing we know about the plot of The Level turned out to be accurate – Frank, we have to accept, is indeed dead, raising the question of why we never saw a scene of the body being identified. The plot thread of Gunner and Gil’s past association turned out to be a red herring, and countless other plot threads just fizzled out.
Nancy proved to be a less than compelling character, vacillating between ineptitude and flashes of intuition; if the intention was to set up a character as compelling as, Jane Tennison, The Level has fallen lamentably short. And we could care less about whether Shay Nash and Cherie le Saux get their comeuppance, to be honest.
Only the setting of The Level came out with much distinction; as Keith Waterhouse said, ‘Brighton has the air of a town that is perpetually helping the police with their inquiries’. if we get another series, let’s hope there’s more setting and more substance to it.