Review: Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling (S2 E2/3), Monday 28th August, BBC One

Last night opening episode of The Cuckoo’s Calling was an enjoyable start to what the BBC hopes will be an ongoing and popular series. Robert ‘JK Rowling’ Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike was investigating the suspicious death of supermodel, Lula Landry. Strike, assisted, by work placement Robin Ellacott, shambled around London looking for leads and putting his nose into places he was told wasn’t welcome. It was enjoyable, familiar stuff, so how would the investigation continue in tonight’s episode?

NB: Spoilers inside

After episode one’s finale, where our man Strike found Lula Landry’s BFF Rochelle drowned in a bathtub, things seem to up a gear. Strike was now certain that Lula had been murdered, and now wanted to know how Rochelle, previously a resident at a homeless shelter, had designer clothes aplenty and money for drugs.

But there were other questions, and some of the suspects set up in the first episode were processed with speed (they have to when it’s only a three-part series). Strike developed a friendship – later developing into a romantic episode – with fellow model, Ciara, who corroborated the weasely Evan Duffield’s alibi, and Tansy Bestigui was revealed to be a sad, lonely woman who had been more or less imprisoned by her possessive husband. More crucially, her story on the night of Lula’s murder took her out of the picture. Although she did say that she had heard two voices on the balcony above, one saying, “too late, I’ve already done it.”

We left Strike drunkenly reviewing some CCTV footage surreptitiously posted to him by DI Wardle and finding something – or someone – the police hadn’t spotted (honestly, why are the police so bad at their jobs in so many crime dramas?), and mulling over some of the things he had found in Deeby Macc’s apartment.

So the investigation continued, with expositional scene after expositional scene, full of bland, functional dialogue. These scenes basically featured characters recap the plot and the suspects. It started to grate on me, if I’m honest. Sure, we got some insight into Strike’s private life and backstory (we met his sister, Lucy, who revealed their mother had taken her own life, and Strike’s subsequent suspicion that her death wasn’t all it seemed), and also more of Strike and Robin’s relationship, which seemed to deteriorate slightly in this episode. Strike was keeping her at arm’s length again, and sick and tired of sitting behind a desk keeping the business ticking over, she went for a job interview at a pristine and super-corporate company. Even though she was offered the job, she turned it down – the lure of working on murder cases was too much.

And this is what’s keeping me with Strike – the central relationship between two likeable characters – because elsewhere, although enjoyable and watchable, it’s pretty basic stuff.

Paul Hirons

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Malerogue says:

    Agree with Paul. Have read the books and enjoy both. Not taxing but 2 likeable central characters.


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