Review : Collateral (S1 E4/4), Monday 5th March, BBC Two


David Hare’s hot-button(s) issue drama draws to a close this week, and with the endgame in sight can DI Glaspie play MI5 at their own game and come out unscathed?

OK let’s all take a breath, this was a fast-moving episode.

The extraneous elements of former episodes were largely eschewed here for a singular focus on Glaspie’s hunt for Asif’s killer taking over the final hour’s running time. The Detective Inspector leads a raid on a disused garage to capture Westbourne’s henchmen, last seen on the footage from Fatima’s phone. Bilk foolishly tips off Sam Spence to the raid and its results, which triggers the spook to enter emergency mode, warning Berna to change her immediate plans and try and escape – unfortunately (or conveniently) right into the clutches of Glaspie’s unit. Glaspie’s boss is far from pleased with her maverick actions leading to the raid, specifically promising Fatima and Mona residency to get access to the phone in the first place. Despite rattling Spence later with her knowledge of his own case, he refuses to help Glaspie legitimize the offer of their citizenship in exchange for Berna’s freedom.

The initial interview with Berna shows Glaspie at her best, eroding Berna’s initial confidence (“what level are you at?” “ground level”) within minutes to elicit a partial confession (much to Bilk’s chagrin) over the Iraqi’s murder. Berna says Asif was killed because he knew the name of the boss involved in the human trafficking – and Glaspie wants that name by any means necessary. After Spence eventually green lights the exchange of Berna’s freedom for the information they require, she tells them Peter Westbourne is the head of the operation – but he’s long since gone from his offices, leaving no trace when the police arrive to arrest him. Spence picks up Berna from the precinct and in a revealing duologue decries the work Berna did saving countless British lives whilst undercover being ruined by “one Iraqi picking a fight” – it was “too good to last” Berna replies.

Meanwhile, Sandrine has been lurking in Major Dyson’s garden all night contemplating her next move, before bursting in to confront his wife about her complicity in enabling his ongoing behaviour (and nicking her car for good measure). The Captain eventually ends up at a village hotel and uses her own name to book a room, clearly knowing that the police would already be on to her. But she’s not looking to hide; instead, she sits down to write out a suicidal confession to Asif’s murder – and the circumstances that led her to that killing. “I regret not doing better..I regret not being strong…I regret not being good“, she writes. When Berna’s information finally leads Glaspie to the hotel, the two women have a poignant conversation through the door of her room. Sandrine is waiting patiently to kill herself, but Glaspie seems to be turning the tide in bringing her back from the brink – until her revelation of Asif’s innocence becomes the trigger. The pain and doubt that rolls across Glaspie’s face before telling the truth, knowing within that admission she will seal Shaw’s fate forever, is expertly played by Carey Mulligan in an electric scene.

We leave the world of Collateral with Westbourne free and escaping the UK. David leaves Karen for the final time, as well as his job it would seem. Jane sits alone in her church, having chosen her faith over her forbidden relationship with Linh. Bilk taps away on paperwork, feeling like he’s ostracized from the other officers. Mikey serves up pizzas as if nothing ever happened in the first place. Fatima and Mona are rushed to hospital as she goes into labour – Asif’s child is born a British citizen after all. Glaspie calls her husband to say she’s coming home. “Did you get what you wanted?”, he asks. “I came close” she replies.

It was a rocket-fueled ride to the finish line for this final episode, and one which you could argue might benefit even further from a secondary binge watch on a weekend to keep tabs on all the moving parts and characters through to the end. Ultimately, it was the procedural which won out over the politics in that this final episode had arguably the most room to breathe for pure plot and was all the better for it. Whether Hare’s commentary on the state of the nation brought anything new to the general discussion is debatable, but the milieu he created certainly coloured the show with an array of interesting characters (some more believable than others). Overall the show could have spent more time with its two female leads as both Carey Mulligan and Jeany Spark were incredible in their opposite roles, and certainly Sandrine’s fate left a bitter taste for someone so clearly damaged without further dramatic exploration. A second season with Mulligan’s brilliantly-played Glaspie on another equally topical case would surely be welcome.

Andy D

To read all our Collateral reviews, click here

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth Macpherson says:

    I agree…there has to be another series. However I feel I have to re watch the series to see what I’ve missed…..I like that. It’s good to watch a series where the brain needs to work :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth Macpherson says:

    Apologies…I only skimmed your review, & see that my thoughts were as yours. I do skim read, then read your reviews fully at another point. I’m so glad I found your reviews…even though it makes me watch more tv ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy D says:

      No need to apologise! It’s good to hear I wasn’t alone in thinking another series would be welcome! Glad you enjoyed the show…nothing wrong with a bit more TV as long as it’s good quality!


  3. malerogue says:

    David Hare is a great writer especially if you cut out the political message.I liked the idea that 5 were monitoring(involved with?) the smugglers to spot terrorists early(I hope they are in real life). Mulligan and Spark excellent though why Sandrine needed to shoot a terrorist was a little implausible. Another series…. yes please!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy D says:

      Sandrine’s reasoning to kill Asif was the weakest thing about the series really…it’s a shame as her character could have been exceptional with a bit more time spent on it, instead she ended up being a bit of a cipher for various social issues. Spark did a phenomenal job with what she had to work with though.

      Liked by 1 person

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