Channel 4 confirms transmission date for No Offence

Paul Abbott’s No Offence is one of the more engaging British crime dramas out there, and we’ve known for a while that series three was imminent.

Now we know when it’s going to start.

DI Viv Deering (Joanna Scanlan) and the Friday Street team face off against their most formidable antagonist yet: the far-right. The series opens amidst a contentious mayoral election fought between incumbent liberal Kashif Hassan (Ace Bhatti) and political underdog and local-girl-done-good Caroline McCoy (Lisa McGrillis). DI Viv Deering and the Friday Street team are drawn into their rivalry when a mayoral hustings between the pair becomes a flashpoint for deadly violence as assassin Beckett (Darren Connolly) enters the political fray. In the aftermath of the fatal shooting, Friday Street must infiltrate the murky world of the far-right and their wealthy and powerful benefactors, to catch the killer. The Friday Street team search for the killer amid the usual chaos, with outrageous stories that confound our heroes including teen drug scandals, warring bridesmaids and halal meat poisoning.

No Offence: Thursday 13th September, 9pm, Channel 4

ITV confirms transmission date for John Simm’s Strangers

One of the big new British series we featured in our autumn/winter preview (read that here) was Strangers, ITV’s eight-part series from Harry and Jack Williams’ Two Brothers Pictures.

It stars John Simm, Emilia Fox, Katie Leung and Anthony Wong. Here’s a trailer:

British Professor Jonah Mulray’s (Simm) life is turned upside-down after his wife, Megan Harris, is killed in a car crash in Hong Kong. Wracked with grief, Jonah has no choice but to cross the ocean to bring home the woman he loved.

When Jonah arrives, he is immediately overwhelmed by the neon-saturated hyper-modern island of Hong Kong, a place in constant motion, and a world away from the halls of academia. It’s a city divided, with one foot still in its colonial past and another in its Chinese future. A world where we’re unsure if we can ever really know anyone at all – least of all Megan…

When Jonah discovers that Megan led a secret life, it seems to completely destroy everything they built together in London. With Megan’s death leaving so many unanswered questions, Jonah struggles to make sense of it. Did their relationship amount to anything more than a lie?

Strangers: Monday 10th September, 9pm, ITV

Ben Kingsley to star in US noir, Our Lady, LTD

We do like a noir story here at The Killing Times, and news reaches us that a new, modern take on the genre is in the pipeline at US cable network, Epix.

Our Lady, LTD is to star Oscar-winner, Sir Ben Kingsley and Westworld’s Jimmi Simpson, and is created by Steve Conrad.

Deadline reports:

Written by Conrad and Patriot co-producer Bruce Terris, Our Lady, LTD (fka Our Lady of Perpetual Grace), follows James, a young grifter, as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Kingsley), who turns out to be far more dangerous than he suspects.

Look out for it in 2019.

Spanish crime drama, Hierro, coming in 2019

Spanish drama – and especially crime drama – has been getting some traction in the UK in the past few years, and now a new series is coming our way in 2019.

Global distributor, Banijay, has picked up the rights to Hierro, an eight-part series that takes place on a secluded island in the Canary Islands archipelago, is created by Pepe Coira and directed by Jorge Coira.

Currently in production on the island of El Hierro, the drama, starring Spanish actress Candela Peña (Princesas, Torremolinos 73) and the Argentine actor Darío Grandinetti (Wild Tales, Talk To Her), will launch on Movistar+ in the first half of 2019.

Variety says:

Set on the remote island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands it sees the discovery of the corpse of a young islander, found floating in the sea following an earthquake, mark the starting point for a tense political drama after a newly-arrived judge (Peña) releases the prime suspect (Grandinetti) on bail. While her decision triggers the islanders’ mistrust, he sets out to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

Caroline Torrance, Head of Scripted, Banijay Rights, comments: “From the first time we saw HIERRO, we immediately knew we wanted to be a part of it. With electric storytelling and premium production values, this character-driven drama is set to be a hit with international audiences. We are really excited to work with, support and distribute the work of such acclaimed production talent.”

More news as we get it.

BBC releases first images from MotherFatherSon

One of the thrillers we’re looking forward to in 2019 is Tom Rob Smith’s MotherFatherSon, a star-studded affair that sounds like it’s going the be the bee’s knees.

Filming on MotherFatherSon is currently underway in London, and it’s going to star Richard Gere (yes, THAT Richard Gere) and Helen McCrory. Further casting for the eight-part series includes Sarah Lancashire, Sinéad Cusack, Paul Ready, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Danny Sapani and Joseph Mawle. That’s a pretty meaty cast in anyone’s book.

The BBC has now released first-look images.

Gere is pictured for the first time as Max, the charismatic self-made American businessman with media outlets in London and around the world. Helen McCrory (also pictured) is shown as Kathryn, a British heiress estranged from Max following the breakdown of their marriage some years before. Their 30-year-old son Caden (Billy Howle, seen alongside Gere), runs Max’s UK newspaper and is primed to follow in his father’s footsteps as one of the most powerful men in the world.

But when Caden’s self-destructive lifestyle spirals out of control, the devastating consequences threaten the future of the family, its empire, and a country on the brink of change.

Look out for this next year.


BBC Two confirms Trust transmission date

We’ve had a bit of a busy week, so now we’re catching up with all the news that’s been floating around for the past few days.

One of those items of news is that BBC Two has confirmed the transmission date for the Danny Boyle-directed US series, Trust, which we featured in our massive autumn/winter crime preview (read that here).

Here’s a trailer for Trust:

The series begins in 1973 with the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson), an heir to the Getty oil fortune, by the Italian mafia in Rome. His captors banked on a multi-million-dollar ransom. After all, what rich family wouldn’t pay for the return of a loved one?

Paul’s grandfather, J. Paul Getty Sr. (Donald Sutherland), an enigmatic oil tycoon and possibly the richest man in the world, is marooned in a Tudor mansion in the English countryside surrounded by a harem of mistresses and a pet lion. He’s busy. Paul’s father, J. Paul Getty Jr. (Michael Esper), is lost in a daze in London and refuses to answer the phone.

Only Paul’s mother, Gail Getty (Hilary Swank), is left to negotiate with the increasingly desperate kidnappers. Unfortunately, she’s broke.

Trust charts the teenage grandson’s nightmare ordeal at the hands of kidnappers, who cannot understand why nobody seems to want their captive back.

It’s safe to say we’ll be keeping a close eye on this 10-parter.

Trust: Wednesday 12th September, 9pm, BBC Two

REVIEW: Sharp Objects (S1 E8/8)

With all great series – and a great series that has taken its time to build and simmer – the endings are often what makes or breaks it. We’ve seen so many stories in the past that have fallen down at the last hurdle, either rushing things or revealing things in a haphazard, ham-fisted manner, and the hope with Sharp Objects, which has been an undeniably excellent series, was that it would finish off the story in an entirely satisfactory way.

It’s a different experience watching a story when you know the ending – I read Gillian Flynn’s book a number of years ago – and even though some of the details needed to be refreshed I still kind of knew what was going to happen. The question for me was how they were going to do it and whether Flynn herself would either add or change things a little.

She did neither.

This TV adaptation was a remarkably faithful retelling of the book, which was fine by me because the ending in the book left me with my mouth agape and lots to process.

As did this final episode.

At the end of episode seven, we knew an almighty confrontation was brewing between Camille and Adora. Let’s face it, this confrontation had been coming right from the moment Camille stepped back into Wind Gap. Armed with the knowledge of what really happened to her sister Marion, it was just a matter of how Camille would expose her mother as a Munchausen-by-proxy murderer. The way she did this was extraordinary.

Knowing that Adora was poisoning Amma – and no doubt mindful of the fact that she needed hard evidence with which to nail her mother bang-to-rights – she took a momentous, selfless decision: she feigned injury in order for Adora to focus all her attention on her and divert attention away from her half-sister, who was being slowly devoured. She was sacrificing her own life for the life of her half-sister.

Of course, seeing her number one go down with an illness, Adora sprung into action. She mixed a cocktail of god-knows-what in her kitchen and gleefully fed Camille her medicine. For the first time, Camille had acquiesced and let her mother take care for her.

And yet. There was a part of Camille that enjoyed receiving the care and attention of her mother – something she had craved, but fought against all her life. However perverse and twisted, Adora’s was still the pure, mother’s love that Camille had never experienced or received and now she was getting it – bottles of it. She found herself liking being loved. It was the one thing that had been missing all her life, and the one thing that had caused her so much turmoil and trauma. It was the one thing that caused her to self harm.

And I think this, ultimately, was what Sharp Objects was all about. Yes, it subverted the gender focus when it came to brutal murders (this series showed that a sexism when it comes to investigating a murder case) and subverted what a woman’s role is in life, but it all also explored the concept of love – how we give and receive it, and at what lengths we go in order to give and receive it. Throughout the series we’ve seen how Adora acted with Alan and Vickery, and the way she acted when she didn’t receive the attention she thought she deserved. Amma, too. Camille as well, but in different ways.

To ensnare Adora, Camille had to engage with her, strip herself bare and receive the special care from her mother that she had resisted for all these years. And even if her innards began to rot and she began to die, this was what she had to do and the only way she could do it. Being loved and adored is like a drug – it makes us feel good and we want more of it, no matter whether it comes in the form of a gift, an act of kindness, a hug or from the contents of a little blue bottle. Camille, in her final wrap-up article for the paper, admitted as much that she liked being cared for and liked her mother’s attention, and became worryingly close to becoming addicted to it. Sharp Objects and Munchausen by proxy may be a twisted, dark and worrying manifestation of the giving and receiving of love, but at its core this addiction is the same for us all.

Love is beautiful, but it’s also dangerous.

With Adora behind bars – she was also being fingered for the murders of Ann Nash and Natalie Keene – Camille took Amma back to St Louis with her to start a new life. Suddenly Camille had responsibility and purpose, and Amma had a place in which she could grow up properly. They had dinner with Frank Curry and her partner, and she made friends with a new girl at school. All was well.

Until Amma’s new friend went missing.

If you’ve read Gillian Flynn’s work before, you’ll know that there’s always something extra. An epilogue. A twist.

Camille came home from work to find a piece of the dollhouse Amma had brought with her on the floor. She attempted to put it back on or into the dollhouse. The dollhouse; a recurring totem throughout – a miniature world where Amma constructed her own reality, little figures and rooms and items of furniture that could be manipulated and shaped and moulded.

And a miniature world that contained the teeth of victims Ann Nash and Natalie Keene. This was the twist: the floor of the dollhouse was made entirely from the teeth of the two victims. It was Amma.

It was Amma.

As soon as Camille made this discovery, Amma walked in. They both looked at each other, horrified for different reasons. “Don’t tell mamma.”

End credits. It ended on a revelation, not an explanation. And this I liked. It slapped you, made you think – think about Camille, think about Amma and why she had done such a thing – and made you recoil. The end credits, in keeping with the rest of the series’ sometimes hallucinatory style, showed Amma and her skater friends holding down Ann and Natalie, Amma gritting her teeth as she carried out the unspeakable deeds.

So what did we just experience here? A story that could have been told quite adequately in, say, a two-hour film or even a four-part series, but a story that instead took its time to build up the stifling toxicity between Camille, Adora and Amma.  In the end, it reminded me of a Southern Gothic fairytale: I don’t think it was a coincidence that in one scene in the Crellin household, Amma had dressed as a Greek goddess. But Amma and her rollerskating psychopath friends were more like Nymphs – seductive, manipulative and with the ability to mete out terrifying pain and harm. And Adora, too, was like a wicked witch – mixing poison in her cauldron, a warped/tragic relationship with the world and her children causing her to do so.

It was a very good but exceedingly dark series, featuring superb performances by Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, in particular. Adams, who I was a huge fan of anyway, really displayed a range I hadn’t seen from her before – she was smart, cynical, wounded, vulnerable and strong. Never a victim, always a survivor. A staggering performance that you just couldn’t take your eyes off.

As for Sharp Objects, it’s going to be one of those series that critics love, but perhaps won’t have caught fire with viewers – it was relentlessly bleak all the way through, was hallucinatory and with all its flashbacks was sometimes difficult to make an emotional connection with. But Sharp Objects will be remembered for its subversion, boldness and its intent to explore something more.

Paul Hirons












HBO releases first trailer for True Detective III

We’ve just released our Autumn/Winter crime drama preview, but here’s something for early 2019: the third series of True Detective.

A past Killing Times Crime Drama Of The Year, the HBO series has recruited some great names for its third run, of which Oscar winner Mahershala Ali,  Sarah Gadon and Stephen Dorff are the headliners.

Here’s the first trailer:

It looks intriguing (and dark) on first viewing, with Ali’s Hays operating in two different time periods and being haunted by a crime back in what looks like the 1970s. It’s set in the Ozarks, we know that, and the fact that it is operating in two different time periods suggests a similarity to series one.

Roll on January.


The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 27th August – Sunday 2nd September)

Hang onto your hats, because in TV Land summer is officially over. Which means that new series galore start and finish all over the shop from next week. We first say goodbye to the excellent Sharp Objects and Keeping Faith, but say hello to Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard, series two of Netflix’s Ozark, and new historical crime drama, La Peste, on BBC Four. Enjoy!

S1 E8/8
Camille finds her life imperilled as she gets closer to the truth behind the Wind Gap murders.
Monday 27th August, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S2 E1-10/10
The Byrdes face danger from every side as the cartel, the Snells and the Langmores all threaten to bring down the new life they’ve built in the Ozarks.
From Friday 31st August, Netflix

S1 E2&3/6
With the UK terror threat level raised to severe, Julia Montague holds secret meetings with the director general of the security service – freezing out her own minister for counter-terrorism and the police, led by Commander Anne Sampson. David Budd is on high alert as the home secretary’s hardline stance on national security propels her further into the public eye, and the specialist protection officer comes under pressure from senior police officers to spy on her.
Monday 27th August/Sunday 3rd September, 9pm, BBC One

S1 E1&2/6
In the late 16th century, plague is decimating the crowded city of Seville, where many have arrived to embark for the New World to seek their fortune. Former soldier Mateo Nunez returns to find and extract his dead friend’s son from the city, having fled Seville to escape the Inquisition.
Saturday 1st September, 9pm, BBC Four

S1 E2/13
Lizzie calls upon Dylan’s expertise to assist with a bizarre case in which a venture capitalist was murdered.
Thursday 30th August, 9pm, Sky Witness

S6 E15/21
Holmes and Watson’s investigation into the murder of a religion professor puts them on the hunt for a killer connected to the occult.
Monday 27th August, 9pm, Sky Witness

7 Keeping Faith *REPEAT* *LAST IN SERIES*
S1 E8/8
With Williams now out of the way, Faith fights for her children in a heated court battle that risks tearing the Howells family apart, and as the clock ticks on Faith’s debt, Steve makes a desperate and deadly pact with his former employers to secure her freedom. Meanwhile, Tom and Marion have to face up to some tough truths, and Faith finally uncovers the truth behind Evan’s disappearance. 
Thursday 30th August, 9pm, BBC One

8 Code 37: Sex Crimes *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S1 E3/10
Medical student Lotte Santermans comes into the Vice Squad’s headquarters to report that she was raped after a party. Bob has his doubts about her story and some of the team members think it odd that she didn’t notice her drink had been spiked, but Hannah throws herself into the case. The break-in at her parents’ house eight years earlier also continues to preoccupy Hannah. When the public prosecutor refuses to release her mother’s file, she asks her father to use his influence as a justice of the peace.
Friday 31st August, 9pm, More4

S1 E3/10
Responding to an emergency at a children’s birthday party, Bobby’s crew is devastated after one of their own is involved in a critical accident.
Wednesday 29th August, 9pm, Sky Witness

S1 E7/10
The pathologist investigates the deaths of a woman and her son in a car accident, while the mystery of Robert Quinn’s disappearance deepens.
Tuesday 28th August, 9pm, Alibi