REVIEW: The Deuce (S2 E7/9)

The one uniting theme throughout this second series of The Deuce – that oh-so Dickensian slice of urban drama from David Simon and George Pelecanos – is the way the characters have been kicking back against the NYC district, only for the pull of the place, the lifestyle and the ingrained DNA to kick back even harder. We’ve seen it all throughout the series – from Vince, Candy and Lori, to Larry, Paul and Ashley. They’ve all wanted to leave, or better themselves, but either the place, someone else or something inside them keeps them there.

As the character with almost the most screen time in a large ensemble cast, Vince has been feeling this push and pull the most in recent episodes. In tonight’s penultimate series installment (or at least I think it is… there seems to be some confusion over whether there are eight or nine episodes in this series), Vince takes matters into his own hands. His mobster bosses – Rudy and Tommy – offer him the chance to manage a new bar that they’ve bought near the UN headquarters, but Vince – tired, tired, tired – will only do it if he can give up the massage parlours. His bosses tell him it’s a “take it or take it” offer and there would be consequences if he didn’t accept.

So he takes off. Takes off with a bag of coke and drives off into the country, into verdant Vermont. Why? It’s never really explained and I don’t think Vince even knew why – he was feeling trapped, at the end of his tether and just wanted to drive… anywhere. Anywhere out of the city.

It was a curious detour. One that shouldn’t have fitted in with the rest of the series, but the lush pastures, the sun and clean fresh air almost had the same effect on us as it had on Vince. And yet the menace of The Deuce still followed him – because of the threats he faced back home, you half expected something to happen or go wrong, even though he was far away from harm. And, of course, he had the time of his life. He fiound himself in a pub in a student town, and then found himself behind the bar helping out the friendly owner. It reminded him what he was good at – mixing drinks, holding court and being a people person. When he stayed over at the barman’s home and met his family, he saw a way out and a life outside of the strife, possibly for the first time.

Back in The Deuce, bad things were still happening. Copper Danny, who had been infatuated with massage parlour worker Anita, did something heinous: after Anita threatened to tell his wife about them unless he left her, he beat her to death in his car and promptly threw her body into the river. There’s that theme again… it’s tough to leave anything in The Deuce. Alston was on the case when Anita’s body was found – after seeing a familiar watch on her person, he knew exactly who perpetrated the crime. Danny pleaded with him to let him tell his wife in person, and then he would turn himself in. Instead, he shot himself in his car. Alston, a likeable realist, used to the Sisyphean grind of policing the district, agreed with his boss that they should give their colleague dignity in death, even though his crime patently didn’t deserve it. They covered it up.

Elsewhere, Abby slept with Dave The Outreach Worker who, later, had a threatening mini-confrontation with CC and a couple of other pimps. It felt like that they were reaching the end of their tether when it came to these new do-gooders on the street – instead of new pimps busting in on their territory, it was people who wanted to take away their business in a different way. Candy, so energised by her directing role, encountered rank sexism during a financing meeting, and Bobby, too, was having problems with his son – both at school and then at the massage parlour (where he thought it’d be a good idea to give him a job to give him a real education).

So things were bubbling away, but really this episode was about Vince and his almost dreamlike tangent into a parallel dimension – like Lori when she visited Los Angeles a few weeks ago, he saw what life could be like. A real life, free of corruption, grime and people trying to make you – even if he had been doing some of the making.

Instead, he returned to The Deuce, where almost immediately Abby cocked a snook at moving out to the country (she came from Connecticut) and then, while driving with Rudy and Tommy to the new bar, encountered a not-so-friendly group of men with guns.

Nothing ever changes.

Paul Hirons







Channel 4 announces transmission date for Killer By The Lake

The follow up to last year’s Channel 4/All4/Walter Presents-branded French thriller, Vanished by the Lake,  Killer By The Lake (Le Tueur Du Lac) revisits troubled detective Lise (Jeanne Le Guillou) who has started a new life with her husband and baby, but this happy, rural idyll is suddenly shattered with the discovery of two dead women.

Three years after solving the disappearances of teenage girls by Lac de Sainte-Croix, Lise (Julie De Bona) and husband Clovis (Lannick Gautry) have re-established themselves 200 miles away by Lac d’Annecy with nine-month-old son, Tom. After two bodies are found within two days, Lise is placed as lead detective on the murder case. It soon becomes clear that this is the work of a twisted serial killer, and Lise must once again face her past demons.

But murdered women aren’t the only demons haunting Lise; her mother’s Alzheimer’s continues to deteriorate and her husband Clovis is becoming increasingly more distant, leading Lise to question everything she thought she knew about their marriage. But to have any chance of catching the serial killer, husband and wife must work together before someone they know gets hurt… 

Killer By The Lake: Friday 2nd November, 10.30pm, Channel 4 (and then all episodes on All4) 


BBC iPlayer makes available all episodes of Luther

With the new, fifth series of Luther imminent, BBC iPlayer has dropped every single episode of the top-rating cop show, starring Idris Elba, onto its streaming service.

The the new series around the corner, it’s a great way to catch-up. Fill your boots.


Netflix confirms transmission date for Danish thriller, Kriger

Dar Salim is, seemingly, a prolific crime drama person. We’ve seen him recently in Dicte (see our reviews here) as well as Below The Surface (see our reviews here). Now he’s set to appear on our screens once more in another Danish series.

Kriger (Warrior) is a six-part Danish drama about communities, loyalty and betrayal among war veterans, bikers and police officers, intertwined with a love story between war veteran CC (Salim) and police officer Louise (Danica Curcic).

CC is back home in Denmark after active service in several war zones, and is haunted by his last mission which went horribly wrong when his best friend, Peter, was killed in action. CC is plagued by guilt and can’t find a place for himself in a society that prefers to forget about the war. To ease his conscience, he helps Peter’s widow, police investigator Louise, who has a particular interest in gang crime and, in particular, rocker king Tom (Lars Ranthe, another Scandi crime drama fave).

Here’s a trailer:

Kriger (Warrior): from Tuesday 13th November

[News via The Medium Is Not Enough]

Rupert Penry-Jones joins Miss Fisher movie

OK, so this is strictly a movie – although it’s unclear whether it’ll be a TV movie – but we do love a bit of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Essie Davis will return as the amateur detective in 1920s Australia, and for Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears she’ll be joined by the likes of  Nathan Page, Miriam Margolyes, Ashleigh Cummings… and Spooks alum, Rupert Penry-Jones.

The film will open with Phryne Fisher rescuing a young Bedouin woman who has been thrown into jail in British Mandated Palestine. After a perilous escape from Jerusalem, the heroine rejoins  her as a fellow guest in the home of Lord and Lady Lofthouse for the London ‘season’, and pledges to help her right a wrong and discover the truth about the Crypt of Tears – an ancient crypt rumoured to lie somewhere beneath the rolling sands of the Negev Desert.

What’s more, a first-look image has been released, which sees Phryne looking rather marvellous.

No news on a release date yet, but this is likely to be next year.


Netflix names transmission date for You

Netflix UK is releasing a very modern (and scary-sounding) thriller during the Christmas holidays.

According to TV Wise:

You is a 21st century love story that asks, “What would you do for love?” When a brilliant bookstore manager crosses paths with an aspiring writer, his answer becomes clear: anything. Using the internet and social media as his tools to gather the most intimate of details and get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes obsession as he quietly and strategically removes every obstacle – and person – in his way.

The drama series, which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, is produced by Warner Horizon Scripted Television and A&E Studios and stars Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, and Shay Mitchell, with a special guest appearance by John Stamos. The adaptation hails from Hollywood super-producer Greg Berlanti and The Magicians co-creator Sera Gamble and has already been renewed for a second season.

Here’s a trailer:

You: from Wednesday 26th December, Netflix

5USA confirms transmission date for The Detail

Look out, there’s a new Canadian cop show coming. Not only that, it’s a remake of Sally Wainwright’s Scott & Bailey.

The Detail centres on three fiercely talented female homicide investigators who work tirelessly to solve crimes while navigating the complicated demands of their personal lives. Detective Stevie Hall is an experienced interrogator who can extricate information from suspects and witnesses alike, even while her thorny family life teeters on the edge of full-blown implosion.

Her partner, Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper is a street-smart rookie with a complicated personal life that threatens to eclipse the bright light of her policing prowess. The unit is overseen by larger-than-life Staff Inspector Fiona Currie – a formidable boss who works overtime to keep the weekly case board clear and the streets safe. The stars Angela Griffin, Shenae Grimes-Beech and Wendy Crewson.

Here’s a trailer:

The Detail: Friday 2nd November, 9pm, 5USA