REVIEW: The Capture (S1 E4/6)

This is the episode that The Capture turned into The Matrix.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The Matrix.

Before we get to that proclamation, there was some stuff to get through. A lot of stuff.

We last saw Shaun Emery (Callum Turner, surely going through the worst week known to humankind) surveying the body of Hannah Roberts in the boot of a car he was given to escape. He was being stitched up, of that there was no doubt.

Interestingly, Roberts was reckoned to have been dead for a matter of hours, not weeks, which suggested, sadly, that she had been kept alive right up until that moment.

DS Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) managed to catch up with him, and as he overpowered her and stole her car he told her the real address he had been taken to – it wasn’t Belgravia. Carey and an incredulous Patrick went to visit the address and what do you know? It looked exactly the same as the house in Belgravia. Exactly the same.

Ron Perlman’s sinister boss man let them in and explained that he could not divulge the work they do there because well, because he couldn’t. He explained that the painting on the wall that depicted the American Cicil War war showed the real hero of the war – General Ulysses S Grant. A spot of post-meeting googling meant that Rachel fully understood the significance of this painting – it was a fake and was used at the time to spread what is now called ‘fake news’. The Man had been flaunting his video chicanery in front of their faces.

The Man then got on the phone to his insider at Counter Terrorism… DSU Gemma Garland. He wanted Carey wiped out.

Broadcasting expert Levy had already been taken out by The Man’s men, and now only Carey stood in their way.

Elsewhere, Emery had been knocked down by a van as he tried to escape again. This time the people who had captured him were on his side.

And this is where The Matrix comparisons came in. The people who had nabbed him were revealed to be a cell of tech-savvy vigilantes. They knew all the CCTV blind spots, new the system inside out and called themselves the Pilgrims Of Justice. The head of this group? Hannah Roberts’ lawyer friend, Charlie (who I thought might be one of the suspects.)

It was all a bit far-fetched, but such was the pace and ferocity of this episode I found myself going with it.

And go with it I did, when Danny Hart told Carey – after she showed up at a dinner with his wife and threatened to reveal everything unless he told her what was going on – to look more closely at Hannah Roberts.

And this is what the question I was waiting to be answered: who was Hannah Roberts? Why was she murdered? And why did every intelligence operative in London want to find her?

It felt like she was involved in something big. Something that people would murder for.

At the end of this episode, Carey had been suspended (by Garland) and Patrick had stumbled onto something – he had found CCTV footage of Hannah on the bus, which exonerated Emery. (I was pleased Patrick got to do something instead of being a bit of stooge whose life was in danger.)

With twists and turns galore, this is shaping up to be exactly what the doctor ordered – high-concept, fun and tense all the way through.

Paul Hirons





REVIEW: The Capture (S1 E3/6)

I’ve finally found time to catch up with The Capture, BBC One’s hi-tech enjoyable, pacey thriller.

The last I saw of it, prime suspect Shaun Emery (Callum Turner) had been led into a posh Belgravia mansion house, which was revealed to be the lair of some sort of shady US intelligence operation. Even though DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Grainger) had seen it all unfold on CCTV, her officers on the ground had seen nothing.

So where was the discrepancy?

The first act of this third episode saw Emery interrogated by a gravel-voice man, kindly but sinister. (Played by the ever-watchable Ron Perlman.) He wanted to know where Hannah Roberts – the lawyer who Emery had been suspected of attacking, and worse – but there was no mention of why. It seems everyone wants to know where Hannah Roberts is.

Back at police HQ, Carey’s superior was not happy at the leak of the footage of Emery attacking Hannah – which was leaked by Carey’s two colleagues – and had drafted in DCU Gemma Garland into the investigation. Garland, a Counter-Terrorism operative and no doubt a colleague of Danny Hart, set her stall out as an ambiguous character right from the get-go – supportive to Carey, but with dollops of passive-aggressiveness.

Part of the partnership with Counter Terrorism was access to the CT room, somewhere Carey had been hanging out regularly and working with her ex-colleagues.

Predictably, Emery escaped (eventually) the clutches of his American captors, and took a visit to the broadcast expert who helped him with his trial. After reviewing the YouTube video, he explained that it would be it would impossible to alter live CCTV footage.

But the seed had been planted.

And, when the broadcast expert met with Carey to explain that live CCTV footage could have been slowed down, and employed a ‘wipe’ to use as a cutting point to edit in new footage (in this case a bus), it could explain Emery’s contention that he had been set-up.

And when Carey reviewed the footage of her own star case – the case that got her plaudits and awards aplenty – she found that a similar technique had been used. She also noticed that everyone who had been present in the CT room when both the original Emery/Roberts footage was first seen and the footage of the Belgravia incident were now not ‘on shift’.

The seed had been well and truly planted.

And so we found Carey starting to believe that Emery may well be telling the truth.

This switch – this about-face – really did remind me of The Fugitive and North By Northwest. A pursuing police officer convinced of the guilt of the person they’re chasing, suddenly finds a reason to believe that they may be telling the truth.

Now the question is what happens next. We saw Emery given a car by a supposed best mate, but inside the boot was the body of Hannah Roberts.

With Garland looking sternly at Carey at any given opportunity, it looks as though the only people Emery and Carey can trust is each other.

It’s good stuff, this.

Paul Hirons



The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 30th September – Sunday 6th October)

It’s pretty much as you were this week. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to enjoy – City On A Hill, The Capture and A Confession continues, while Elementary edges towards its final ever episode. Enjoy!

S1 E5&6/10
The search for the weapon used in the armoured truck robbery in Revere continues. Meanwhile, Frankie has to make a decision about what is best for his family.
Wednesday 2nd October, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S1 E5/6
The truth behind what happened to Shaun is revealed to him as he finally comes face to face with the powers behind his downfall. Rachel seeks answers of her own after her suspicions that Shaun has been set up are confirmed by a vital piece of evidence. However, the truth they both uncover places their lives in great danger.
Tuesday 1st October, 9pm, BBC One

S1 E5/6
Steve Fulcher is lauded by the media for leading an investigation that recovered the bodies of two women murdered by Christopher Halliwell, but behind the scenes faces a disciplinary hearing at the hands of the IPCC, charged with gross misconduct. Karen Edwards refuses to give up her fight to get justice for her daughter Becky, and goes to meet with her local MP Robert Buckland to discuss a change that she thinks needs to made to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
Monday 30th September, 9pm, ITV

S1 E9/12
Nightclub owner Giampaolo Petrone is found dead on an industrial estate, having suffered a heavy blow to the head. He wasn’t in close contact with his family, who had never accepted the fact that he was gay, so Valeria begins questioning his circle of friends and acquaintances as she investigates his demise.
Friday 4th October, 9pm, More4

S7 E12/13
Tech billionaire Odin Reichenbach inadvertently provides Holmes and Watson with a lead that may point them in the direction of the evidence they need to bring him to justice.
Tuesday 1st October, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S1 E4/8
Things become complicated between Daniel and Anna as they battle to save someone they both love, while Lee takes a risk that endangers them all.
Friday 4th October, 9pm, Sky One

S1 E2/10
A man is found shot dead in a motel room. The door is found to have been chain-locked from the inside, so Alexa is left to ponder how the killer managed to escape.
Tuesday 1st October, 9pm, Alibi

S1 E10/22
OA embarks on an undercover mission with Maggie and their former FBI instructor Rowan Quinn as they try to stop the sale of some dangerous weapons.
Thursday 3rd October, 9pm, Sky Witness

S2 E16/22
Voight and the team seek to stop one of their informants, a dancer named Lexie, becoming the next victim of a serial killer.
Wednesday 2nd October, 9pm, 5USA

S1 E13/13
Syd, McKenna and the team work together as they race against time to save one of their own, finally coming face to face with their greatest enemy.
Wednesday 2nd October, 9pm, FOX UK

REVIEW: The Flatey Enigma (S1 E4/4)

And so we get to the end of Icelandic series, The Flatey Enigma.

There was a lot to tie up in this series finale, and it was interesting to chat to series writer Margrét Örnólfsdóttir in an edition of our podcast this week, who explained that this series couldn’t be more different to Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson’s novel.

Jóhanna – a bit-part player in the book – had been elevated to lead-character status in this TV adaptation, and the whole Flatey/Sagas connection was completely fictitious.

Margrét sounded as though she had been given carte blanche to create something loosely based on the original plot, but to imbue it with a new side-story.

At the end of the penultimate episode, we saw Jóhanna at her lowest ebb – her son, Snorri, had been taken by the island’s Child Protection people, her father’s manuscripts had been taken away from her, and brutish Brynar had given her an ultimatum – stop seeing Kjartan and come back to him and he might, just might, drop her from the murder investigation.

This final episode saw Jóhanna fight back.

What was interesting about her fight back was that it involved many of the islanders, some of which were found wanting when she needed them in the last episode.

Whether it was because of guilt or another reason, people like Olga – complete with hideously swollen eye – and even her contrite husband Valdi, the priest and Steindór, for instance, all rallied to help save the day.

But first: the murder mystery element.

Valdi and Olga’s eldest, Nonni, took Lund’s tobacco box to Brynar, and told him he had found it in his grandfather Jon’s belongings. This kind of proved that senile Jon pulled the trigger, and a flashback at the start of the episode – showing someone confused on the island and shooting seals – seemed to confirm this.

But Brynar, unhappy with this new piece of evidence, swore the boy to secrecy.

Second: The Flatey Enigma itself.

After a series of hallelujah moments, Jóhanna (with Kjartan in tow) had figured out that it was the pictures that were the most important element of the whole puzzle, and after further determining that there was a north, south, east, west element to their hastily-assembled map on the wall, they finally narrowed it down to four mountain scenes. She sketched the outline of each mountain onto shards of glass and the two escaped onto a boat and off the island in search of this location.

Of course, a search that really should have taken days if not weeks (there are a lot of islands in Iceland’s north-western Fjordlands area) took a matter of minutes.

They found  Harmasey island and, miraculously, found the gothi’s bones in a cave grave. (Again, this search of the island should’ve taken weeks.) The twist? The gothi was a pregnant woman.

Even though the fact Jóhanna had solved a riddle many others could not over a thousand years in a matter of minutes, it was a fun watch – there’s nothing like an historical riddle to get the blood pumping.

Thirdly, Brynar and Jóhanna’s story.

Brynar, who had been made of Kjartan and Jóhanna’s escape, took Snorri, a gun and forced old Jon to take his boat in hot pursuit. Except it wasn’t really hot pursuit – it was a slow, meandering boat chase. And, despite Brynar being about half an hour or so behind, he was able to find his prey among the scattered islands relatively easily.

Also in hot pursuit of Brynar was Grimur, Olga, Valdi and the adorable Stína.

They all ended up on Harmasey in a tense stand-off.

Just as Brynar, now blood boiling at seeing Jóhanna, Kjartan and Snorri together like the family he so wanted, was about to shoot them all until Jon’s rifle took care of the situation.

And that was that.

And it was fun and watchable, and a series that had a lot going for it.

The only problem with this finale was that everything was whizzed through so quickly. If anything I would’ve liked an extra two episodes so it could really develop the murder mystery, and not palm it off as an accident. I would’ve also like more time for the riddle-solving, and also a bit more character development.

But slight gripes aside, The Flatey Enigma was a really enjoyable series that cleverly wove together a single-location murder mystery and a slice of Dan Brown-style riddle-solving.

It also had some extremely important things to say about domestic violence and the changing faces of women’s roles in society. Back then – as it is in some places today – domestic violence was just something that happened, and too many people were content to shut their curtains and let it happen. If anything, this series was a savage indictment of that fact, and of Icelandic society as a whole in the early 1970s. But it wasn’t just Icelandic society back then – the whole world struggled to keep up with female empowerment and shifting gender roles.

In fact, you could argue that we’re still very much in that same place. Perhaps more developed but with still a long way to go.

As Jóhanna, Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir was an excellent lead – her eyes often flashing with passion, hurt, sorrow and determination.

Add in the spectacular scenery, and the traditional lifestyles of folk on the island, The Flatey Enigma could have been a bit of a puff-piece, but instead gave us darkness and attempted to address some very serious issues.

Paul Hirons





REVIEW: A Confession (S1 E4/6)

It’s time to catch-up with ITV’s six-part series detailing the investigation into the real-life murders of Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden.

We knew that trouble was brewing for DCI Steve Fulcher (Martin Freeman) after he had broken the rules when it came to interviewing prime suspect, Christopher Halliwell.

But for this first part of the story, we followed the O’Callaghan and Godden families as they tried to get ready for their respective daughters’ funerals. It was hard to watch.

It has to be said that two very fine actresses are playing the respective mothers, and their different personalities shone through in this episode.

Elaine Pickford (Siobhan Finneran) is stoic and realistic, cynical even, and didn’t want her daughter connected to Becky Gooden, a drug-addicted sex worker. She also hated the limelight her tragic circumstance had thrust her into.

She sorted through cher daughter’s clothes and remembered her. We saw her memories thanks to touching flashbacks.

Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton), meanwhile was far more emotional and had the horrific experience of seeing what was left of her daughter’s body in a white box inside of her coffin.

These interludes were necessary – so many crime dramas do not give a voice to the affected families, and even the victims themselves. A Confession bucks that trend and gives voices to those who were taken away.

But then we got onto Steve, and Halliwell’s trial.

Halliwell was found to be guilty of the murder of Sian O’Callaghan, because of the overwhelming DNA evidence found. He was sentenced to 25 years.

The O’Callaghans had got justice for Sian.

Becky Gooden, on the other hand, did not. Steve was found to be in breach of PACE guidelines and Halliwell’s confession, and subsequent car ride showing Steve the location of her body was found to be null and void.

Even though he had confessed and had show the police the location of her body.

Becky’s mum and dad then began to represent different sides of the argument. Karen was grateful that Steve had done what he did – she argued that they would not have found Karen’s body if he hadn’t taken the course of action he had.

Becky’s feckless father took a different view – he argued that Steve had messed things up to the extent his daughter’s killer would not get the justice he deserved.

It was skillfully written, using these characters to make the argument on Steve’s plight.

With Sian’s case now at an end, it’s likely  the final two episodes will focus on how Halliwell was convicted for Becky’s murder.

Paul Hirons







Breach the PACE code

Andrew Scott to take the lead in Showtime’s Ripley

One of the show we can’t wait for in 2020 is the new adaptations of the late, great Patricia Highsmith’s quintet of Tom Ripley novels.

The series – written by Steven Zaillian and simply called Ripley – has been formally received an eight-episode order from its US home, cable channel Showtime.

And now we know who’s going to play the iconic character Tom Ripley – Sherlock’s Andrew Scott.

In the series, Tom Ripley (Scott), a grifter scraping by in early 1960s New York, is hired by a wealthy man to travel to Italy to try to convince his vagabond son to return home. Tom’s acceptance of the job is the first step into a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder.

The five novels Zaillian is using as source material are The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Underwater.

More news as we get it.

New Swedish Arctic thriller Thin Ice set for 2020

Yes, we love a good Scandi crime drama and the good news is that they just keep on coming.

According to Expressen, Thin Ice (Tunn Is) will be with us in 2020.

The series is described as a suspense drama set in a ‘grand Arctic environment’.

It starts when a research vessel is attacked outside Greenland. At the same time, the Arctic Council is trying to agree on an agreement that prohibits environmentally harmful oil drilling in the region. Behind the agreement is Sweden’s Foreign Minister Elsa (Endre), whose political adviser Viktor (Karim) is aboard the attacked ship.

Lena Endre plays Sweden’s Foreign Minister, while Bianca Kronlöf plays the role of the Säpo agent Liv. The cast also includes Alexander Karim,  Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Angunnguaq Larsen, Iben Dorner and Reine Brynolfsson.

It’ll premiere on TV4 in Sweden next year.

S4C confirms Craith series two transmission date

We at The Killing Times Towers have earmarked series two of excellent Welsh crime drama, Craith (Hidden), and have been keeping an ear to the ground to find out when it will transmit.

Now we know.

The series, set in Snowdonia in North Wales, sees the return of DCI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and DS Owen Vaughan (Sion Alun Davies) nine months after the chilling events of the first series.

The brutal murder of an ex-teacher leads our investigators into the slate-strewn mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog – in to a world of lies, neglect and revenge.

Hand in hand with the investigation, the series delves deeper into the lives of John and Vaughan as they deal with seismic change in their lives: for John the death of her father and for Vaughan the birth of his first child.

Lives shattered. Lives re-built. The story continues.

Look out for it on S4C from Sunday 17th November.

Also look out for some exclusive content from us around the transmission date.