REVIEW Grace (S2 E1/3)

I’ve just been catching up with Grace and now have, I think, a handle on how it’s being played out.

Last week’s episode was the second in a three-episode series two, the last of that series being played out tonight (Sunday 8th May).

The first episode of the series was pretty good, and a definite improvement on the very first instalment last year. However – and unfortunately – I found this one to be a bit of a dud, despite some atmospheric moments and the introduction of Roy’s new love interest.

And this, of course, is the problem with mystery-of-the-week series – there are bound to be inconsistencies, with peaks and troughs throughout the run. And so it’s proving with Grace. One week is good, the next isn’t so good… repeat.

This story – Not Dead Enough – begins when the body of a young woman is pulled from the ocean. At the crime scene, Roy meets a new pathologist – Cleo Morey (Zoe Tapper). More of her later.

Attention soon switches to another murder, when the wife of Kit Bishop, a Brighton hotshot entrepreneur, is found dead in her bed. All the fingers point to Bishop (Arthur Darvill), a fairly loathsome and arrogant individual who is doing his best to evade questioning and escaping safe houses.

His reputation in the eyes of the viewer is further diminished when it’s revealed that he was having it away with young socialite Sophie Carrington, who also ends up dead later in the story. All throughout this episode, Bishop is being built up into a bad guy, which is an interesting idea for a number of reasons: a) as an audience we’re led down a road the creators can do an about-turn and present a gigantic twist, or b) it’s is a double bluff and Bishop is actually the murderer.

As Roy and a recovered and returned DS Branson work to find the requisite evidence to nail Bishop, Roy gets closer to Cleo. Roy is understandably nervous and wracked by guilt over this unexpected development in his love life, but Cleo is a breath of fresh air – flirtatious, forthright and energetic. She’s exactly what Roy needs to move on from the supposed death of his wife. And we all knew that this was going to happen (Roy finding someone else), and sure enough it was a welcome development of character.

But there’s a problem – Cleo is also being attacked, quite obviously by the bad guy. But why?

It all ends up with a hugely convoluted, frankly daft denouement/reveal that leaves you scratching your head. Kit Bishop had a twin – OF COURSE HE DID – that… wait, that twin is dead… but there’s ANOTHER Bishop brother who also looks EXACTLY like Kit who is out for some revenge on his family. His motto? Take away the thing that your enemies love. Oh purleeeease.

Let’s hope for a better series finale tonight.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Grace is shown on ITV in the UK and is also available on ITV Hub

Silent Witness confirms Amanda Burton return for 25th series

BBC One is teasing the return of veteran forensic crime series Silent Witness for its 25th series with the dramatic return of Amanda Burton as Sam Ryan.

The longest-running crime drama currently airing on TV returns with six thrilling new episodes very soon, and the BBC says that it opens in Liverpool with an assassination attempt and Sam Ryan calling on the Lyell team with a plea for help 17 years after leaving the Lyell.

Sam seeks to usher in democratic health care, but the shooting of the Health Secretary and Sam’s husband pulls Dr Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox), Jack Hodgson (David Caves) and Simone Tyler (Genesis Lynea) into a world of duplicity, intrigue and betrayal. 

When the credibility of DNA testing is challenged, the bedrock of forensic science is called into question. Now uncertain of who or what they can trust, the Lyell team’s investigation draws them into confrontations with echoes of their personal histories, which threaten to unravel their present.

More news as we get it.

Get Millie Black cast announced by Channel 4

Tamara Lawrance has been named as the lead in new Channel 4 crime series, Get Millie Black

The channel calls it a vivid, unflinching, and gripping six-part crime noir, and follows the inimitable Millie-Jean Black, a police detective forced to quit Scotland Yard and return home to Jamaica, where she is soon pursuing a missing persons case that threatens to expose more than she may be willing to confront.

The series, which also stars Joe Dempsie, Gershwyn Eustache Jnr and Chyna McQueen, marks the screenwriting debut of Booker Prizewinning author Marlon James. Production began this week in Jamaica, with additional shooting in London to come. 

More news as we get it.

Bosch: Legacy recommissioned for second season

No sooner has Bosch: Legacy begun on Freevee, it has been recommissioned for a second series.

The show – a spin-off or a continuation, however you want to phrase it – began on the free ad-supported streaming service via Amazon Prime Video on Friday.

“It was easy to greenlight the second season of Bosch: Legacy, after execs saw the 10-episode first season,” Variety quoted Ryan Pirozzi, Freevee’s other co-head of content and programming. “We’re ecstatic with the new show. We know we want to be in business with Michael Connolly, the author of the Bosch series of books.”

More news as we get it.

The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 9th – Sunday 15th May)

Lots of things to look forward to this week, including a brand new Welsh-language series on S4C – Y Golau – starring some of the country’s best acting talent. We also welcome back The Nordic Murders on More4, whole we say goodbye to Signore Volpe on Acorn TV and Alibi’s Smother. Enjoy!

Dan’s article gains traction across the city. After a harrowing encounter, Kirby’s grasp of reality comes into question.
Friday 13th May, Apple+ TV

S1 E5&6/8

No synopsis available.
Friday 13th May, Freevee

S1 E1/6

The release of a convicted murderer from prison sends a journalist and the mother of the woman he killed on a desperate search for the missing body. 
Sunday 15th May, 9pm, S4C

S8 E2/4

The detective investigates a possible connection between a murder in a wooded area and a man who died suddenly of a heart attack after being awakened in the middle of the night by a masked burglar.
Saturday 14th May9pm BBC Four

S2 E2/6

Freddy plays a dangerous game when internet troll Shannon McBride threatens to bring her down, while Jackson and Lola close in on main suspect, Robert Miller.
Thursday 12th May, 9pm, Alibi

S1 E3/3

When the son of an old friend is arrested for murder, Sylvia interrupts her hunt for a stolen truffle pig in order to investigate. She discovers that the killing is linked to a blackmail plot and a secret love affair, but the killer’s identity comes as a shock.
Monday 9th May, Acorn TV

7 The Nordic Murders *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*
S3 E1

A tourist-attended party escalates into dangerous drug-taking and the next day, a teenage boy is found dead in the community sauna. One of the girls at the party, Felice, has been sexually assaulted, but no one seems to remember it happening – least of all her. Karin’s great nephew, Ben, held the party, and she becomes his counsel when the police get involved.
Friday 13th May, 9pm, More4

S1 E4/8

In 2003, tensions rise and old wounds reopen as the Petersons’ eldest son Clayton returns home, and unwittingly makes a critical discovery.
Thursday 12th May, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S1 E1/4
Examines the terrible events of 5th December 1986 that led to the death of Malik Oussekine, to which no series has ever been devoted. Centred on her family’s fight for justice, the series will dive into the heart of the 80s to understand the impact that this drama had on French society at the time.
Wednesday 11th May, Disney+

S2 E6/6

Val is determined to confront Alanna once and for all, but her investigation twists once more toward a surprising and dark conclusion. Too late she realises that a more dangerous threat is brewing much closer to home. 
Tuesday 10th May, 9pm, Alibi

REVIEW Beck (S8 E1/4)

Beck is back! That was by no means a foregone conclusion, as the last time we saw the gloomy Swedish police chief, Martin Beck (Peter Haber) he was being wheeled into an operating theatre, with a slim chance of surviving an operation on a brain tumour. But Haber’s contract negotiations must have gone well, because here is Beck again, his usual doleful self, though he tells his team that he’s grateful for this second chance at life.

As before though, Beck tends to take a back seat in investigations (Peter Haber is now 70), with the legwork and action scenes going to the rather more youthful Alex Beijer (Jennie Silfverhjelm) and new boy Josef Eriksson (Martin Wallström), who is referred to as the team’s “John McClane” in a nice little Die Hard reference.

But another welcome return comes in the form of ginger giant Kristofer Hivju as Steinar Hovland, who had returned to Norway after being shot at the end of the last series. Again, contract negotiations must have gone well, as Hovland is called in to help with the case of a Danish criminal found dead in a river, and decides to stay on as his family has conveniently decamped to Mozambique.

Also returning are Anna Asp as the efficient Jenny Bodén, and Måns Nathanaelson as comedy cop Oskar Bergman. Oskar’s main contribution to this episode is a little sub-plot about a disastrous online date.

Finally, Ingvar Hirdwall (now 87) returns as Grannen, Beck’s eccentric neighbour, serving again as comic relief with an anecdote about a psychedelic experience up the Amazon, which leaves Beck as baffled as usual.

As for the case itself, it’s a particularly action-packed one, with car chases, shoot-outs and daring rescues. A gangster is shot dead, but was it just for the suitcase of money he was carrying? His body is found in a river near a suspicious warehouse – but we know the young punks who operate it didn’t do the killing, as we’ve seen that take place in a forest near a health spa. A ruthless assassin from a Danish crime ring is sent to get revenge for the killing and to recover the money – all he has to do is follow the police as they close in on the killer.

Josef and Alex have a little moment as he reminds her of their dalliance in the last season – will this flare up again?

Steinar has a testosterone-fuelled confrontation with an imprisoned crimelord who we sense we might meet again, and Alex questions a suspicious farmer on whose land the killing took place.

There’s a tense stand-off when the assassin closes in on the farm, and it turns out that the killer was his ex-wife, an informant now living under a new identity. Steinar and Josef ride to the rescue in a helicopter (a bit implausibly, as they seem to have done the flight in the time it took the assassin to walk from his car to the farmhouse’s front door).

The case concluded, Beck’s daughter Inger presents him with an allotment; the ‘shed’ is almost palatial, so allotments in Stockholm must be a bit fancier than they are in this country. Is digging up potatoes actually how Beck actually wants to spend his twilight years? We think he’d actually appreciate more juicy murder cases like this one.

The English title of this episode, Haunted by the Past, misses the double meaning of the Swedish title Ett Nytt Liv, or A New Life – both for Beck, and for the informant-turned-killer.  

On the evidence of this episode though, this short series of four may mark a return to form for Beck. There’s a suggestion that he might have a successor too, as his grandson Vilhelm is now a police cadet. There’s a little joke about him having changed – in fact, this is a new actor in the part, Valter Skarsgård, and yes, he is from the acting dynasty which includes Stellan and Alexander. Helmon Solomon plays his girlfriend Rebecka Kullgren, also a police cadet and a fangirl of Martin Beck’s – will she feature in later series?

So, a new life for Beck – we’re glad to see him back, and as miserable as ever.

Chris Jenkins

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Beck is shown on BBC Four in the UK