Review: Spiral (S6 E5&6/12), Saturday 13th January, BBC Four

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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

So far as TV cop shows are concerned, if you want a quiet life, don’t be an angler, a dog-walker or a construction worker. If you are, nothing is more certain than that your day will be interrupted by the discovery of a bloated floating corpse, a dismembered body or the mummified remains of someone encased in concrete. No surprise, then, that this week’s soupçon of Spiral cuts straight from a shot of a building site to the digging up of a dead girl – either an actress giving a very convincing performance as she’s shovelled out of the earth, or an equally convincing dummy. Continue reading

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Review: Spiral (S6 E3&4/12), Saturday 6th January, BBC Four

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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

Spiral still has the ability to shock; the Irréversible-style opening of episode three, with Josephine finding herself recovering in an underpass after an assault, follows a languid dolly-shot across the Parisian cityscape. The Paris of Spiral is rarely inimical – though some of its inhabitants are – but here we are reminded that the city hides brutal secrets.

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Netflix orders second series of Dark

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In a year full of hit dramas on Netflix, German-language drama, Dark, was one of the very best. It was set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposed the double lives and fractured relationships among four families. In 10, hour-long episodes, the story takes on a supernatural twist that ties back to the same town in 1986. It was thrilling stuff, and now we hear it’ll be back for a second series. Continue reading

Review: Witnesses (S2 E7&8/8), Saturday 16th December, BBC Four

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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

Right, let’s get back into it. This series has been dark – very dark – and also very watchable and hugely intriguing. The last we saw of Sandra Winckler had been taken prisoner by Geir Janssen – the man who had been kidnapping women, murdering their exes and siring their children while they were in captivity. See, told you it’s been dark. Continue reading

Review: Vanished By The Lake (S1 E1-6/6), Walter Presents

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NB: SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

While we all wait for a certain French crime show to return to our screens in a few weeks (Joyeux Noel Engrenages!), there’s another Gallic thriller available on All4/Walter Presents to tide us over. Vanished By The Lake isn’t exactly new – it aired in its native country in 2015 – but it’s now been picked up under the Walter Presents banner as “the French Broadchurch”. Although the two shows share a similar theme in a seaside town ruptured by the disappearance of a child, it’s significantly lighter in tone and at just six episodes is a lot easier to digest too. Think of it as the bonus stocking filler in your festive TV schedule. Continue reading

Review: Witnesses (S1 E5&6/8), Saturday 9th December, BBC Four

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NB: SPOILERS INSIDE

After last week’s third and fourth episode – where Sandra Winkler and Catherine Keemer went rogue and formed their own crime drama version of Thelma and Louise – things are now bubbling nicely on Witnesses, although Sandra’s torturing of suspect Martin Souriau left a bitter taste in the mouth. You got the sense that these two women, who had formed an unlikely friendship and bond, were being pushed to the absolute limits: their children and personal lives had been threatened and they were willing to do anything – anything – to resolve their situations and protect their families. Continue reading