On Saturday 2nd June, The Wire celebrated its 15th anniversary. It was first broadcast on HBO back in 2002, a cable network in the US that had become the touchstone for a new era of quality adult drama. At the vanguard of this new generation was The Wire – a word-of-mouth cult hit that showcased the lives of flawed law enforcement officers and drug-dealing gangs on the streets and in the projects of Baltimore. Often cited as the greatest TV show of all time, rightly so in my opinion, it was only fair that I doffed my cap to this staggering, rich, deep and sometimes shocking five-season series.
I love Line Of Duty. I love Steve Arnott and his chippy little ways; I love Kate Fleming’s calm insouciance; I love Ted Hastings and his paternal, old-fashioned sheriff ways; and, more to the point, I love the fact that writer and director Jed Mercurio has torn up the rule book when it comes to crime drama. He kills people – established characters no less – without too much concern. Big-name actors, too. I love the fact that the characters he allows to stick around are deeply flawed but have so much ambiguity you don’t know whether you’re coming or going with them. Lenny James’ Tony Gates, Keeley Hawes’ Lindsay Denton, Daniel Mays’ Danny Waldron. and not forgetting Craig Parkinson’s Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan. Heck, even the members of AC-12 are hardly heroes in the traditional sense. They all had so much going on with their characters – nuances, depth, emotional entry points. You weren’t sure whether to love them or hate them. So the addition of Thandie Newton – a seriously good actress – and her character DCI Roz Huntley should have been a shoo-in into this esteemed gang of flawed are-they-aren’t-they characters. But with the series finale looming large on the horizon, I’m still waiting for the moment when things click with me with Roz Huntley. As dazzling and as addictive as the show is, I’m not quite there with it this series. Why?
NB: Spoilers inside
It’s that time again: we all go on the Broadchurch bus tonight to find out who raped not only Trish Winterman, but also others before her. It has been a good, intense series with some outstanding performances, so I hope that the ending stacks up and is satisfying. A show like Broadchurch deserves to end well. But we’re faced with the question: whodunit? Chris Chibnall has presented a quintet of main suspects that he has kept in the spotlight throughout. We’ve seen some subterfuge, some red herrings and some genuine reasons for suspicion. But now? Let’s review the suspects and then you can have your say…
One of the more eagerly awaited crime dramas of the year starts up on Sky Atlantic tonight. Midnight Sun is a French/Swedish effort, written and created by Måns Mårlind and Bjorn Stein (who have previous on The Bridge) and made by French powerhouse Canal+. It stars Leïla Bekhti as Kahina Zadi, a French police officer, who travels to Kiruna, a small mining community in the remote far north of Sweden to investigate a brutal murder of a French citizen. With the help of Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten), a Swedish DA and a member of the Sami, an ancient, indigenous tribe of Scandinavia, they are faced with new killings. The initial murder turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. So far, so intriguing. But what makes this extremely interesting is the inclusion of the Sami in the series – that Scandinavian tribe of people who live in the far, far north and little is known about, certainly in the UK. So who are they? And what relationship do they have with the rest of the Nordic people? We asked our Swedish correspondant, Charlotte, to give us the lowdown.
Last week saw the start of much-anticipated prequel to Prime Suspect, Prime Suspect 1973. Our own reviewer, Deborah, felt that it was ok but ‘wearyingly predictable’. Now friend of the site and brilliant crime author Sarah Hilary has presented her own opinion on that first episode – and it’s not entirely complimentary.
Crime drama is super, mega-busy at the moment and we’re trying our best to cover as much stuff as we can here at The Killing Times. One US series that slipped under the radar was Search Party, which, I was reliably informed was an entertaining mix of comedy and thriller. I was told this by a friend and work colleague, who very kindly offered to write a little bit about the show and why he got so into it. Over to you Ben…
Right, it’s back to business. We’ve had Sherlock to kick 2017 off in big, thrillery style and this week is jam-packed full of new crime dramas. But it’s not just this week that’s jam-packed with stuff, oh no. The whole bloody year looks as though it’ll be rammed with crime drama. So I’ve scoured the internet and asked some of my contacts for the lowdown on what we can expect. And what can we expect? Lots and lots and lots. You’ll find over 30 crime dramas over the jump, some with estimated transmission dates (don’t hold me to many of them, please) and the one thing you can say about 2017 is that there will be some HUGE – some of the genre’s real big hitters – making a return. Strap yourselves in because you may as well sack off family, friends any kind f social life you had planned.