Oh how we enjoyed Spanish series I Know Who You Are (Sé quién eres). The twisty-turny series – which we dubbed Shakespeare on speed – was such fun, populated as it was by such a loathsome cast of characters (too loathsome for some) and possessed of such a fervent pace that it was tremendous fun to watch. In fact, we voted it number six in our favourite crime dramas of 2017 (read that here). Now news reaches us that a US network will rework it for an American audience.
Last week’s opening episode of Sarah Phelps’ three-part adaptation of Ordeal By Innocence was a delicious, decadent treat for the senses: its colour palette was vibrant, both inside and out of the Argyll’s contradictorily-named Sunny Point (I’m slightly in love with Mary and Phillip Durrant’s emerald green and pink Art Deco bathroom… but this isn’t an interior design website so I’ll shut up now); the patented Agatha Christie whodunit element was as addictive as the morphine in Mary’s bathroom; and the ensemble cast was clearly putting its best foot forward and enjoying itself. Last week, the murder of matriarch, Rachel Argyll, and the subsequent death of the accused – adopted son Jack Argyll – was back in the forefront of each family member’s mind again: a man named Arthur Calgary had emerged, saying that Jack was innocent. So whodunit?
Another week, and another busy one in the land of crime drama. The new arrival is series four of the critically acclaimed Bosch over on Amazon Prime, and then – at the weekend – series two of Salamander begins. Elsewhere, we say goodbye to Ordeal By Innocence and Marcella.
By the end of this eight-part series, I was left thinking that this was the crime drama equivalent of a basketball game – you could’ve just tuned into the last five minutes and actually not bothered with the rest. A little harsh, I know, but it these final two episodes really didn’t move me or engage me in the ways that I really wanted it to. Which was a shame, because before then the series had been intriguing and had plenty of tense moments.
China Miéville’s much-lauded, award-winning novel The City & The City finally gets the BBC adaptation treatment, after lying around in development hell with the broadcaster since 2015. A heady combination of police procedural and ‘weird’ fiction, the story centers around two cities called Ul Qoma and Beszel that occupy the same geographical space – but whose residents are taught from birth to ignore or ‘unsee’ the inhabitants and environment of the other city, even if they are an inch away. Failure to comply can lead to a call from the Breach – a Stasi-style secret police force who patrol the ‘crossed borders’ of these twinned cities and ‘disappear’ offenders. Into this Kafka-esque dystopia comes Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Beszel Extreme Crime Squad, who’s investigation into the murder of a woman on the city limits leads him into a sinister conspiracy that threatens the very existence of the city itself. David Morrissey heads up a strong ensemble cast as Borlú, and it’s something of a reunion for the actor with Red Riding and The Missing alumni Tom Shankland (The Missing, Ripper Street) back in the director’s chair alongside a script adaptation from Tony Grisoni (Red Riding, Southcliffe). Due to it’s hallucinogenic premise, the book itself has long been considered unfilmable – can the BBC make the impossible possible?
It’s a new world these days, where social media rules and news and information is communicated to the outside world through these different channels. These channels also allow for people who we once thought were untouchable to communicate directly with fans. Take Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, for instance. She’s posted the first image of Meryl Streep from the set of series two of Big Little Lies on her instagram account. Which is nice for everyone.
BBC Four has had to alter its scheduling slightly in the wake of the break in Below The Surface, but one thing has been fairly sure for a few weeks now: Belgian series Salamander will follow the Danish hostage story. Now we have confirmation of when it will be transmitted.