Review: Line of Duty (BBC2) 1×1

Not bad for a British drama

In the Line of Duty

In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, BBC2. Available on the iPlayer

Well, if I’m going to start watching UK dramas again, I guess BBC2 – and a drama written by Jed Mercurio and starring the wonderful Lennie James (from Jericho et al), no less – is a good place to start. Line of Duty is a police complaints procedural that looks at an investigation into a top cop’s apparently spotless, amazing record to see how he manages it. Along the way, we get to see how the Met now deals with complaints – both officially and unofficially – while watching the police investigating themselves in a (to use a cliché) game of cat and mouse.

And while it’s actually pretty good, there’s a faint whim of the ridiculous throughout, to the extent you’re sometimes not sure whether it’s being serious, being deliberately funny or is simply having trouble taking itself seriously.

Here’s a trailer followed by the first four minutes or so. You’ll see what I mean about not knowing whether it’s supposed to be ridiculous or not from the the second video.

About
Following one multi-stranded investigation over five hours, Line Of Duty sees Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) transferred to AC-12, a fictional anti-corruption unit, after a mistaken shooting during a counter-terrorist operation. Alongside Detective Constable Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), they are assigned to lead an investigation into the alleged corruption by a popular and successful officer, Detective Chief Inspector Tony Gates (Lennie James). While Gates cleverly manipulates his unit’s figures, DS Arnott questions whether Gates’s being made a scapegoat for a culture of institutionalised spin, or is guilty of darker corruption?

Writer Jed Mercurio says: “I’m hugely excited by the opportunity to set a drama in the controversial realities of 21st century policing. Line Of Duty is a commentary on the perverse bureaucracy that hamstrings frontline officers, but first and foremost it’s a thriller.

“Lennie James is electric as DCI Tony Gates, a complex and elusive anti-hero, and a formidable antagonist for two of the most exciting young talents in British TV – Martin Compston and Vicky McClure – who play the relentless anti-corruption officers on his trail. Twists and turns are added by a star-studded cast including Gina McKee, Neil Morrissey, Adrian Dunbar, Kate Ashfield, Craig Parkinson and Paul Higgins.”

Is it any good?
The first episode is an odd combination. The direction is serviceable, but derivative: shakycam that isn’t quite shaky enough to give the impression of a documentary, but is shaky enough that you can’t help but think it would have been better if they’d stuck the camera on a damn tripod.

Despite the once-excellent Mercurio being behind both the writing and the production, the first 10 minutes have some quite painfully bad dialogue and plotting that makes me think he hasn’t quite recovered from his Strike Back experience. An anti-terrorist sergeant having to fill out the health and safety paperwork mid-raid? What a subtle way to make your point, Mr Mercurio.

Then there’s that faint whim of ridiculousness. For example, when Adrian Dunbar, the head of the investigation unit who’s out to get James, claims to know what discrimination is like because he’s Catholic Irish, so he can’t be racist, he says: “I’m blacker than anyone”. Is that supposed to demonstrate how clueless the police can be or is it a serious line? I can’t tell.

On the acting side, the lead, Martin Compston, is quite possibly the least charismatic person I’ve ever seen starring in a British drama – literally any other actor in the cast (particularly Vicky McClur) or possibly in the world would have been a better choice, to the extent that it’s about as exciting watching him Googling as it to see him running an anti-terrorist operation. It’s usually a fatal mistake to make the audience care about 20 times – maybe 21 times, just to be accurate – more about the criminal being investigated than the hero, but that appears to be the choice here.

We also have “and Neil Morrissey” (that’s how he’s credited for no good reason), Craig Parkinson from Misfits and Claire Keelan from No Heroics playing the comedy angle for all its worth, making it hard to take any of them seriously as the hardcore crime investigators they’re supposed to be. Morrissey even has a walking stick. No, seriously. He points at things with it, too.

But to counter all of that, after those first 10 dismal minutes, the dialogue picks up. It becomes well paced and does have some good action scenes. Lennie James is fabulous, as is Adrian Dunbar and Gina McKee (last seen being wasted in Missing) delivers a lovely, subtle performance that plays with viewer expectations, just as her apparent b-plot with James does, ratcheting up the tension with every twist. It’s also political, with cops showing off all their intriguing tricks for dodging investigative bullets, passing the buck and rigging the stats.

Line of Duty isn’t exactly a masterpiece. It’s not the new Between The Lines, either, but it’s got a lot going for it and James is almost always worth watching, so give it a try.




  • The other David

    I have to agree with you, Rob, on this. While I love seeing the serene Ms. McKee, this was a disappointment (story & plotwise — Ms. McKee can do no wrong). I'll probably stick around as along as Ms. McKee's character does, there isn't much besides that to recommend the show.

  • The other David

    I have to agree with you, Rob, on this. While I love seeing the serene Ms. McKee, this was a disappointment (story & plotwise — Ms. McKee can do no wrong). I'll probably stick around as along as Ms. McKee's character does, there isn't much besides that to recommend the show.

  • Mark Carroll

    Please let it know how it goes. I'm still deciding if I want to watch this.

  • The other David

    I have to agree with you, Rob, on this. While I love seeing the serene Ms. McKee, this was a disappointment (story & plotwise — Ms. McKee can do no wrong). I’ll probably stick around as along as Ms. McKee’s character does, there isn’t much besides that to recommend the show.

  • Mark Carroll

    Please let it know how it goes. I’m still deciding if I want to watch this.

    • Third episode was almost great, but just got ludicrous towards the end so I gave up on it. Sigh

  • Hazel

    I'm glad I'm not the only one to think Compston is a charisma free zone. The series itself is preposterous and unsubtle but since episode 2 had a cracking ending, I do want to know what happens next.

  • AnotherHazel

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to think Compston is a charisma free zone. The series itself is preposterous and unsubtle but since episode 2 had a cracking ending, I do want to know what happens next.

    • I agree. I did not see that coming!

  • I agree. I did not see that coming!

  • Bionic Ann

    Glad to see something worth watching again on BBC.
    What a shame I cannot hear the dialogue sometimes due to the volume of the “mood” din (can't call it music as only two notes).
    Excellent new drama.

  • Bionic Ann

    Glad to see something worth watching again on BBC.
    What a shame I cannot hear the dialogue sometimes due to the volume of the “mood” din (can’t call it music as only two notes).
    Excellent new drama.

    • Gino in OZ

      so it is just not me, too many good shows are ruined by someones idea of mood music. gino in oz

      • Doctor Who is the worst for that. Murray Gold can occasionally write good music, but it’s mixed so that it drowns out everything

        • Gino in OZ

          Dozens of programs are ruined this way, what they need is a “proof reader” someone not involved in the production who can review it as the viewer would. Any relation to the Bickley’s in Colne? Gino.

          _____

          • The proofreader would also need to be someone who doesn’t listen to it in an edit suite. I’m sure a lot of the problem is that the mix sounds fine when you have an expensive sound system, with surround speakers, etc, but when transposed to a real-world TV set with relatively poor speakers, everything gets ‘squashed together’ and it sounds terrible.

            No relationship to the Bickleys that I know of!

          • Gino in OZ

            That should have been Buckley. I met Ian in Skipton when we were there in 2006. Gino.

            _____

  • Gino in OZ

    a great show spoiled by an appalling sound track. that damned piano drowns out the dialogue. what the heck was the sound mixer doing? please cut the background noise, it serves no purpose.

  • Gino in OZ

    so it is just not me, too many good shows are ruined by someones idea of mood music. gino in oz

  • Gino in OZ

    a great show spoiled by an appalling sound track. that damned piano drowns out the dialogue. what the heck was the sound mixer doing? please cut the background noise, it serves no purpose.

    • launcelot

      I got hardly any of the dialogue involving Tommy in the police van at the end of episode 5. Anyone care to enlighten me?

  • Wendywoo

    This has been the best thing on BBC for a very long time, quite violent, but very well cast, and acted. Joy of joys, something to look forward to each week.

  • Wendywoo

    This has been the best thing on BBC for a very long time, quite violent, but very well cast, and acted. Joy of joys, something to look forward to each week.

  • Doctor Who is the worst for that. Murray Gold can occasionally write good music, but it's mixed so that it drowns out everything

  • Gino in OZ

    Dozens of programs are ruined this way, what they need is a “proof reader” someone not involved in the production who can review it as the viewer would. Any relation to the Bickley's in Colne? Gino.

    _____

  • The proofreader would also need to be someone who doesn't listen to it in an edit suite. I'm sure a lot of the problem is that the mix sounds fine when you have an expensive sound system, with surround speakers, etc, but when transposed to a real-world TV set with relatively poor speakers, everything gets 'squashed together' and it sounds terrible.

    No relationship to the Bickleys that I know of!

  • Third episode was almost great, but just got ludicrous towards the end so I gave up on it. Sigh

  • Gino in OZ

    That should have been Buckley. I met Ian in Skipton when we were there in 2006. Gino.

    _____

  • Carty

    I cannot believe that this is on the BBC. They must have outbid Motors TV. to get it. A thoroughly preposterous piece of fiction that is one dimensional and lacks any subtlety of plot or characterisation. I have continued to watch as I am amazed at how a script and plot can go on being so appalling for so long.
    The BBC owe me four hours of life that I have wasted on this.

  • Carty

    I cannot believe that this is on the BBC. They must have outbid Motors TV. to get it. A thoroughly preposterous piece of fiction that is one dimensional and lacks any subtlety of plot or characterisation. I have continued to watch as I am amazed at how a script and plot can go on being so appalling for so long.
    The BBC owe me four hours of life that I have wasted on this.

  • The one quibble I have with this show is that some of the characters, and especially Steve Arnott, do not appear tall enough to be coppers, or have the height requirements for UK police forces changed?

  • Diane Stokes

    whose idiotic idea was it to have the explanatory voice-over from an out-of-work sat.nav artiste. The dumbing-down mechanism ruined everything and I shan't even bother to watch the end. Which i'm sure will be as trite as most of the acting and twisted-for-the-sake-of-it story line.Cricket beats this any night of the week.

  • Hairy_Scot

    The one quibble I have with this show is that some of the characters, and especially Steve Arnott, do not appear tall enough to be coppers, or have the height requirements for UK police forces changed?

  • Diane Stokes

    whose idiotic idea was it to have the explanatory voice-over from an out-of-work sat.nav artiste. The dumbing-down mechanism ruined everything and I shan’t even bother to watch the end. Which i’m sure will be as trite as most of the acting and twisted-for-the-sake-of-it story line.Cricket beats this any night of the week.

  • Margaret Barker

    This has to be the best thing on TV at the moment – can't understand why it's 'hiding' on BBC2 though – defiantly worth being on BBC1 (bet it will be repeated on 1 very soon) – I kinda agree that Steve Arnott seems too short to be a copper but other than that, this drama is absolutely brilliant & defiantly worth watching – can't wait for next weeks concluding episode!!

  • Margaret Barker

    This has to be the best thing on TV at the moment – can’t understand why it’s ‘hiding’ on BBC2 though – defiantly worth being on BBC1 (bet it will be repeated on 1 very soon) – I kinda agree that Steve Arnott seems too short to be a copper but other than that, this drama is absolutely brilliant & defiantly worth watching – can’t wait for next weeks concluding episode!!

  • kazzalou33

    One of the best dramas I have ever seen on the BBC. The acting is top notch, and although the storyline is, at times, a little convoluted – it doesn't detract from it's gritty theme. It's been a long time since I looked forward to watching something on the BBC – I recommend this as a great new drama!

  • kazzalou33

    One of the best dramas I have ever seen on the BBC. The acting is top notch, and although the storyline is, at times, a little convoluted – it doesn’t detract from it’s gritty theme. It’s been a long time since I looked forward to watching something on the BBC – I recommend this as a great new drama!

  • Rick Wilkinson

    For goodness sake, buy a tripod! I know the BBC is cutting back but you can get one from Jessops for 40 quid. Wobbly camera work is just shoddy.
    Apart from that, I really like the programme. Hope there's more soon (but this time made with appropriate mechanical support for the camera!)

  • Rick Wilkinson

    For goodness sake, buy a tripod! I know the BBC is cutting back but you can get one from Jessops for 40 quid. Wobbly camera work is just shoddy.
    Apart from that, I really like the programme. Hope there’s more soon (but this time made with appropriate mechanical support for the camera!)

    • Deborah

      Yep, I agree. What the heck was the director doing whilst the camera operator suffered from the shakes – and there was obviously no focus puller either.

      • JohnL

        I have just arrived here to make precisely this point. A great series, totally ruined by the dreadful, thoughtless camerawork. When will this wretched fad for end-to-end wobblyscope end? It’s mindless, juvenile and very annoying. And makes no sense when used throughout a drama – regardless of the mood of the scene. It has a place for action scenes, fine, but for conversations or to convey pathos or sensitivity or the calm before the next chase, stop it! Put the camera on legs! Change the record to suit the mood! Think what you are trying to convey! If the audience is aware of the camerawork, it probably isn’t working. It should be anonymous by being appropriate. Directors who think that out-of-focus, hand-held hosepiping is clever (rather than amateur) should grow up and get an intellect. And mainstream TV should avoid employing them until they can demonstrate an understanding of the basics of cinematic vocabulary.

  • rbof

    Compelling, riveting and unmissable drama. TV of this quality is worth five times the value of a sky subscription. License fee money very well spent. ….quite tragic that one of the lead characters had to die � I was looking forward to the next series.

  • Danielle

    Fantastic. Best thing on TV for a long time. Fianlly a drama that keeps you guessing til the end. Very well written and very well acted. More like this please BBC! 🙂

  • Deborah

    Great drama spoiled by some of the most appalling camera work I have ever seen.. Shaky and out of focus – it was a constant distraction every time it was used. Is that the director to blame?
    Such a shame… A real spoiler.

  • Deborah

    Yep, I agree. What the heck was the director doing whilst the camera operator suffered from the shakes – and there was obviously no focus puller either.

  • Best Detective in the City

    I absolutely enjoyed Line of Duty and I would like to give a big credit to Jed Marcurio and the rest of the team who helped produce and raise the exciting episodes, unfortunetly the one and only thing which I am very upset about and disappointed is that theres so much talented actors and producers in it but only released 5 episodes?? We really hope that Line of duty comes back on and continues its remarkable joy but to be fairly honest it wont be exciting to watch if the best detective in the the city ( DC Tony Gates wasn't there.. The best actors which I preffered are: DC Tony Gates,Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, Nigel Morton.. The thing which I very much enjoyed about Jack Laverty was first her huge house and how she sounds so sophisticated when she talks, I love Tony Gates 2011 Jaguar and Nigel Mortons new Lexus RX.. Lastly but not least I would like to make a fair deal that if you produce more of Line of Duty then we will make sure that we all vote for Line of Duty to win the Brits soap awards..

  • rbof

    Compelling, riveting and unmissable drama. TV of this quality is worth five times the value of a sky subscription. License fee money very well spent. ….quite tragic that one of the lead characters had to die … I was looking forward to the next series.

  • Danielle

    Fantastic. Best thing on TV for a long time. Fianlly a drama that keeps you guessing til the end. Very well written and very well acted. More like this please BBC! 🙂

  • Deborah

    Great drama spoiled by some of the most appalling camera work I have ever seen.. Shaky and out of focus – it was a constant distraction every time it was used. Is that the director to blame?
    Such a shame… A real spoiler.

  • stewart

    What a fantastic British drama, amazing story line and brilliant acting!! What am I going to watch now its finished!!!

  • Hugh

    Quite simply the best drama that I have seen in years – excellent, convuluted plot that keeps you guessing to the end. I loved the way the plot evolved, the moral questions that arose, and how the characters dealt with them. Good Cop Bad Cop? Well just as in real life, the real bad guy, is the one you least suspect. A complete masterpeice, we were riveted from start to finish – first time in ages that our social life revolved around the TV schedule!

  • Best Detective in the City

    I absolutely enjoyed Line of Duty and I would like to give a big credit to Jed Marcurio and the rest of the team who helped produce and raise the exciting episodes, unfortunetly the one and only thing which I am very upset about and disappointed is that theres so much talented actors and producers in it but only released 5 episodes?? We really hope that Line of duty comes back on and continues its remarkable joy but to be fairly honest it wont be exciting to watch if the best detective in the the city ( DC Tony Gates wasn’t there.. The best actors which I preffered are: DC Tony Gates,Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, Nigel Morton.. The thing which I very much enjoyed about Jack Laverty was first her huge house and how she sounds so sophisticated when she talks, I love Tony Gates 2011 Jaguar and Nigel Mortons new Lexus RX.. Lastly but not least I would like to make a fair deal that if you produce more of Line of Duty then we will make sure that we all vote for Line of Duty to win the Brits soap awards..

  • Katy Ann M.

    Amazing amazing amazing! – the most brilliant drama I have seen in recent years. The cast, the writer, everyone involved should be so proud. Rarely does a drama that starts well keep up the quality from end to end but this did! Please do more like this – can't you get Lennie James back by doing a prequel…..he deserves to be a major player – his acting was sublime! There is no justice if this doesn't win awards!

  • Captain Biggles

    Absolutely brilliant! All the cast, the crew and of course the writer, should give themselves a pat on the back for a wonderful series. Let's stuff the 'rubbish Yankee mass dross' that's thrust down our antennae 7 days a week, and have some more of this please, good British drama at its best. More, More, More! Please….?

  • stewart

    What a fantastic British drama, amazing story line and brilliant acting!! What am I going to watch now its finished!!!

  • Hugh

    Quite simply the best drama that I have seen in years – excellent, convuluted plot that keeps you guessing to the end. I loved the way the plot evolved, the moral questions that arose, and how the characters dealt with them. Good Cop Bad Cop? Well just as in real life, the real bad guy, is the one you least suspect. A complete masterpeice, we were riveted from start to finish – first time in ages that our social life revolved around the TV schedule!

    • Stanno

      Totally agree! Lots of dramas start off well, then degenerate into a rushed, rubbishy ending. Not this one though. Excellent from start to finish.

  • Sarah

    Brilliant TV Drama, one of the best I've ever seen!. Kept us on the edge of our seats from start to finish and fantastic acting by Vicky McClure (Fleming), Martin Compston (Arnot), Lennie James (Gates) and Neil Morrisey (Morton). Very surprised by the ending, would have been nice to see some justice done. So glad it is coming back for a second series.

  • Jack

    Brilliant if only they released the sound track though.

  • Snuf

    Simply the worst ending ever of a superb serie, wich totally ruins the whole serie. Never going to watch anything from the makers of this serie.

  • Katy Ann M.

    Amazing amazing amazing! – the most brilliant drama I have seen in recent years. The cast, the writer, everyone involved should be so proud. Rarely does a drama that starts well keep up the quality from end to end but this did! Please do more like this – can’t you get Lennie James back by doing a prequel…..he deserves to be a major player – his acting was sublime! There is no justice if this doesn’t win awards!

  • Captain Biggles

    Absolutely brilliant! All the cast, the crew and of course the writer, should give themselves a pat on the back for a wonderful series. Let’s stuff the ‘rubbish Yankee mass dross’ that’s thrust down our antennae 7 days a week, and have some more of this please, good British drama at its best. More, More, More! Please….?

  • Sarah

    Brilliant TV Drama, one of the best I’ve ever seen!. Kept us on the edge of our seats from start to finish and fantastic acting by Vicky McClure (Fleming), Martin Compston (Arnot), Lennie James (Gates) and Neil Morrisey (Morton). Very surprised by the ending, would have been nice to see some justice done. So glad it is coming back for a second series.

  • Jack

    Brilliant if only they released the sound track though.

  • Snuf

    Simply the worst ending ever of a superb serie, wich totally ruins the whole serie. Never going to watch anything from the makers of this serie.

  • JohnL

    I have just arrived here to make precisely this point. A great series, totally ruined by the dreadful, thoughtless camerawork. When will this wretched fad for end-to-end wobblyscope end? It's mindless, juvenile and very annoying. And makes no sense when used throughout a drama – regardless of the mood of the scene. It has a place for action scenes, fine, but for conversations or to convey pathos or sensitivity or the calm before the next chase, stop it! Put the camera on legs! Change the record to suit the mood! Think what you are trying to convey! If the audience is aware of the camerawork, it probably isn't working. It should be anonymous by being appropriate. Directors who think that out-of-focus, hand-held hosepiping is clever (rather than amateur) should grow up and get an intellect. And mainstream TV should avoid employing them until they can demonstrate an understanding of the basics of cinematic vocabulary.

  • Stanno

    Totally agree! Lots of dramas start off well, then degenerate into a rushed, rubbishy ending. Not this one though. Excellent from start to finish.

  • launcelot

    I got hardly any of the dialogue involving Tommy in the police van at the end of episode 5. Anyone care to enlighten me?

  • Gino in OZ

    I have seen the five episodes but due to the overwhelming sound track, missed all the important dialogue. So what the hell happened? Somebody please give an explanation of the final ten minutes. Gino in OZ.

  • Maria

    Excellant series, couldn't miss an episode as Hugh says Quite simply the best drama that I have seen in ages. Real 'on the edge of your seat' stuff, well done BBC!

  • Electric Dragon

    That scene in the police van was hard to make out. I had to put subtitles on. Basically it was

    <spoiler>Tommy: Alright, son, how do you suggest I play this hole?
    Cotton: Top brass think the Greek Street gang were involved with al Qaeda. Play along and you can get immunity.
    Tommy: Best caddy I ever had.</spoiler>

  • Gino in OZ

    I have seen the five episodes but due to the overwhelming sound track, missed all the important dialogue. So what the hell happened? Somebody please give an explanation of the final ten minutes. Gino in OZ.

  • d4nc00per

    love it, make more!!!

  • Maria

    Excellant series, couldn’t miss an episode as Hugh says Quite simply the best drama that I have seen in ages. Real ‘on the edge of your seat’ stuff, well done BBC!

  • Electric Dragon

    That scene in the police van was hard to make out. I had to put subtitles on. Basically it was

    Tommy: Alright, son, how do you suggest I play this hole?
    Cotton: Top brass think the Greek Street gang were involved with al Qaeda. Play along and you can get immunity.
    Tommy: Best caddy I ever had.

  • d4nc00per

    love it, make more!!!

  • StevieP

    Just caught up with the final episodes after my hols. I loved this little drama – great acting, great story lines and kept us almost guessing to the end. But what was with the appalling 'shaking' camera stuff? The camera work seemed to get worse towards the ending and was a real spoiler for me. Second series? Great – but shoot the thing in steadicam next time.

  • Fido

    I absolutely loved the whole series – looked forward to it every week and am so sad it's now over – it was real 'edge of your seat' stuff and Lennie James was amazing. I agree with that person who suggested the writers do a Prequel next as doing the series without Lennie James is pointless. Thought actor who played Arnott was a bad choice, though he was annoying and irritating enough to fit the role very well in one sense….

  • StevieP

    Just caught up with the final episodes after my hols. I loved this little drama – great acting, great story lines and kept us almost guessing to the end. But what was with the appalling ‘shaking’ camera stuff? The camera work seemed to get worse towards the ending and was a real spoiler for me. Second series? Great – but shoot the thing in steadicam next time.

  • Fido

    I absolutely loved the whole series – looked forward to it every week and am so sad it’s now over – it was real ‘edge of your seat’ stuff and Lennie James was amazing. I agree with that person who suggested the writers do a Prequel next as doing the series without Lennie James is pointless. Thought actor who played Arnott was a bad choice, though he was annoying and irritating enough to fit the role very well in one sense….

  • UlyssesJoyce

    Oh puleeze! This started quite well and then dumbed downwards. Remember everyone: when the plot MIGHT be getting too heavy 'wobble the camera about' AND when audience attention MIGHT be dropping off 'wobble the camera about A LOT!'. This guarantees they'll think they're watching something very exciting; even when there's no evidence of it. My Sony Xperia takes steadier shots than these camera operators are instructed to produce.
    The actors were very good and the script was quite good (I haven't read the book and didn't see what was cut – please forgive me). So, why-oh-why rollout the wobblicam 'all the time' to telegraph the important bits AND add 'too-loud' music in case we can't see very well. Thank Goodness for subtitles. BBC Productions, please give your cameras the freedom to demonstrate their skills to make steady pans and zooms so we don't feel queasy at the ten munute mark.
    Lastly, when you are running a pursuit, please cut the bits where a 'civvy' car overtakes the response cops.

  • UlyssesJoyce

    Oh puleeze! This started quite well and then dumbed downwards. Remember everyone: when the plot MIGHT be getting too heavy ‘wobble the camera about’ AND when audience attention MIGHT be dropping off ‘wobble the camera about A LOT!’. This guarantees they’ll think they’re watching something very exciting; even when there’s no evidence of it. My Sony Xperia takes steadier shots than these camera operators are instructed to produce.
    The actors were very good and the script was quite good (I haven’t read the book and didn’t see what was cut – please forgive me). So, why-oh-why rollout the wobblicam ‘all the time’ to telegraph the important bits AND add ‘too-loud’ music in case we can’t see very well. Thank Goodness for subtitles. BBC Productions, please give your cameras the freedom to demonstrate their skills to make steady pans and zooms so we don’t feel queasy at the ten munute mark.
    Lastly, when you are running a pursuit, please cut the bits where a ‘civvy’ car overtakes the response cops.

  • Seriously, is this series supposed to be a piss take, or what? It started out well and I really like Vicky McClure (who was wonderful in “Romeo Brass” and “This is England”), but the plot soon becomes utterly ridiculous, far fetched and completely unbelievable. It also lays on with a trowel the whole “police-are-so-hampered-by-paperwork-that-they-can't-even-do-their-noble-duty-protecting-the-public” thing. Come on…risk assessment when storming a threatening crime scene?! Look, we get the message, ok? You don't need to be quite so unsubtle about it. As for the acting, Lennie James is pretty good as Gates and there are one or two other decent performances, but Martin Compston is truly shocking! He is like a slab of mild cheddar. Charisma vacuum doesn't even come close – he can barely deliver a line without it sounding awkward, forced and (quite frankly) like he's reading it out in a bad school play. He is also clearly struggling with whatever peculiar accent he is desperately attempting to master. I got as far as episode four before giving up in the face of one absurd cliche after another (feral inner city kids terrorizing adults has been done to death now – please give us a break). Dear oh dear.

  • Seriously, is this series supposed to be a piss take, or what? It started out well and I really like Vicky McClure (who was wonderful in “Romeo Brass” and “This is England”), but the plot soon becomes utterly ridiculous, far fetched and completely unbelievable. It also lays on with a trowel the whole “police-are-so-hampered-by-paperwork-that-they-can't-even-do-their-noble-duty-protecting-the-public” thing. Come on…risk assessment when storming a threatening crime scene?! Look, we get the message, ok? You don't need to be quite so unsubtle about it. As for the acting, Lennie James is pretty good as Gates and there are one or two other decent performances, but Martin Compston is truly shocking! He is like a slab of mild cheddar. Charisma vacuum doesn't even come close – he can barely deliver a line without it sounding awkward, forced and (quite frankly) like he's reading it out in a bad school play. He is also clearly struggling with whatever peculiar accent he is desperately attempting to master. I got as far as episode four before giving up in the face of one absurd cliche after another (feral inner city kids terrorizing adults has been done to death now – please give us a break). Dear oh dear.

  • Stuart Taylor

    Seriously, is this series supposed to be a piss take, or what? It started out well and I really like Vicky McClure (who was wonderful in “Romeo Brass” and “This is England”), but the plot soon becomes utterly ridiculous, far fetched and completely unbelievable. It also lays on with a trowel the whole “police-are-so-hampered-by-paperwork-that-they-can’t-even-do-their-noble-duty-protecting-the-public” thing. Come on…risk assessment when storming a threatening crime scene?! Look, we get the message, ok? You don’t need to be quite so unsubtle about it. As for the acting, Lennie James is pretty good as Gates and there are one or two other decent performances, but Martin Compston is truly shocking! He is like a slab of mild cheddar. Charisma vacuum doesn’t even come close – he can barely deliver a line without it sounding awkward, forced and (quite frankly) like he’s reading it out in a bad school play. He is also clearly struggling with whatever peculiar accent he is desperately attempting to master. I got as far as episode four before giving up in the face of one absurd cliche after another (feral inner city kids terrorizing adults has been done to death now – please give us a break). Dear oh dear.

  • Lynn

    Why is this not on DVD

  • Lynn

    Why is this not on DVD

  • Lynn

    Why is this not on DVD