True Detective — Killer TV No 29

HERE’S the latest in our series of Killer 50 crime dramas…

True Detective Series 1.Episode 05 "The Secret Fate of All Life"..Charles Halford as Reggie Ledoux and Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle..?HomeBoxOffice

Backwoods terror – Charles Halford as Reggie Ledoux and Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle

HBO, 2014-

‘Who’d want to bring life into this meat grinder?’ – Detective Rust Cohle

Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles

Identikit: We see Detectives Martin Hart and Rustin Cohle investigating the ritualistic murder of a former prostitute in Louisiana – and then discussing the case 17 years later when another body has been found posed in a similar style.


logosDARK AND unsettling, True Detective is a powerful, beautifully acted eight-part drama from HBO. Its A-lister stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson pin the audience to their sofas and play out a troubling story across several time frames, beginning in 1995 when they are teamed up to investigate the murder of a former prostitute in south Louisiana. The crime scene, in a field, is staged like a ritualistic killing, with the victim wearing deer antlers. While the investigation of the grisly crime is engrossing, the drama is really centred on Detective Rustin Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson). Cohle suspects the killer has acted before, Hart is not so sure. But the fractiousness in their relationship goes deeper. Cohle has a bleak outlook on life, while Hart is more of an average stressed cop with kids and a wife, to whom he is unfaithful. Cohle is damaged by the death of his own daughter, which led to a reckless time as a narco cop. The 1995 investigation takes them into underbelly of the Bible belt, and is intercut with interviews with the detectives 17 years later, when a similar murder is committed and they are asked to review the case. Detectives Gilbough and Panania are interviewing them now, and Cohle and Hart are talking to a digital camera, documentary style. By this time Cohle has succumbed to his alcoholism and is a long-haired has-been, who hasn’t seen his old partner since 2002. Was he more damaged by the investigation or the road death of his daughter? He was always aloof and unpopular with his cop colleagues, often fell out with Hart, who admired his intelligence but couldn’t stand his pessimism. ‘You don’t choose your parents and you don’t choose your partner,’ Hart tells his modern-day interviewers. But do Gilbough and Panania in 2012 actually suspect Cohle of being involved in the killings? Why did Cohle and Hart fall out irrevocably? And if the case was closed in 1995, how can a similar crime have now been committed 17 years on?

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Cuffs starts filming in Brighton

Just as Brighton shakes off its description as the city that looks like it is “helping police with their enquiries”, along comes a starring…

CURRENTLY creating a hubbub in Brighton is the crew filming BBC1’s new crime series Cuffs. The Brighton Argus has been getting a lot of calls from locals asking what is going on as the film folk take over various parts of the city.

This looks set – if the Beeb gets it right – to be one of the year’s big new dramas. It’s starring Ashley Walters (above, in the Argus‘s picture), along with Sherlock‘s Amanda Abbington and Shaun Dooley, currently on our screens in BBC2’s The Game. It’s focuses on the town’s police officers and detectives and how they deal with local crime in a lively seaside area.

What it also has going for it is writer Julie Gearey, ex-Corrie and woman behind the terrific series Prisoners’ Wives. It is also said to be going out on weeknights at 8pm, perhaps taking over the mantle of the once-excellent The Bill.

Check out the Argus‘s article below for the latest on it. It even quotes CrimeTimePreview on the new show…

Source: BBC has high hopes for new cop drama set on streets of Brighton (From The Argus)

Columbo — Killer TV No 31

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NBC, 1968-78; ABC 1989-2003

‘I called the Commissioner and he said he’d send his very best man.’ – Doris Buckner

‘Is that a fact?’ – Roger Stanford

‘My wife says I’m the second-best. She claims there are 80 men tied for first.’ – Lt Columbo

Peter Falk, with guest stars including Robert Vaughn, Patrick McGoohan, Johnny Cash, Faye Dunaway, Janet Leigh, Johnny Cash, Dick Van Dyke and Billy Connolly

Identikit: Tatty raincoat, chomped cigar and distracted demeanor were all part of Lt Columbo’s camouflage, hiding from slick murderers his Holmesian powers of insight and deduction.


HAILED by no less a mega-brain than Stephen Fry as one of the all-time great cop shows, Columbo turned the whodunit formula on its head because the whodunit was rarely in question. The fun lay in watching self-deprecating, bumbling, crumpled Lt Columbo – the opposite of slick cop action hero – snaring overconfident killers. Columbo’s sting often resided in his ‘Oh, there’s just one more thing’ moments, or his non sequitur remarks during a casual questioning – ‘Gee, you have a wonderful view here’ – all part of the detective’s method of misdirecting and lulling the suspect into underestimating him. In a masterful performance, Peter Falk, who used his own clothes to wear as the shambling cop and improvised his absent-minded fumblings, usually only revealed the steel in Columbo when he was booking the culprit. Therein lay the 0carbiggest mystery in the series. Who was Columbo? Certainly not the clown driving that clapped-out Peugeot 403 that his adversaries assumed he was. His ‘never exactly thin’ wife does not appear, but, assuming he’s not a secret cross-dressing cabaret artist, he seems to be an ordinary Joe who likes pool, cooking, limericks, bowling, Westerns, Italian opera, Strauss waltzes, golf, and football on television – but who also has an extraordinary brain. The character was dreamed up by William Link, who was partly inspired by Porfiry Petrovich in Crime and Punishment and GK Chesterton’s Father Brown, and was further developed in a short story written by Link and Richard Levinson in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Columbo first appeared in a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mystery Show (played by actor Bert Freed). Prescription: Murder, a TV movie starring Falk, went out in 1968 and the show started alternating with McCloud, McMillan & Wife and other whodunits in NBC’s Mystery Movie slot in 1968. His last appearance came in 2003. British crime writer Mark Billingham is another admirer of the series, and said recently: ‘I’m still a big fan of Columbo, which really was revolutionary television. Not just because it was more about the dance of death between Columbo and the perpetrator than simply who did it, but also because of the people who worked on it, such as Spielberg and Jonathan Demme.’ [Guardian 4 8 12]

Classic episode: Death Lends a Hand, one of the early movies from 1971, and starring Robert Culp, Pat Crowley and Ray Milland, this is an episode most admired by hardcore fans. This time the murder is accidental as private eye Culp, hired by powerful publisher Milland to watch his wife (Crowley), tries to blackmail her when he realises she is having an affair. Director Bernard L Kowalski films the post-murder scenes in montage style, the acting is top class and there’s a high-energy jazz score from Gil Melle. By the way, Steven Bochco was story editor.

Watercooler fact: Writer/creators William Link and Richard Levinson suggested in 1968 that the crumpled cop should be played by crooner Bing Crosby. The star apparently felt the commitment to filming would take him away from the golf course too much. Lee J Cobb, the other actor they suggested, had other commitments.

http://www.columbo-site.freeuk.com/

Jordskott, ITV Encore, with Moa Gammel

Jordskott, ITV Encore

Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) in the haunting woods

Riveting Nordic crime drama is back with this atmospheric tale of child abduction and conspiracy.

★★★★ ITV Encore, June, day, time to be confirmed

WHEN The Killing crept into BBC4’s schedules without fanfare in 2011 it famously became a word-of-mouth sensation, making a star of Sofie Gråbøl and igniting our near obsession with subtitled Nordic dramas.

The Bridge, Borgen, Arne Dahl have since become the stand-out successes from Northern Europe. Along the way, British viewers also fell in love with series such as Spiral and Inspector Montalbano from France and Italy.

But while Scandi devotees are stuck waiting for the next series of The Bridge (which will sadly be without Kim Bodnia, and is due late 2015/early 2016) and Arne Dahl (series 2: 2015), the new network ITV Encore has uncovered another quality thriller from Sweden.

Moa Gammel as detective Eva Thornblad

Jordskott immediately hits its stride as an engrossing drama with that quality of Nordic mystique. A vast ancient forest, a child’s disappearance, murky business dealings and a haunted blonde heroine – it’s the full smorgasbord.

Moa Gammel is police inspector Eva Thornblad, whose daughter disappeared by a lake, Silverhöjd, near her hometown seven years ago. When we meet Eva, she is confronting a deranged father, who shoots her.

During her convalescence, she has to return to her hometown to sort out her father’s estate. Conventional wisdom has it that her daughter, Josefine, drowned at the lake, and perhaps Eva has even made herself believe this.

[Read more…]

MP Wright on adapting Callan and Heartman for TV

Mark WrightCRIMETIMEPREVIEW talks to writer MP Wright, who turns 50 next month and has just had his first crime novel, Heartman, published to wide acclaim. Not only is it in the running for four CWA Awards, but the BBC and World Productions are adapting his evocative, dark story – about a Barbadian former police sergeant turned private detective in 1960s Bristol – into a series. 

The hero of Heartman is JT Ellington, who we meet in the book when he’s virtually down and out during a bitter 1960s winter. He is approached by a wealthy Jamaican businessman in Bristol to find a missing girl, and embarks on a perilous search that takes him into privileged circles, where sexual depravity rides hand in hand with corruption.

Having previously worked as a roadie for the likes of Duran Duran, as a private investigator and in the youth offending and probation services, Mark harboured dreams of becoming a writer for many years. Now, famine has turned to feast and he is in demand, writing more Heartman stories, working on a reboot of classic late-1960s series Callan and even talking to Channel 4 about adapting a story set during the Spanish Civil War.

He lives in Leicestershire with his partner, a school teacher, and their two children.


Can you tell us a bit about Heartman and JT Ellington?

I’ve never been into police procedurals. A lot of my crime-writer friends write them, but I’ve never been into them. But because I’ve worked in that field [probation, youth offending], procedurals always felt dull and unreal to me. I’m looking at my bookshelves now and I can see Ross Macdonald and Raymond Chandler, and I’ve always loved those kinds of writers. Jim Burke and Walter Mosley. I love stories about the downtrodden and downbeat. When you meet Ellington he’s a broken man, and when you leave him, he’s doubly broken, but there is hope. The hope comes from Vic [his cousin, a budding criminal but loyal friend].

You are working on your next Heartman book, All Through the Night. What happens in that?

I was desperate to use real events, so All Through the Night involves corrupt orphanages, which was actually happening in the Sixties in Bristol, and the sale of children to members of US Air Force in based in Somerset. The children were moved out to wealthy childless couples in the US.

I liked the idea of Ellington going on the run with a white child in 1960s Bristol. And the only to do that is all through the night. The TV company loved it. The opening is that Ellington is asked to find a Jamaican doctor who is also an illegal abortionist. He’s run off with a number of death certificates for children who’ve apparently died at orphanages. The certificates are false and the doctor knows this. He’s agreed to sign the certificates for children that have been sold. The doctor takes the next child that is to be shipped out. I take the story to places like the Cheddar Gorge, and TV dictated that we’d end the next book at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

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Crime series rule at 2015’s Baftas

Happy Valley series 1 BBC1

Siobhan Finneran and Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

CRIME certainly pays on TV. Mysteries and thrillers dominate this year’s Bafta nominations, with Happy Valley, Line of Duty, The Missing, Peaky Blinders, Sherlock and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies all featuring.

These were all engrossing, first-class dramas, with some of the actors involved giving the performances of their lives. Keeley Hawes and Sarah Lancashire were simply superb in Line of Duty – which was better in its second series – and Happy Valley, and both are nominated. Georgina Campbell also put in a stand-out performance in BBC3’s Murdered by My Boyfriend.

Benedict Cumberbatch will hope it is fifth-time lucky at Bafta as he steps onto the red carpet again for his performance as Sherlock. The BBC1 modern reboot of the consulting detective is a dazzlingly good drama, though not nominated this time. Cumberbatch is in the running, however, but he faces formidable competition from nominees James Nesbitt – another lifetime-best performance for The Missing – Toby Jones (Marvellous) and Jason Watkins (The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies).

The Missing series 1 BBC1

James Nesbitt in The Missing

Choosing the ‘best’ is a thankless task, but my personal faves this year are Sarah Lancashire (by a whisker over Keeley Hawes), James Nesbitt – an actor I don’t usually warm to, but this was a brave performance. Then there’s Ken Stott for the same reason in The Missing, and perhaps Charlotte Spencer for Glue.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Peaky Blinders, and in the International category I would probably go for True Detective, though I am slightly addicted to The Good Wife.

Who do you think should win? Post your comments above…

DRAMA SERIES

HAPPY VALLEY Sally Wainwright, Karen Lewis, Euros Lyn, Nicola Shindler, Red Production Company/BBC One; LINE OF DUTY Jed Mercurio, Simon Heath, Peter Norris, Douglas Mackinnon, World Productions/BBC Two; THE MISSING Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls, Jack Williams, Harry Williams, New Pictures/BBC One; PEAKY BLINDERS Production Team – Caryn Mandabach Productions/Tiger Aspect Productions/BBC Two

LEADING ACTOR

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH Sherlock, BBC One; TOBY JONES Marvellous, BBC Two; JAMES NESBITT The Missing, BBC One JASON WATKINS The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies ITV

LEADING ACTRESS

Keeley Hawes in Line of Duty 2

Keeley Hawes in Line of Duty 2

GEORGINA CAMPBELL Murdered by My Boyfriend, BBC Three; KEELEY HAWES Line of Duty, BBC Two; SARAH LANCASHIRE Happy Valley, BBC One; SHERIDAN SMITH Cilla, ITV

SUPPORTING ACTOR

ADEEL AKHTAR Utopia – Channel 4 JAMES NORTON Happy Valley, BBC One; STEPHEN REA The Honourable Woman, BBC Two; KEN STOTT The Missing – BBC One

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

GEMMA JONES Marvellous, BBC Two; VICKY MCCLURE Line of Duty, BBC Two; AMANDA REDMAN Tommy Cooper: Not like That, Like This, ITV; CHARLOTTE SPENCER Glue, E4

SINGLE DRAMA

A POET IN NEW YORK Aisling Walsh, Ruth Caleb, Andrew Davies, Griff Rhys Jones, Modern Television/BBC Two; COMMON Jimmy McGovern, David Blair, Colin McKeown, Donna Molloy, LA Productions/BBC One; MARVELLOUS Peter Bowker, Julian Farino, Katie Swinden, Patrick Spence, Fifty Fathoms/BBC Two; MURDERED BY MY BOYFRIEND Pier Wilkie, Regina Moriarty, Paul Andrew Williams, Darren Kemp – BBC/BBC Three

MINI-SERIES

Jason Watkins in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies

Jason Watkins in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies

CILLA Jeff Pope, Paul Whittington, Kwadjo Dajan, Robert Willis, ITV Studios/GroupM Entertainment/ITV; THE LOST HONOUR OF CHRISTOPHER JEFFERIES Gareth Neame, Peter Morgan, Roger Michell, Kevin Loader, Carnival Film & Television/ITV; OUR WORLD WAR Production Team – BBC Factual/BBC Three PREY Chris Lunt, Nicola Shindler, Tom Sherry, Nick Murphy, Red Production Company/ITV

INTERNATIONAL

THE GOOD WIFE CBS Television Studios in assoc. with Scott Free/King Size Prods/More4; HOUSE OF CARDS Beau Willimon, David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Kevin Spacey – Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in assoc. with Media Rights Capital/Netflix; ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Jenji Kohan, Lisa I.Vinnecour, Sara Hess, Sian Heder – Lionsgate Television/Netflix; TRUE DETECTIVE Nic Pizzolatto, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Scott Stephens, Steve Golin – HBO Entertainment in assoc. with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger/ Sky Atlantic

No Offence, C4, Joanna Scanlan

Channel 4s No Offence with Joanna Scanlan

Top cop – Joanna Scanlan as Detective Inspector Vivienne Deering

Paul Abbott’s cop show is dark, outrageous and as subtle as a truncheon over the head. It could become addictive.

★★★ Channel 4, starts Tuesday, 5 May, 9pm

WRITER Paul Abbott cites Barney Miller as one of his all-time favourite top crime series. ‘I loved Barney Miller… a beautiful American series.’

And Barney was also cheerful and family-friendly, despite being set in a New York precinct.

DETECTIVE-CONSTABLE-DINAH-KOWALSKA-Elaine-Cassidy, No Offence

Elaine Cassidy as Kowalska

Well, as you’d expect from the man behind Shameless, when it comes to his own cop show, it ain’t nothing like Barney Miller. Victims who may have fellated their own dogs and vaginal deodorants never cropped up on Captain Miller’s watch.

And while No Offence can be blackly humorous, it’s not a comedy. It will shock viewers into a guffaw at some politically incorrect comment, then wince at the awfulness of the crimes and lifestyles on show.

Joanna Scanlan as the unhinged Deering

Detective Inspector Vivienne Deering, played by The Thick of It‘s Joanna Scanlan, could become the series’ stand-out character, taking her place alongside Shameless‘s Frank Gallagher in the Abbott hall of infamy. It’s Viv who uses the intimate deodorant while issuing orders to Will Mellor’s DC Tanner. She’s a super-capable chief, but ever so slightly unhinged.

[Read more…]

Heartman and Callan reboot in development for TV

Leicester author MP Wright sees his debut novel Heartman turned into new BBC1 series and is asked to script a modern update of 70s classic Callan.

Heartman HiRes CMYKYOU MAY not have heard of MP Wright, but in coming months you probably will. His first novel, Heartman, has just been released to acclaim from reviewers and is nominated for four Crime Writers’ Association awards. It’s a compelling tale about a Barbadian ex-policeman in 1960s Bristol and has created such a stir that it’s been snapped up by World Productions and has made a very busy man of Wright, 50, a former mental health and probation service worker.

Heartman is now in the hands of award-winning playwright and TV dramatist Tony Marchant, who was responsible for the excellent Garrow’s Law, and could be before the cameras before the end of the year, with a slot on BBC1 at the ready.

It’s a fascinating mystery focusing on JT Ellington, who has fled his home in the Caribbean after his life was ruined in a struggle against a powerful drug baron and corrupt police bosses. He winds up in Bristol, broke during a freezing 1965 winter, when he is approached by a rich Jamaican businessman in the city and asked to find a missing girl. This takes Ellington, an outsider in a hostile world of prejudice, into a dark conspiracy among the town’s elite. The TV project is rumoured to be attracting the attention of some major actors keen to get on board.

Further Heartman episodes planned

‘World Productions optioned Heartman before I had a book deal,’ the author tells me. ‘Producers, Simon Heath and Jake Lushington were eager to get the tone right and have worked tirelessly to bring in a great team. Our script is written by BAFTA
award-winning dramatist and playwright Tony Marchant, and we have a BBC 1 slot for the drama to be shown in two parts. World will be working on the other Ellington books – All Through The Night, The Restless Coffins and The Rivers Of Blood.’

Edward Woodward as Callan

Edward Woodward as Callan

As if working on writing and editing the proofs for all these stories, Mark Wright’s whirlwind success has also seen him offered another exciting opportunity – to develop a modern version of Callan, ITV’s gritty early 70s series about a government hitman played by Edward Woodward.

‘Last autumn I was approached by the James Mitchell estate [creator of When The Boat Comes In and Callan],’ Mark explains. ‘I have been asked to reboot Callan and I’m currently working on a pilot script called One Shot, One Kill, which will bring the self-hating, bolshy, British government assassin back out of the shadows.

‘All the series regulars are set to return – Hunter/Charlie, Toby Meres, Snell and of course, Lonely. All brought to life in a contemporary and gritty setting. It’s a challenge but its looking good, if I say so myself.’

CrimeTimePreview will post a full interview with MP Wright about these new series this weekend…