Good Cop, BBC1, starring Warren Brown PREVIEW

Warren Brown as PC Rocksavage. Pic: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½

BBC1: starts Thursday, 30 August, 9pm

Story: PC Rocksavage sees his patrol partner suffering a sadistic attack, which sends his already complicated life into turmoil when he takes matters into his own hands.

Warren Brown steps up from being Idris Elba’s sidekick in Luther to leading player in this complex, powerful new cop drama.

This is one of the best opening episodes to a crime show I’ve seen this year, Line of Duty included. It’s morally fraught, violent and has a captivating hero on the edge.

Brown is a Liverpool response cop, the ones who race around in cars. PC John Paul Rocksavage (Sav) is a decent guy who looks after his ailing father (Michael Angelis) and is obviously crushed by his estrangement from Cassandra and their daughter, Libby, whom we see bumping into Sav on Crosby beach as the story begins.

Stephen Graham is the nasty, brutal Finch
Later, he is having lunch with his mate and colleague Andy Stockwell (Tom Hopper), when he sees a man called Finch, who’s there with a gang of men, terrorising a waitress. Sav orders him out of the restaurant, but Finch promises that the next lone copper he sees will get a beating.

Finch is played by Stephen Graham, who when he’s not portraying sociopaths such as Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire is giving us a convincing skinhead in This Is England 86, and he is a scarily confrontational psycho.

The next isolated copper he meets is Sav’s partner Andy, and Sav sees his horrendous beating when he is locked out of party in what looks like a squat that they have been called to subdue that night.

Warren Brown is excellent as the cop on the edge
Shattered by that moment, Sav is soon engaged in a face-off in which he makes a snap decision that twists his life and career into dangerous, illegal territory.

It’s a blinding opener and Warren Brown is totally believable as a decent bloke who does a brave job in confronting criminals, but ends up on the wrong side of the law.

The mood is noirish, with dark rainy nights and a flawed hero struggling against trouble. Mark Womack plays the formidable investigating DCI, who is clearly going to give Sav a hard time.

Writer Stephen Butchard
Good Cop is written by Stephen Butchard, whose credits include Stolen, House of Saddam and 2010’s superb and moving Five Daughters, a sympathetic protrayal of the young women murdered in Ipswich in 2006.

He explains the drama’s genesis: ‘I started with the premise of thinking about a police show, and then I thought of a beat cop. Looking at the existing police shows, they seemed to be dominated by procedural or science elements, and I was interested in a more human aspect to policing, the very sharp end and the first man on the scene.

‘From a dramatic element I wanted to go back to the simplest thing and that was the man, the human being in the uniform, knocking on the door and not knowing what was behind that door or what was coming.’

It’s a realistic, truthful four-parter that’s free of tedious forensics and lurid plot twists. It’s also more than a match for Luther.

Cast: Warren Brown PC John Paul Rocksavage, Michael Angelis Robert Rocksavage, Aisling Loftus Cassandra, Tom Hopper Andy Stockwell, Stephen Graham Noel Finch, Stephen Walters Callum Rose, Joe Macaulay Jonjo Heinz, Jodie Comer Amy, Johann Myers Gary Walton, Carl Rice Philip Davenport, Kerrie Hayes WPC Amanda Morgan, Kevin Harvey Sergeant Middleton, Robbie Jarvis DCI Stoddart, Christine Tremarco Nurse Justine, Mark Womack DCI Costello, Philip Hill Pearson DC Liam Frainey, Shaun Mason Kyle Smart 

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