Suspects 2, Ch5, with Fay Ripley, Damien Molony, Clare-Hope Ashitey PREVIEW

DS Jack Weston (Damien Molony), DC Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Steele (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and DI Martha Bellamy (Fay Ripley)
DS Jack Weston (Damien Molony), DC Charlie Steele (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and DI Martha Bellamy (Fay Ripley)

Rating: ★★★½

Channel 5: starts wednesday, August 20, 10pm

Story: Martha’s neighbour, barrister Jonathan Moxton, is found at home with serious head injuries, his wrists bound with a belt and a pair of knickers stuffed in his mouth. Jack guesses that he was involved in a sex game that went badly wrong.

THERE WAS MILD incredulity when series one of this improvised police drama went out earlier this year.

It was pretty good. But the astonishment was prompted by the realisation that it was made by Channel 5, home of dire afternoon movies, Extreme Fishing with Robson Green and Big Brother. They hadn’t made a drama in eight years.

Suspects: Saul (Dominic Power) waits to be interviewed by the police
Suspect Saul Hammond

The stories are standard police procedurals, but what made the series stand out was its energy and feel of spontaneity. The lack of a script means the actors were improvising and because it was filmed in verité style, it was snappy and very watchable.

Charlie Brooks, Dominic Power and Katie Jarvis

If the actors are in the zone, the drama flows. This new series has a pretty good mix of performers to bring it alive, with EastEnders‘ Charlie Brooks and Katie Jarvis, the raw young talent of the excellent movie Fish Tank, in the opener.

Suspects: Tanya Morton (Charlie Brooks) is interviewed by Martha (Fay Ripley)
Her EastEnders training comes in handy for Charlie Brooks

A barrister neighbour of Fay Ripley’s character DI Bellamy is found bludgeoned but alive during what appears to have a bondage game.

Suspicion falls on another neighbour, Saul (played by Dominic Power of Emmerdale fame), who lives in a hostel and is a paranoid schizophrenic. He’s volatile and his story keeps changing, but, as is the way of these things, the story is more complicated.

Friction between Jack and Charlie

Suspects: Martha (Fay Ripley) at the second crime scene
A second crime scene for Martha

Rarely for a crime drama, Suspects has a story here in which it is hard to fathom out who the killer is until late on (it is a two-parter).

Suspects does not have the depth of recent top series, such as Happy Valley or Broadchurch, but it is more interesting than plodding series like Lewis or Midsomer. The case is intriguing and the characters are also given a little hinterland, with the detectives Jack and Charlie sparking off each other because Jack is a little more personally invested in the investigation than he should be.

It’s the jewel in Ch5’s crown, anyway. Shame they didn’t have the conviction to make more than four episodes.

Cast: Damien Molony DS JackWeston, Clare-Hope Ashitey DC Charlie Steele, Fay Ripley DI Martha Bellamy, Dominic Power Saul Hammond, Charlie Brooks Tanya Moxton, Katie Jarvis Sadie Burns, Luke Newberry Nate Turner, Claire Cooper Carol Collins, David de Keyser Derek Collins

Check out these links…
Suspects 2 on Channel 5
Suspects series 1

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