Chasing Shadows, ITV, Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston PREVIEW

ITV Chasing Shadows REECE SHEARSMITH as DS Sean Stone, ALEX KINGSTON as Ruth Hattersley and NOEL CLARKE as DCI Carl Prior
Chasing Shadows with Noel Clarke, Reece Shearsmith and Alex Kingston. Pics: ITV

Rating: ★★★

ITV: starts Thursday, 4 September, 9pm

Story: Detective sergeant Sean Stone is sidelined into the Missing Persons Bureau, where he works alongside analyst Ruth Hattersley in trying to spot those missing people who may be prone to fall victim to serial killers.

THE INFLUENCE of the Nordic invasion continues. First there was Saga Noren in The Bridge, now we have DS Sean Stone in ITV’s new crime series, Chasing Shadows. He’s well-named because he has the charm and appeal of a pebble.

Like Saga, Sean – played by Reece Shearsmith – is socially awkward, unable to lie and a misfit. Cue raised eyebrows, outraged expressions from people he meets, and a furious boss.

It is Sean’s inability to massage the facts at a press conference, during which he suggests a murder victim could have been saved, that prompts his guvnor to boot him out of his job and into Missing Persons.

Sean – quirky and annoying

Here almost the first thing he says to his new colleague, analyst Ruth Hattersley (Alex Kingston), is

Loner – DS Sean Stone (Reece Shearsmith)

‘Are you married?’ Ruth is flummoxed. Then he insists they drive to meetings in separate cars because he ‘likes to think’.

You get the picture. Sean is quirky, wacky and pretty annoying.

Saga is not annoying. This is because she is a more rounded character, rather than a collection of traits.

Disobeying instructions

This four-parter is one of those shows where you kind of know what they were trying to do, but don’t pull it off. Sean is constantly charging off on his own, disobeying instructions and rubbing everyone up the wrong way. He’s a one-dimensional hero.

It is also unbelievable that someone this professionally and socially grating would be left to blunder around jeopardising investigations and offending everyone – ‘I don’t need your help,’ he tells Ruth. His new boss DI Prior (Noel Clarke) is also on the warpath.

Saga Noren is abrupt and socially inept, particularly with grieving relatives, but she is adored by viewers because, though flawed, her personal struggle and shortcomings make her hugely appealing.

Serial killers or multiple murderers?

Protagonists who are brilliant oddballs do work when well created, such as the ‘high-functioning

REECE SHEARSMITH as DS Sean Stone and ELLIOTT TITTENSOR as John Meadows. Chasing Shadows ITV
On the hunt – Sean is shown round an abandoned building

sociopath’ Sherlock, or obsessive-compulsive Monk, or that blunt scalpel House.

In fairness, the opening 45 minutes of Chasing Shadows covers a lot of story – particularly, the hunt for a missing teenage girl, Taylor, who may have been targeted by a killer – so that Sean is barely developed and one dimensional.

He does seem to have a carer at home to help him, but no sooner have we met her than we’re being taken through a disused buildings on the trail of killers and bodies.

The most intriguing part of the premise is Sean Stone’s determination to look for patterns, with which he is obsessed, in the profiles of the mis-pers (missing persons to you) to see if they were vulnerable to serial killers. Or multiple killers, as Sean prefers to call them – they’re ‘not fascinating, evil geniuses’, he says, they’re the opportunistic killer next door.

This is a refreshing break from the tedious Hannibal Lecter fixation of many serial killer stories. It would be great if writer Rob Williams were able to develop this side of the drama, along with Sean’s character. There are just three episodes to go.

Cast: Reece Shearsmith DS Sean Stone, Alex Kingston Ruth Hattersley, Noel Clarke DI Prior

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ITV’s best new crime shows autumn 2014

IT’S BEEN a sunny summer for once, but as usual there’s nowt on the box (apart from the Commonwealth Games), so this is a good moment to look in the crystal ball and see what treats ITV has in store for the autumn and beyond.

There are some well-known faces coming back – a few of which are to be welcomed, others a little past their sell-by date – with a couple of intriguing newcomers in production.

Broadchurch 2 One of the hottest shows of last year, it’s even been creating a stir in the US, where

Broadchurch 2 ITV cast rehearsal

David Tennant has reprised his role as detective Alec Hardy in an American version of the series. He will be back with Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller in the ITV follow-up. Charlotte Rampling joins the cast (pictured right). It’s been filming in Dorset and acclaimed screenwriter Chris Chibnall is back masterminding the production. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Chasing Shadows is one of the interesting new shows. Starring Reece Shearsmith and Alex Kingston, it’s about a missing persons unit. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Arthur & George is a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Scott and Bailey's Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp

Scott & Bailey 4 Returns for a fourth series. The drama’s original tendency to portray all men as thick, immature, unfaithful or criminal has faded, while the stories have got more powerful and the cast – Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore – have won a big following and the writing – Lee Warburton, Emily Ballou and Amelia Bullmore again! – has been gripping. Janet and Rachel’s relationship is tested to the limit this time round. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Grantchester Following in the footsteps of the Beeb’s gentle daytime mystery Father Brown is Sidney Chambers, a charismatic clergyman played by James Norton (the vile villain in Happy Valley). This is also a period piece – set in 1953 – and has a nice cast, including Robson Green, Morven Christie and Tessa Peak-Jones. A six-parter, it was filming in London, Cambridge and Grantchester earlier this year. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Arthur & George Three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Safe House An atmospheric thriller set in the Lake District. Cast yet to be announced. It’s a four-parter inspired by a true story of a couple who turn their guest house into a safe house. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Code of a Killer Two-parter based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by detective David Baker in snaring a double murderer. With the terrific David Threlfall in the cast, filming starts in September. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Terrific book by Kate Summerscale, fab first series. But then came the fictionalised re-imaging of the Victorian detective’s career after the infamous country house child murder of the original. I so wanted to like this, and there is probably a great story about Whicher’s later life, but this reboot reduces his tale to a straight cop procedural. Still, fingers crossed, it’s got Paddy Considine returning as the man himself. Anticipation factor: ★★★

Lewis It feels like a tired old regular screen fixture, but there will be attempts to shake-up the formula with a slight reversal of roles for Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox’s detectives, the now retired Lewis and newly promoted Hathaway. Anticipation factor: ★★★
Brenda Blethyn as Vera, ITV
Foyle’s War Three 120-minute stories are in the pipeline, as Michael Kitchen returns as Christopher Foyle, now a senior intelligence office for MI5 in the aftermath of the Second World War. The guest stars include John Mahoney (Frasier), Richard Lintern (Silent Witness), Nigel Lindsay (Four Lions), Jaime Winstone (Mad Dogs) and William Postlethwaite (Midsomer Murders). Anthony Horowitz is back on story duty. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Vera 5 Filming is under way, with Kenny Doughty joining as DS Aiden Healy after David Leon’s departure as Joe Ashworth (shame, as his storylines were often quite good). Brenda Blethyn (right) still heads proceedings as DCI Vera Stanhope. 2015. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Let us know which shows you can’t wait to see… comment below or email us

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