Fortitude, Sky Atlantic, Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Eccleston PREVIEW

Sky Atlantic’s much-anticipated new crime series is a slow thaw, but it has a great cast and a terrific setting


Stanley Tucci as DCI Eugene Morton; Sophie Grabol as Hildur Odegard; Christopher Eccleston as Professor Charlie Stoddart in fortitude
In cold blood – murder comes to Fortitude, with Stanley Tucci, Sofie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston. Pics: Sky

Rating: ★★★½

Sky Atlantic: starts Thursday, 29 January, 9pm

Story: In the close-knit community of Fortitude in the Arctic Circle, a murder touches everyone and the unsettling horror of the crime threatens the future of the town itself.

AN AVALANCHE of hype has accompanied Sky’s Arctic thriller. At a rumoured £25million it has cost more than the entire budget of the Sky Arts channel, apparently. It’s meant to pitch Sky Atlantic into the HBO league of major drama creators. It’s the network’s most ambitious series ever etc etc.

Richard Dormer as Dan Anderssen in Fortitude
Sheriff Dan doesn’t think the town is big enough for him and Morton

With a terrific international roster of actors including Stanley Tucci, Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Richard Dormer and Sienna Guillory, it certainly grabs the attention. And devotees of recent dark mysteries such as The Killing and Broadchurch will also be intrigued by an unusual 11-parter set in an almost surreal frozen setting.

But, on viewing it, how does Fortitude measure up? I thought it got off to a slightly bewildering start.

Sofie Grabol is Fortitude’s governor

Michael Gambon as Henry Tyson in Fortitude
Wildlife photographer Henry makes a horrid discovery

The opening feature-length episode is stunningly set in an Icelandic town, but it hurriedly throws so many characters and storylines at you that the first hour leaves you a bit, well, cold.

It begins with Michael Gambon’s Henry stumbling on a savage scene on the seafront, which is immediately disconcerting. Then a young lad is stricken with a mystery illness and is left by his father, who’s having illicit sex with a hotel receptionist.

Meanwhile, the discovery of a mammoth’s remains by two chancers threatens the plans of the governor, Hildur (The Killing‘s Sofie Grabol), to redevelop Fortitude.

We also meet the town’s odd but charming PCs Ingrid and Petra, and new arrival Vincent (played by Luke Treadaway), who’s here to help Professor Stoddart (Christopher Eccleston).

Stanley Tucci as DCI Morton

There’s more, but the blizzard of plotlines comes to a halt when a grisly murder is discovered, and the town with no crime is abruptly revealed to actually harbour very dark undercurrents.

Mia Jexen as PC Ingrid; Alexandra Moen as PC Petra in Fortitude
Ingrid and Petra

It is when Stanley Tucci’s character, DCI Eugene Morton, arrives from London that the drama gels and we get our bearings (though how an American with FBI credentials happens to be working for London’s Metropolitan Police is again confusing).

Morton is confronted by the antagonistic sheriff (Richard Dormer), which sets up the juicy prospect of a running battle between the pair.

After what is a messy opening episode, Fortitude could well develop into a sharp and intriguing drama. Created by Simon Donald, who wrote C4’s gritty crime series Low Winter Sun, it is certainly original, with a savage but beautiful setting.

Continued…

Sofie Grabol shows her versatility by throwing off her strutting detective Sarah Lund from The Killing to play an under-pressure politician with an agenda. Tucci is very watchable as the outsider poking his nose in, and there are certainly enough murky goings-on to keep viewers guessing.

Luke Treadaway as Vincent Rattre; Sienna Guillory as Natalie Yelburton in Fortitude
Newcomer Vincent (Luke Treadaway) meets Natalie (Sienna Guillory)

I’ve seen it compared to Twin Peaks, which is misleading. But Fortitude is in the rich vein of contemporary dark crime series full of compromised heroes.

Sky will be anxious that it snowballs into a bigger hit than its previously acclaimed series The Take (2009) and Mad Dogs (2011), but, while refreshingly bold, it doesn’t put them in the same league as HBO and True Detective just yet.

Cast: Richard Dormer Sheriff Dan Anderssen, Stanley Tucci DCI Eugene Morton, Michael Gambon Henry Tyson, Sofie Grabol Governor Hildur Odegard, Christopher Eccleston Professor Charlie Stoddart, Luke Treadaway Vincent Rattrey, Jessica Raine Jules Sutter, Nicholas Pinnock Frank Sutter, Johnny Harris Ronnie Morgan, Veronica Echegui Elena Ledesma, Sienna Guillory Natalie Yelburton, Darren Boyd Markus Huseklepp, Mia Jexen PC Ingrid, Alexandra Moen PC Petra, Darwin Brokenbro Liam Sutter, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips Carrie Morgan, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson Eric Odegard, Chipo Chung Trish Stoddart, Phoebe Nicholls Doctor Allerdyce

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New TV Crime Dramas 2015

THIS IS the fifth time I have previewed forthcoming crime dramas for the year ahead, and it must be the most exciting yet. The BBC, ITV, C4 and BSkyB have commissioned a fantastic range of genuinely exciting new dramas with terrific actors – from thrillers such as Safe House with Christopher Eccleston and the character-driven series The Trials of Jimmy Rose with Ray Winstone, to outlandish grippers like The Chronicles of Frankenstein with Sean Bean.
In addition, some brilliant dramas will be back – Broadchurch included, while old faves Vera, Endeavour, Foyle’s War and DCI Banks have also lined up new mysteries.
Let the crimewave begin…
Stanley Tucci, Sofie Gråbøl and Christopher Eccleston in Fortitude

Fortitude, Sky Atlantic

Sofie Gråbøl, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Richard Dormer, Christopher Eccleston, Luke Treadaway, Jessica Raine
Here’s a major new drama from Sky Atlantic that has plenty of wow factor. A blockbuster cast, an amazing setting and a compelling crime premise. A town like nowhere else, Fortitude is
surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape in the northernmost part of Norway, and there has never been a violent crime here. Until now. When a prominent member of the community is
brutally murdered, Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation, but is disturbed by the arrival of a detective from London, Eugene Morton (Stanley Tucci), who is also there to conduct inquiries into the death. The town’s governor, Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl), meanwhile, tries to protect her tourism plans from being disrupted by the horror that has taken
place… From Simon Donald, creator of the gritty Low Winter SunJanuary 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Code of a Killer ITV

David Threlfall, John Simm
Two top actors join what could be one of the most riveting true-life dramas of the year. Code of a Killer is based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker in catching a double murderer. David Threlfall plays David Baker, who between 1983 and 1987 headed the investigation into the murders of two Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. Only a few miles away, Dr Alec Jeffreys, played by John Simm, was a scientist at Leicester University who, in September 1984, invented a remarkable technique to read each individual’s unique DNA fingerprint. When a local teenager admitted to one of the murders but not the other, Baker asked Jeffreys to analyse the DNA evidence left at the crime scenes. Both men were shocked to discover that the teenager was innocent, his confession false. DCS Baker then took the brave step to launch the world’s first-ever DNA manhunt, testing more than 5000 local men to track down the killer. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The cast of Broadchurch 2 in rehearsal

Broadchurch, ITV

David Tennant, Oliva Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Charlotte Rampling
The teaser trailers are already running on ITV. In the first, David Tennant’s character says: ‘There was a boy, and he was killed. I caught the killer. So why am I still here?’ In the second, Oliva Colman asks another question: ‘There was a boy, and he was killed. What happened then destroyed my family, my job, and my town. So what do I do now?’ Somehow, David Tennant has managed to fit in filming a US version of this hugely talked-about drama while also making Broadchurch 2 for ITV. So, back to those questions. Just how will writer Chris Chibnall follow up the brilliant – and conclusive – first series? And what role will Charlotte Rampling play in proceedings? January 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Frankenstein Chronicles, ITV

Sean Bean
OK, I know Frankenstein is a horror yarn, but this six-parter gives it a new twist as a crime mystery. At its centre is Inspector John Marlott, played by Game of Thrones‘ Sean Bean, who goes on a terrifying journey in pursuit of… well, you can probably guess. Set in 1827 in London, it opens with Home Secretary Robert Peel recruiting Marlott. As he stands on the edge of the Thames contemplating the arrest of some opium smugglers, Marlott makes a shocking discovery.  The body of a dead child is washed up on the shore and on further examination of the corpse he is horrified to discover it’s not actually a child but rather a crude assembly of body parts arranged in a grotesque parody of a human form. Eeuggh! Filming begins in Northern Ireland in January.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

SS-GB, BBC1

So, after fading from the cultural landscape in recent years, the brilliant Len Deighton is back. The Brit, now 85, created Harry Palmer and wrote superb thrillers from the 1960s on. He is still writing some interesting books (most recently 2012’s ebook James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father). Now, the BBC is set to drag the master back into the limelight with this five-part dramatisation of one of his most audacious yarns. It is set in the 1940s and imagines a post-war world in which the Nazis have won the Battle of Britain and London is under German occupation. Archer is a Scotland Yard detective working under the SS and facing the dilemma of whether to collaborate or join the resistance. Written by the writers of the recent Daniel Craig Bond movies, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, who say: ‘Len Deighton’s SS-GB is a brilliant tale of espionage that dares to think the unthinkable, and we are very excited to be adapting it for television.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Casual Vacancy, BBC1

The Beeb joins forces with HBO in the States to make what is one of the most anticipated mini-series of 2015 – of JK Rowling’s first novel following the astronomically successful Harry Potter series. And what a cast! Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes, Monica Dolan and Rory Kinnear are the headliners. It’s a three-parter, focusing on events in Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village, following the death of a local councillor. Behind the pretty façade, however, is a town at war: rich with poor, teenagers with their parents, wives with their husbands, teachers with their pupils. 2015

Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Cuffs, BBC1

This certainly looks like being one of the major new cop series of 2015. Filling the distinctive boots of the regular weekday cop serial once worn by The Bill, this police show will go out every weekday evening at 8pm – BBC1’s first new drama in this slot for more than eight years. Set in Brighton, it will focus on the relationships between uniforms and detectives, and how they all deal with an overstretched and under-resourced job. Written by Julie Gearey, who also wrote the excellent character-driven stories of Prisoners’ Wives. She says: ‘As a massive fan of cop shows, I’m thrilled to create a new ensemble police series for BBC1. Intimate and realistic, we’ll be right on the shoulders of our cops as we follow them into every corner of lives in which work pressures don’t end at the station door.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Bob Odenkirk returns as Saul Goodman

Better Call Saul, AMC

Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks
The much anticipated prequel to Breaking Bad, with Bob Odenkirk breathing fresh life into Saul Goodman, his slippery lawyer character from the landmark series. The good news is that Vince Gilligan, the showrunner behind BB, has developed the new show with Peter Gould. Gilligan has said: ‘I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law. He’ll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun—I would like that.’ Aaron Paul, who was brilliant as BB‘s Jesse Pinkman, has said he is in talks with Gilligan over some guest appearances. It hits the screen in the US on Sunday, 8 February, 2015. No news yet of its UK home. See the taster below…
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Black Work, ITV

Sheridan Smith, Matthew McNulty, Douglas Henshall, Geraldine James, Phil Davis
Sheridan Smith plays policewoman Jo Gillespie, whose world is thrown into turmoil when husband Ryan (Kenny Doughty), an undercover policeman, is shot dead in mysterious circumstances. She sets out to discover who murdered him and has to confront difficult truths about her family life and her marriage to Ryan. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Last Panthers, Sky Atlantic

Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, John Hurt
Another major new drama from Sky Atlantic – and another cracking cast. It’s written by award-winning Jack Thorne, of Skins, Glue and This Is England renown, and will be directed by Johan Renck of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead fame. Phew! It opens with a daring diamond heist before delving into the dark heart of Europe where a shadowy alliance of gangsters and ‘banksters’ now rules. Samantha Morton is Naomi, a British loss adjustor charged with recovering the stolen diamonds whatever the cost. John Hurt portrays Tom, her nefarious boss. Also in pursuit is a French-Algerian policeman Khalil, played by Tahar Rahim, one of France’s most talented actors. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Secret Agent, BBC1

A three-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel by Bafta-winning writer Tony Marchant, the man behind the excellent Garrow’s Law. London, 1886. Unbeknown to his loyal wife Winnie, Soho shopkeeper Verloc works as a secret agent for the Russian government. Angry that Britain harbours violent anarchists, the Russians coerce Verloc into planting a bomb that will provoke the authorities into cracking down on these extremists. Caught between the Russians and the British police, Verloc reluctantly draws his own family into a tragic terror plot. Tony Marchant says: ‘Conrad’s depiction of 19th-century terrorists committed to the destruction of the West, with a suicide bomber in their midst, was not only prophetic but is undeniably contemporary and compelling. Equally it is a heartbreaking story of a family caught up in the political machinations of a world in ferment.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

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One of Us, BBC2

This four-part thriller is written by The Missing‘s Jack Williams and set in the Scottish Highlands.A horrific double murder rocks the lives of two families living side by side in rural Scotland. But instead of focusing on the investigation, One Of Us explores the fallout for the grieving relatives, and the dark consequences that threaten to shatter their lives… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Undercover (working title), BBC1

Political thriller about a woman who is about to become Britain’s first black Director of Public Prosecutions. Just as she is about to enter the public spotlight, she discovers her husband has a secret side – is it an affair, or something more sinister? Writer Peter Moffat says: ‘After immersing myself in WW1 and the 1920s in The Village I am relishing the prospect of returning to the contemporary British political landscape to look at where we stand and how we got here. Undercover is a thriller about identity, trust and the struggle to lead a morally principled personal and professional life, while working up close with the police, press, politicians and criminals who have so corrupted and damaged public life over the last 20 years.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Sky1

Ashley Jensen
A press officer turned detective and a killer quiche are at the heart of this Christmas crime fest. PR

Ashley Jensen turns sleuth

whizz Agatha moves from London to the Cotswolds to begin a new dream life. To immerse herself in local society she enters the annual quiche-making competition – only to end up the suspect in a murder investigation. Ashley Jensen explains: ‘Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time.  Determined to fulfil her lifelong dream and in doing so she discovers that all is not quite as rosy as she had anticipated. Undeterred she finds a new purpose in her life.’ The two-hour film is based on the novel series by MC Beaton, creator of Hamish Macbeth. December 2014
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Arthur & George ITV

Martin Clunes
Three-parter based on Julian Barnes’ novel and focusing on a fascinating true series of events in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Martin Clunes will play the celebrated novelist and physician who created the detective Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle recaptures his zest for life, following the death of wife, Louisa, by pursuing and challenging a notorious miscarriage of justice. It is the case of George Edalji, a solicitor and the son of Hampshire vicar the Reverend Shapurji Edalji and his wife, Charlotte. George has served seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters, a series of offences which have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Top of the Lake, BBC2

The first series, set in New Zealand and starring Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss, did not create a huge stir when it went out in 2013, but there is no denying its quality or that it was an absorbing series and production. Well, Academy Award-winning director Jane Campion is returning – as writer – with a six-part follow-up, this time set in Sydney, Australia…
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

London Spy, BBC2

Ben Wishaw
A five-part thriller created by novelist Tom Robb Smith, who wrote the superb hit novel Child 44 (which is being made into a movie for next year with Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman). This is about an innocent and young romantic drawn into the dangerous world of espionage.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

No Offence, C4

Joanna Scanlan, Alexandra Roach, Elaine Cassidy, Will Mellor
Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It, Getting On), Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady, Utopia) and Elaine Cassidy (The Paradise, Harper’s Island) star as the unorthodox crack team of cops at the heart of Paul Abbott’s new series – an outrageous police procedural series from the writer of Shameless and State of Play. Set in a crumbling police station on the wrong side of Manchester, it aims to shock, move and have audiences laughing. It’s a seven-parter, with an additional extended opening episode. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Continued…



Safe House, ITV


Chistopher Eccleston, Marsha Thomason, Paterson Joseph
Four-parter about a married couple, Robert and Katy, who are asked by close friend and police officer to turn their remote guest house into a safe house. Their first ‘guests’ are a family in fear of their lives after they are violently attacked by someone who claims to know them. For Robert, protecting the family resurrects fears and anxieties bound up in a terrifying night 18 months previously… Inspired by a real couple, Safe House sounds like an intriguing prospect.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Night Manager, BBC

This sounds like another big, prestigious drama for 2015. It’s a six-part adaptation of a John Le Carré book, focusing on the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. It’s a fusion of spy story and tale of organised crime. At its centre is a man called Jonathan Pine, who tries to infiltrate the inner circle of a lethal gangster, but can only do so by becoming a criminal himself.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Trials of Jimmy Rose, ITV

Ray Winstone, Amanda Redman
Winstone is Jimmy Rose, a notorious armed robber who has managed to make crime pay. However, the luxury home and belongings have come at a cost to his family life. Over the years he’s spent more time in prison than with the love of his life, Jackie, their two adult children, Jason and Julie and grandchildren Elliot, Ellie and India. Consequently, their happy distant memories of Jimmy have been shattered by years of abandonment. Emerging from his latest stretch inside, Jimmy does not get the hoped-for warm welcome home… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Endeavour 3

Shaun Evans
Writer Russell Lewis has done such a good job of lovingly and intelligently building Endeavour Morse’s back-story in this popular Inspector Morse prequel that it’s hard to imagine it not being recommissioned. And with all the cliffhangers in the climax of the second series, to not have the series return would be a crime in itself. The new series will be set in 1967, picking up from the dramatic finale that saw Morse placed in police custody, framed for a murder he didn’t commit, and DI Fred Thursday’s life hanging in the balance after being shot in the chest. Russell Lewis says: ‘Endeavour ’67… Pepper – Piper – Purple Haze… As “Oxford’s finest” encounter friends and foes both old and new, our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares. For something wicked this way comes…’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

The Forgotten, ITV

This six-parter focuses on a cold murder case of 39 years ago. With the discovery of a young man’s skeleton underneath the cellar at a property in Arlington Crescent, a new police investigation turns back the years. The modern-day police team – DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan – unravel long-forgotten secrets, which will have a dramatic impact on their investigation and the lives of four potential suspects. The slow revelation of these secrets as Cassie and Sunny hunt for the killer will alter the dynamic of the families and their loved ones forever. But who was the murdered boy and why was he staying in 27 Arlington Crescent?  And what happened in 1976 to cause his murder?
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Luther, BBC1

Idris Elba
You can’t keep a good character down. Not only is Idris Elba talking up the prospects of a Luther movie series, but he is certainly returning to the Beeb for a 2 x 60-minute special. Of the genius detective with violent passions, his creator Neil Cross says: ‘Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there’s hardly been a minute when I didn’t wonder what happened next. So I decided to find out. We’re putting the band back together – Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.’ Luther was something of an acquired taste, being at times silly and rather nasty. But Idris Elba is one of the most charismatic performers on TV, and for the series’ devotees, this should be manna… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★

Foyle’s War, ITV

Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Daniel Weyman, Ellie Haddington
Three new post-war mysteries for writer Anthony Horowitz’s old warhorse. The stories will explore the world of the American and German businesses that were accused of fuelling Hitler’s war machine and will reflect on the web of promises to the Jews to create a state of Israel in British Palestine. The major blight of postwar Britain, the Black Market, will be a subject, too, as will some of the darkest secrets from operations conducted by the British Special Operations Executive during WW2. Watch out for a guest appearance from Frasier’s John Mahoney.
Anticipation factor: ★★★

Vera 5, ITV

Brenda Blethyn, Kenny Doughty
Four new episodes based on the characters created by novelist Ann Cleeves. Filming has already been under way in the North East for these stories, with Kenny Doughty joining the cast as Vera’s new sidekick, DS Aiden Healy. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★

DCI Banks 4

Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe, Caroline Katz
He’s back for another six-parter. The first story, What Will Survive, revolves around a young woman found buried alive and her connections to a man, his autistic son and a family that seem to have silenced the town. We’ll also see Banks’s life turned upside-down by tragic events in his own family. Home will deal with an unfolding tragedy as a well-loved young maths teacher is run over deliberately by a car outside his school. His Muslim girlfriend suspects her own father and cousin, who disapprove of the relationship. In the final story, Ghosts, Helen’s past comes back to haunt her when an old flame from another police force implies he is being framed. He begs for her help shortly before he is killed…  2015
Anticipation factor: ★★

And as for 2016…

Mark Gatiss, a writer and star in Sherlock, has already started teasing devotees of the drama by promising tragedy and adventure in the fourth series. Plus, it seems Moriarty could make some kind of return from the grave. A possible Christmas special for 2015… Even more mired in rumour is the return of True Detecitve – it seems Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss won’t be in the cast. Suits star Abigail Spencer and Kelly Reilly have been talked up to play in the writer Nic Pizzolatto’s next tale of ‘hard women and bad men’. Rachel McAdams is also in the running. Taylor Kitsch and Colin Farrell look like being the guys… And, finally, expect to be reading a lot about the next instalment of Twin Peaks. David Lynch and Mark Frost returning to the twisted world they created in 1990’s landmark series is brilliant news. See the trailer on CrimeTimePreview and start following the Twin Peaks news here

Happy viewing!

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Fortitude, January 2015 – sneak peek

SKY ATLANTIC’S starry new thriller Fortitude is set to hit the small screen in January. Its international cast includes Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Sofie Grabol, Richard Dormer and Luke Treadaway. Set in an isolated town in the Arctic Circle, and filmed in Iceland and the UK, the series is a 12-parter and will be one of the biggest productions on Sky next year. The story will follow how the small community is shattered by a rare violent crime, the mysterious horror of which threatens Fortitude’s future… Anyway, here’s a brief taster.

Stanley Tucci, Sofie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston

Michael Gambon; Richard Dormer

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New TV Crime Dramas 2014

2014 has an amazing variety of new crime series coming, from the USA and the UK. Some are old faves, but others are new and look pretty amazing…


The Honourable Woman 
BBC2, Air date: 2014     
Maggie Gyllenhaal  
Oscar-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in Hugo Blick’s first new project since the fantastic The Shadow Line. This is described as a fast-paced, international thriller. Nessa turns away from her father’s trade as a Zionist arms procurer, when she inherits his company after his assassination. Instead, she supplies high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank – a move that has unforeseen ramifications. This could be a real gripper if it’s anything like as good as The Shadow Line.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

Fortitude 

Sky Atlantic, Air date: autumn 2014
Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci
The Killing‘s Sofie Grabol has signed to star in what Sky Atlantic’s calling its ‘biggest drama to date’. Fortitude is a 13-parter featuring Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci. Created and written by Simon Donald, the man behind C4’s Low Winter Sun, which was remade by AMC, it will start filming in London and Reykjavik later this year. Fortitude is set in the midst of a polar landscape, one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime there. Until now. When a British research scientist is murdered, the crime touches everyone in the close-knit community. Sofie Grabol will play the town’s mayor.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½




True Detective
Sky Atlantic, Air date: Feb 2014
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
Two detectives’ lives collide when a 17-year-old case is reopened into the gruesome murder of a prostitute. Their often strained relationship and backstories will be the thread through this anthology series from HBO, home of The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones etc. And with these Hollywood big-hitters, it’s a must-see.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

The Fall 2
BBC2, Air date: 2014
Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch
This was BBC2’s biggest new drama launch for a decade – and rightly so. Writer Allan Cubitt created a three-dimensional and unforgettable villain in Paul Spector and a powerful investigator in detective superintendent Stella Gibson. Producer Gub Neal has already told CrimeTimePreview, ‘It’s going to be great.’
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

The Following
Sky Atlantic, Air date: February 2014
Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore
Season two of the serial killer thriller, with Ryan Hardy (Bacon) and Mike Weston (Ashmore) reunited in their bid to help the FBI to recapture evil genius Joe Carroll (Purefoy). Sam Underwood (Hmeland) joins the cast as a young guy who may just be one of Carroll’s followers.
Anticipation factor ★★★½


Line of Duty 2
BBC2, Air date: 2014   
Keeley Hawes, Jessica Raine, Robert Lindsay, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar
Line Of Duty was BBC2’s biggest new drama series for 10 years, averaging 4.2 million viewers, and it returns for a second run. Written by Jed Mercurio,  series two features a new police corruption story told over six one-hour episodes. It opens with the ambush of a police convoy in which three police officers are killed and a protected witness seriously injured. The sole surviving police officer is Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes). Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden (Robert Lindsay) takes personal charge, assigning AC-12 to the case. Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Detective Constable Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) are joined by newly appointed Detective Constable Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) to investigate a complex case.

Anticipation factor ★★★½

Turks & Caicos
BBC2, Air date: 2014       
Bill Nighy, Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Ewen Bremner, James Naughton
Turks & Caicos is the second part of David Hare’s Worricker Trilogy – Salting the Battlefield will conclude it, and both follow Page Eight, which aired on BBC2 in 2011. Johnny Worricker has walked out of his job at MI5, going to the airport apparently to choose his destination at random. But his presence on the obscure islands of Turks & Caicos brings him a new problem: he is being forced by the CIA to deal with a group of ambiguous Americans who are on the islands for a high-level conference on the world financial crisis. 
Anticipation factor ★★★★

Common
BBC1, Air date: 2014
Daniel Mays, Nico Mirallegro, Jodhi May
The new 90-minute film by Jimmy McGover (The Lakes, Cracker and The Accused) is set in the north west of England and explores the UK’s controversial Joint Enterprise Law. A young man gives friends an impromptu lift to a pizza parlour and finds himself charged with murder. The film opens as three young men hurry to a parked car, with 17-year-old Johnjo at the wheel, as they pile in and speed off in sheer panic following a fatal stabbing in the local pizza parlour. The lives of the four young men, the lives of those they love and the lives of the victim’s family will never be the same again.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

Southland 5
More4, Air date: early 2014 
Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Benjamin McKenzie, Regina King
The final series of what has been a wonderful, breathtaking ride with the cops patrolling the mean streets of LA. Southland has gathered has been tucked away on More4 and gathered few rave reviews, but it is a superb, gripping drama. Savour the final 10 instalments, as John Cooper takes a new rookie on patrol, and the brilliant detective Lydia Adams struggles to care for her newborn baby.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½
Braquo 3
Fox UK, Air date: Spring 2014
Jean-Hughes Anglade, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Karole Rocher
The ball-breaking cops from this French drama return in another eight episodes of mayhem, picking up after the explosion of Theo’s car at the end of season two.
Anticipation factor ★★★½

Broadchurch
ITV, Air date: late 2014?
Olivia Colman
Perhaps 2013’s biggest and most talked-about crime series will return. Olivia Colman has confirmed that she will reprise her role as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, who discovered her husband had killed schoolboy Danny in series one. Rumour is that series two could be a prequel, perhaps recounting the old unfinished case of Detective Inspector Alec Hardy – played by David Tennant (who will be reprising the role in a US version of Broadchurch). So far, Tennant’s participation in series two has not been confirmed.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½
Glue
E4, Air date: 2014

A new crime drama is to hit E4, the network for the youth audience, from Bafta-winning writer Jack Thorne. Needless to say, it will probably be a little edgy. Glue is a series about murder and secrets. When the body of Caleb, a teenage traveller, is found dead underneath the wheels of a tractor, the village’s inhabitants, his friends, are forced to open up their world and watch their secrets spill out…Anticipation factor ★★★½

The Game
BBC1, Air date: 2014      
Brian Cox, Tom Hughes, Shaun Dooley
When a defecting KGB officer reveals the existence of a devastating Soviet plot, codenamed Operation Glass, the charismatic but paranoid head of MI5, known simply as Daddy (Cox), assembles a secret committee to investigate. Written and created by Toby Whithouse (Being Human), this six-parter looks like appointment viewing.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

Happy Valley
A 6×60 series written by Sally Wainwright (Last Tango In Halifax, Scott & Bailey) and made by Red Production Company.
Catherine Crowther is the sergeant on duty when flustered, nervous-looking accountant Colin Weatherill comes into her West Yorkshire police station to report a crime. He’s reticent about the details and Colin loses his nerve. The crime he was trying to report was Colin’s own brain-child, a plot to kidnap his boss’s daughter and keep enough of the ransom to put his kids through private school. And now local drug king-pin David Cowgill has put the plan into action, and Colin’s fantasy has become a grim and dangerous reality. The botched kidnapping of eccentric, angry Ann Gallagher and its fallout unfolds… Catherine is used to picking up the pieces of everyone else’s lives but the hunt for Ann Gallagher will get right under her skin. Catherine becomes convinced that only by finding Ann alive and bringing her captors to justice can she avenge the death of her daughter.

Hinterland
BBC4, Air date: 2014
Richard Harrington
A new detective series based in the coastal Welsh town of Aberystwyth, set against the backdrop of mountainous hinterland, isolated farms and close-knit villages. DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington, Lark Rise to Candleford) is a brilliant but troubled man on the run from his past. Having abandoned his life in London, he finds himself holed up in a trailer park on the outskirts of town. Together with hometime girl DI Mared Rhys, he forms an engaging partnership…
Anticipation factor ★★★½

Better Call Saul 
AMC/Netflix, Air date: 2015?
Bob Odenkirk
Breaking Bad spin-off, which could be fun – or rubbish. Saul Goodman, the shyster lawyer, is the star of the show, and creator Vince Gilligan is hoping to lure BB’s Aaron Paul for a cameo.
Anticipation factor ★★★

Breakdown
BBC1, Air date: 2014
No cast announced yet
An eight-parter, written by Jack Williams and Harry Williams. When his son is snatched on holiday in France, Tony’s exhaustive search fractures his marriage and destroys his life. Exploring the emotional cost of hope and finding when to let go, this relationship thriller shows the impact of a child’s abduction.
Anticipation factor ★★★½

The Interceptor

BBC1, Air date: 2014
No cast announced yet
Eight-parter, written by Tony Saint (Margaret Thatcher: Long Walk To Finchley; Strike Back). A high-octane eight-part series about a top secret, state-of-the-art law enforcement team whose mission is to hunt down some of Britain’s most dangerous and ruthless criminals. 
Anticipation factor ★★★½

Salamander
BBC4, Air date: 2014
Following the huge success of Nordic noir, Italian and French series on BBC4, the channel has signed this 12-part Belgian thriller. n a private Brussels bank, 66 safe-deposit boxes are raided. The owner of the bank wants to keep the thefts under wraps but police inspector Paul Gerardi catches wind of the affair. With his incorruptible, old-school morals and devil-may-care attitude, Gerardi throws himself into the investigation
Anticipation factor ★★★½

Shetland
BBC1, Air date: 2014
Douglas Henshall
Shetland has been re-commissioned for a second series. Following its successful two-part debut last year, Shetland will return for a second run as a bigger six-part series with Douglas Henshall returning to the lead role as Detective Jimmy Perez. Brian Cox and Julie Graham will be joining the cast. Cox plays Magnus Bain, a solitary man and social outsider who finds himself the focus of a murder investigation.
Julie Graham plays procurator fiscal Rhona Kelly – a new returning character who will make her mark in the first and third stories of the series.
Anticipation factor ★★★½




Babylon
C4, Air date: 2014
James Nesbitt, Paterson Joseph, Jill Halfpenny, Brit Marling
Danny Boyle’s cop-based comedy. Nesbitt plays Richard Miller, chief constable of the London police who hires Marling’s American PR boss to modernise the force. It’s been written by Peep Show and Four Lions creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong.
Anticipation factor ★★★

DCI Banks 3
ITV, Air date: 2014
Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe, Caroline Catz
Six-parter with two episodes devoted to each story by author Peter Robinson – Wednesday’s Child, Piece of My Heart and Bad Boy.
Anticipation factor ★★★

Fleming

Sky Atlantic, Air date: February 2014
Dominic Cooper, Lara Pulver, Anna Chancellor
Dominic Cooper plays the author who gave us James Bond, Ian Fleming, in this stylish drama. From naval officer to intelligence officer and playboy, this charts the British writer’s fascinating, eventful life.
Anticipation factor ★★★


Law & Order: UK
ITV: Air date: 2014   
Bradley Walsh, Georgia Taylor, Paterson Joseph, Dominic Rowan   
Highlights of the new series include the death of a psychiatrist who specialises in violent juveniles and a hotel-room killing without a body. DS Ronnie Brooks, played by Bradley Walsh, will meet his match in a drug dealer who repeatedly beats the justice system and In I Predict a Riot, he’ll be investigating other senior police officers. 
Anticipation factor ★★★★


Vera 4
ITV, Air date: 2014
Brenda Blethyn, David Leon
In the opening episode Vera investigates the mysterious death of pensioner Margaret Krukowksi (Annabel Leventon) on a busy Newcastle Metro train at the height of rush hour.
Anticipation factor ★★★½


Endeavour 4
ITV, Air date: 2014
Shaun Evans, Roger Allam
Four more two-hour films.
Anticipation factor ★★★★


Prey
ITV, Air date: 2014
John Simm
John Simm will play Detective Constable Marcus Farrow, a well-liked copper, with a wife and two kids.  Although he and his wife Abi are going through a rough patch, they’re trying not to let it disrupt life for their sons, Max and Finn. But when Farrow is found at the scene of a brutal crime, with all the evidence pointing towards him, his world collapses. Arrested and charged, it seems Farrow’s fate is sealed. So when he gets the opportunity to escape, he seizes it with both hands. Now Farrow is on the run in Manchester. A criminal on the streets he used to police. A great premise for what sounds like a gripping drama.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½


No Offence
C4, Air date: 2014
The latest from Paul Abbott (Shameless, Hit & Miss, State of Play) is bound to be a cop show with a difference. Set in a crumbling Victorian cop shop on the wrong side of Manchester, No Offence follows a group of bobbies on the front line, wondering what they did to end up here, in this force, on this side of town. Keeping these streets clean is a Herculean task, enough to demoralise even the keenest rookie. Expect wit, grit and a walk on the wild side of policing.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½

Christopher Jefferies
ITV, Air date: 2014
Jason Watkins, Peter Polycarpou, Shaun Parkes
Based on the true story of Christopher Jefferies, a retired schoolmaster who was arrested when his tenant, 25-year-old landscape architect Joanna Yeates, was found murdered on Christmas Day in 2010. While in police custody, Jefferies became the most familiar face in Britain.
Anticipation factor ★★★½


Foyle’s War
ITV, Air date: 2014
Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks
Three two-hour mysteries. In his role as a Senior Intelligence Officer for the secret service-MI5, Foyle continues to be immersed in the dangerous post-war world of espionage at a time when political and foreign governmental relationships were delicately balanced.
Anticipation factor ★★★½


Undeniable
ITV, Air date: 2014
Claire Goose, Peter Firth, Felix Scott, Christina Bottomley, Pippa Haywood
Claire Goose will star as Jane Fielding, a woman who recognises her mother’s murderer, twenty-three years after the crime. Despite being just seven years old when she witnessed the killing, she’s determined to bring the man she believes is responsible to justice.
Anticipation factor ★★★★½


Chasing Shadows
ITV, Air date: 2014
Cast to be announced
Four-parter about the work of a missing persons unit tracking down serial killers who prey on impressionable and vulnerable people.
Anticipation factor ★★★½


Scott & Bailey 4
ITV, Air date: 2014
Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones
The hugely popular series – the finale of the last season was watched by 7.1million viewers – returns.
Anticipation factor ★★★★


Grantchester
ITV, Air date: 2014
Cast to be announced
Set against the backdrop of the real hamlet of Grantchester, the drama focuses upon the life of Sidney Chambers, a charismatic, charming clergyman who turns investigative vicar when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances.  
Anticipation factor ★★★½

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Sofie Grabol in Fortitude, Montalbano’s B&B

The Killing‘s Sofie Grabol, pictured, has signed to star in what Sky Atlantic’s calling its ‘biggest drama to date’. Fortitude is a 13-part co-production with the Starz network in the US, and will also feature Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci. Created and written by Simon Donald, the man behind Low Winter Sun, it will start filming in London and Reykjavik later this year. Fortitude is set in the midst of a polar landscape, one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime there. Until now. When a British research scientist is murdered, the crime touches everyone in the close-knit community. Sofie Grabol will play the town’s mayor.

Montalbano and Young Montalbano may have said arrivederci to their BBC4 devotees for now, but anyone who’s salivated over Salvo’s lovely beachside house may be interested to know it’s a bed and breakfast for holidaymakers when filming stops. Ivana Micciché has contacted CrimeTimePreview and tells me she had the idea for the B&B in 2004. She sends these pictures of the detective’s house, and says anyone interested in stopping by should check out this site for La Casa di Montalbano.

• So the Crime Writers’ Association has just celebrated its 60th anniversary by voting for its favourite novel, series and author. Here’s the result:

Best Ever Novel: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
Best Ever Series: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
Best Ever Author: Agatha Christie

Personally, I find Agatha Christie pretty dull – which I know is sacrilege. As a CWA member, I voted for Elmore Leonard (best author), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (novel) and Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor books (series).

So, I’d like to ask anyone reading this – what’s your poison (so to speak)? Comments welcome below…

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