A rising female detective with an emotional attachment to a gangster is pitched into a world of danger
★★★★ ITV, Friday, 30 September, 9pm
THE SCRIPT for this new ITV thriller was several years in gestation. It was time well spent because writers Gaby Chiappe and Alexander Perrin have come up with a taut gripper that has emotional punch.
Karla Crome plays Nancy Devlin, a detective with a difference. She is inextricably linked to gangster Frank Le Saux – an affecting turn from Philip Glenister. Le Saux was a father figure to Nancy during her turbulent childhood. Meanwhile, his daughter, Hayley (Laura Haddock), became her best friend.
This compromising relationship has survived her rise to distinction as a detective sergeant. When we first meet Nancy she is being paraded before colleagues after saving her boss, Kevin O’Dowd (Downton‘s Robert James-Collier), from a lethal attack.
Nancy’s tracked by a killer
However, Nancy is also in the habit of giving Frank a wink if he ever comes under investigation.
When Frank then contacts her because he is in trouble, Nancy’s career is suddenly under threat, to say nothing of her life. As she struggles to avoid being implicated in a murder investigation, she is also being tracked by a killer.
The Level, which refers to an area of Brighton – where the six-part series is set – and the idea of being on the level, is a very effective thriller. It is fast and tense without implausibly stretching the story.
We’ve seen Karla Crome in series such as the excellent Prisoners’ Wives and Misfit. She has no trouble holding the limelight here. Laura Haddock, usually seen in big-budget nonsense like Da Vinci’s Demons, is spot on as the ballsy badgirl who was once close to Nancy. [Read more…]