Paranoid, ITV, Robert Glenister, Indira Varma, Lesley Sharp

RED PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV PARANOID EPISODE 1 Pictured: INDIRA VARMA as Nina Suresh and NEIL STUKE as Michael Niles. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Dark motives: but do the police have anything to be paranoid about?

A shocking murder kicks off a tense conspiracy thriller

★★★★ ITV, Thursday, 29 September, 9pm

TV IS SO OBSESSED with crime drama that it’s hard for any new series to stand out from the mass of cops-and-killer yarns. Paranoid does stand out. It initially has the hallmarks of a traditional whodunit – but then pulls off the trick of veering into darker territory.

It starts with the shocking murder of a mother in a playground. You know the formula – star detectives in plastic suits turn up and make cynical comments to the forensics team.

And when CCTV fingers Jacob Appleby, a suspect suffering from psychopathic schizophrenia, it all looks straightforward. However, events turn more ominous.

RED PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV PARANOID EPISODE 1 Pictured: INDIRA VARMA as Nina Suresh and DINO FETSCHER as Alec Wayfield. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Too close for comfort?Indira Varma as Nina Suresh and Dino Fetscher as Alec Wayfield

Robert Glenister as Bobby Day

One of the detectives, Bobby Day (an affecting turn from Robert Glenister), thinks someone is watching the police. And when messages turn up at the police station for Day, it is clear there is more to the murder of mum Angela Benton, a GP, than meets the eye.

One of the messages – ‘You have no idea what you’re up against’ – is a clear warning.

What makes this mystery engrossing is the interesting characters writer Bill Gallagher has created. His credits include Lark Rise to Candleford and The Paradise, so Paranoid seems an interesting shift of gear for him.

The police characters certainly have their own demons. Bobby Day is suffering from panic attacks, which he tries to hide from his colleagues. [Read more…]

Paranoid, trailer for ITV’s new thriller

Paranoid is coming to ITV this autumn.

It’s the story of a female GP who is murdered in a children’s playground with an abundance of eyewitnesses. Detectives embark on what seems to be a straightforward investigation. But as they delve into the case they are drawn into the twists of a mystery, taking them unexpectedly across Europe.

Cast includes Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Lesley Sharp, Dino Fetscher, Neil Stuke, Polly Walker and John Duttine.

Scott & Bailey 5, ITV

RED PRODUCTION COMPANY PRESENTS SCOTT AND BAILEY FOR ITV Pictured: LESLEY SHARP as DC Janet Scott and SURANNE JOMNES as ADI Rachel Bailey. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to SCOTT AND BAILEY.

Close partners: Lesley Sharp as Janet Scott and Suranne Jones as Rachel Bailey

A three-part special that ups the ante for Rachel and Janet as they deal with a particularly chilling murder spree

★★★★ ITV, Wednesday, 13 April, 9pm

IT’S ALL CHANGE in this engrossing cop drama. DCI Gill Murray has retired and Acting Detective Inspector Rachel Bailey is back from a vice squad secondment in London. Detective Constable Janet Scott’s romance nearly ended in marriage, but has now simply ended.

There is also some awkwardness as they get reacquainted, because hotheaded Rachel (Suranne Jones) has not been great at returning texts and messages from Janet (Lesley Sharp).

In this three-part story, the pair must soon reunite to take on a sinister internet investigation. Using her newly acquired Vice authority, Rachel accesses the Dark Net and discovers that a murder is part of a disturbing scene in which people brag about committing murders and challenge each other to chalk up their own killings.

Janet’s daughter is in big trouble

RED PRODUCTION COMPANY PRESENTS SCOTT AND BAILEY FOR ITV Pictured: LESLEY SHARP as DC Janet Scott ,JUDITH BARKER as Dorothy and HARRIET WATERS as Tasie Scott. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to SCOTT AND BAILEY.

Home life: Janet and her mum Dorothy are worried about Tasie

Scott & Bailey has a rap sheet of gruesome crime portrayals – remember mass killer Joe Bevan from series 3? – and this is another powerful story. Having it play out over three episodes gives writer Lee Warburton (the Corrie actor-turned-writer, who penned episodes for S&B 4) the chance to develop fully the inter-office personal dramas, the frictions between chalk-and-cheese Scott and Bailey, and the intricacies of the murder hunt.

And there is plenty at stake for the characters. There is a death among the Syndicate 9 team, Janet’s confronted by her teenage daughter Taisie getting into serious trouble with the police, and Rachel must deal with the fallout from her reckless behaviour in London.

In addition, there’s a new team member to get up Rachel’s nose, DC Anna Ram (Jing Lusi). Meanwhile, Pippa Haywood becomes a regular cast member as Rachel’s boss, DSI Julie Dobson.

[Read more…]

Scott & Bailey, ITV, with Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones PREVIEW

LESLEY SHARP as DC Janet Scott and AMELIA BULLMORE as DCI Gill Murray and SURANNE JONES as DS Rachel Bailey
Back in action – Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore and Suranne Jones. Pics: ITV

Rating: ★★★

ITV: starts Wednesday, 10 September, 9pm

Story: After falling out with each other so badly in the last series, Rachel and Janet resolve to move forward and to try to make something of their careers. While they are both preoccupied with aiming for promotion to sergeant, however, a vulnerable young adult goes missing…

SCOTT & BAILEY returns with another captivating episode – is a good sign for series four. Rachel and Janet have decided to set their recent bust-up aside – along with their less than dazzling personal

AMELIA BULLMORE as DCI Gill Murray
DCI Murray at the quarry 

lives – to focus on making something of their careers.

While they are on speaking terms again, both are also focused on promotions to the rank of sergeant. As they face their promotion interviews, the story of the week is about the kidnap of a vulnerable young adult called Robin McKendrick.

The series’ popularity is probably down to a combination of good writing and acting from well-liked stars Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp and Amelia Bullmore (who also writes this episode), and the skill with which it interweaves the police procedural stuff with their personal stories.

Bittersweet twist for Rachel and Janet

It is not as distinctive or powerful as Happy Valley, The Fall or Broadchurch, but it is looking down on Death in Paradise and Lewis from a great height.

Part of its winning formula is also having characters who feel familiar. Most viewers know a steady

SURANNE JONES as DS Rachel Bailey, DELROY BROWN as DC Lee Broadhurst, LESLEY SHARP as DC Janet Scott, DAVID PROSHO as DC Ian Mitchell, AMELIA BULLMORE as DCI Gill Murray, TONY MOONEY as DC Pete Readyough. L-R Front Row: DANNY MILLER as DS Rob Waddington and DANNY WEBB as DC Chris Crowley.
Debriefing for Syndicate 9

Janet (Lesley Sharp) – here coping with warring daughters and her ‘hindrance’ of a mother following the collapse of her marriage – as well as a reckless Rachel (Suranne Jones), who is trying to move on from her impetuous marriage and become the responsible, instinctive and successful detective she could be.

There is a bittersweet twist in the opening episode about their bids to become sergeant, and again the characters respond to the outcome in a way that is understandable while tinged with sadness for one of them.

Woman missing for 23 years

The other stand-out aspect to the shows is that the cases are not run-of-the-mill whodunits. There is usually some level of insight into the victims’/families’ stories and social context to the drama. And in

 LESLEY SHARP as DC Janet Scott and DELROY BROWN as DC Lee Broadhurst
Jane and Lee Broadhurst looking for the missing man

the last series there was the recurring and chilling story of the apparently bed-ridden man whose elderly wife suffered a gruesome death.

This week’s story of the missing young man is all the sadder when Rachel visits his horrible parents and finds their poor son was neglected and effectively alone in the world. While searching a quarry for the guy’s body, however, the team discovers another corpse first – one that guvnor Gill Murray (Bullmore) suspects may be that of a missing woman called Mandy Sweeting, who’s been missing for 23 years.

Which sets things up nicely for next week.

Check out these links…
Series four of Scott & Bailey announced
Scott & Bailey Facebook page
Series three preview on CrimeTimePreview

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Scott & Bailey 3, ITV, with Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp PREVIEW



Rating: ★★★★½

ITV: starts Wednesday, 3 April, 9pm

Story: A worried neighbour knocks on Janet Scott’s door one night, concerned about the smell coming from a house down the road…

Manchester detectives Scott & Bailey quickly won a following among audiences and critics alike, clocking up between six and eight million viewers and winning the Royal Television Society’s script writing award for Sally Wainwright last November.

Good as the first two series were, however, series three gets off to a blistering start and could be the best yet. No sooner are the credits done than Janet is saying to Rachel in the Ladies, ‘This woman comes knocking on our door at half past eight last night. She lives down the road. I don’t know her particularly well…’

And we’re straight into an absorbing case that is horrific, sad and mystifying despite the apparent everyday nature of the tragedy.

Strange smell from a creepy houseThe neighbour says there’s a smell coming from a house that Janet has always found creepy. When the uniforms break the door down they find 75-year-old Eunice’s body at the top of the stairs – and her head at the bottom.

In the upstairs bedroom is close-to-death, bed-ridden husband Joe. He’s emaciated and barely able to speak.

It turns out Eunice was hit over the head. In a bid to discover who killed her, Rachel and Janet set out to trace the couple’s four children, who it seems haven’t visited their parents in a long time.


Nicola Walker as Helen
They finally locate daughter Helen, who is working on the makeup counter of a department store. Helen’s response to news of her mother’s death is distracted and muted. Upset she is not – ‘I don’t have anything to do with my parents,’ she says. ‘They’re of no interest to me.’  It’s a stunning and eerie performance by Nicola Walker as Helen.

What unfolds is a shocking story of evil, made totally gripping by sublime acting. George Costigan as Joe is a disturbing portrayal, and with Nicola Walker he makes this a powerful opening to the series. And watch out because the character of Helen turns up again later in the series in another tragic story.

Suranne Jones and her former Corrie colleague Sally Lindsay dreamed up this Cagney & Lacey-inspried series, in a bid to create prominent female characters, and a big element of its success is that the characters of Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott are as important as the cases featured each week.


Rachel’s bored with her marriage – after three months
So, Rachel is only three months into her marriage and finds herself bored with dishy but dull hubby Sean, while Janet, whose marriage is over though she still shares a roof with Ade, is upset that he is dating and she fancies no one.

Tracie Bennett joins the cast as Rachel’s drunken, boob-flashing mum, further adding to the detective’s headaches. Meanwhile, Janet is acting as sergeant but is in two minds about whether to take on the extra responsibilities permanently. Another new cast member in episode four (Danny Miller) four will settle this issue for her…

Amelia Bullmore is back in tough boss mode as DCI Gill Murray, and Pippa Haywood is again unrecognisable from her daffy role as Harriet in Prisoners’ Wives, here reappearing as the formidable and acerbic Detective Superintendent Julie Dodson.

It’s a great ensemble cast, and on the evidence of episode one, stands alongside Broadchurch as the best  UK crime drama currently on telly.

Cast: Suranne Jones DC Rachel Bailey, Lesley Sharp DC Janet Scott, Amelia Bullmore DCI Gill Murray, Danny Miller DS Rob Waddington (eps 4 – 8), Ben Batt DC Kevin Lumb, David Prosho DC Ian Mitchell, Tony Mooney DC Pete Readyough, Delroy Brown DC Lee Broadhurst, Nicola Walker Helen Bartlett, George Costigan Joe Bevan, Tracie Bennett Sharon Bailey, Sean Maguire PC Sean McCartney, Tony Pitts Adrian Scott, Judith Barker Dorothy Parsons, Judy Holt Scary Mary Jackson

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Scott & Bailey 2 – Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp PREVIEW

Bailey (Suranne Jones) and Scott (Lesley Sharp). Pics: ITV

Rating: ★★★½

ITV1, starts Monday, 12 March, 9pm 

Story: The detective constables Scott and Bailey return to duty on Manchester’s Major Incident Team. Rachel Bailey’s estranged brother turns up on her doorstep. She takes him in with a warning that he must put his criminal past behind him. Janet Scott tells her husband, Adrian, to leave the house after he rows with her mother. Meanwhile, the badly burned body of a disabled man turns up.

Sisters are doing it for themselves in a range of new hit dramas on UK television just now. Scott & Bailey has women all along its production line and returns after a quiet launch last year that still managed to wow an audience of 9.4 million viewers. That’s pretty huge in these multi-channel days.

It was created and written by Sally Wainwright (At Home with the Braithwaites) and has a good cast led by Suranne Jones (the former Corrie actress who came up the idea for S&B with Sally Lindsay, who also stars here) and Lesley Sharp.

A witness objects to Rachel’s line of questioning

Women on top
Their boss is Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore, who has also written episode seven of this series), and we meet her colleague and best mate, the formidable DCI Julie Dodson (Pippa Haywood, playing a vastly different character from mousey Harriet in Prisoners’ Wives).

Men pop up too. They tend to be the immature, dumb detectives, the nagging husband or inadequate brother. There must be quite a few of those around, judging by the loud chord S&B seems to have struck with female viewers.

So what are the unique selling points of S&B (apart from lacklustre men)? First, it’s strongly character-focused. The opening episode is 10 minutes old before it gets into any serious detective work.

Troublesome brother
Rachel’s estranged brother, 28-year-old Dominic, appears out of the rain one night. She reluctantly takes him in on the proviso that he stirs clear of armed robbery. He seems too reticent and inept for that line of criminality. This is a bloke who can’t put a pan on the cooker without nearly burning down the flat.

Meanwhile, Janet’s husband with the appalling haircut is kicking off about having the mother-in-law staying with them. When he flounces out during a row, Janet tells him not to come back.

‘Men are just shit, aren’t they,’ Rachel says to Janet. And she should know, having been dumped in series one by that caddish Rupert Graves just when she was expecting an engagement ring.

Marriage troubles await Scott

Burned bodies
The show’s other strong point is that it avoids the forensic porn so many shows thrive on. The case being investigated here in a two-part story is about a disabled man’s burned body being found, soon followed up by another burned corpse.

Both men were tortured. Now, if this were Silent Witness we’d be taken on a pointless fingertip journey through each victim’s viscera. S&B doesn’t confuse voyeuristic gore with dramatic storytelling and the visual horror is never exploited.

Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are appealing as Britain’s very own Cagney and Lacey – they’re fine performers and dissimilar enough to make believable friends. And the moments that stand out are the small, truthful scenes, such as Scott and Bailey paying a painful visit to the wife of the second victim.

Sexy colleague
It’s a moment that says something about their tough job, and the women doing it.

If only the men would get their act together. In episode two Rachel finds herself waking up next to a sexy colleague and old flame. Now, what are the chances of Sean turning out to a faithful, witty and thoroughly decent chap?

Cast: Suranne Jones DC Rachel Bailey, Lesley Sharp DC Janet Scott, Amelia Bullmore DCI Gill Murray, Nicholas Gleaves DS Andy Roper, Ben Batt DC Kevin Lumb, David Prosho DC Ian Mitchell, Tony Mooney DC Pete Readyough, Delroy Brown DC Lee Broadhurst, Sally Lindsay Alison, Vincent Regan DCS Dave Murray, Tony Pitts Adrian, Pippa Haywood DCI Julie Dodson, Liam Boyle Dominic

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Scott and Bailey with Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp PREVIEW

Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones). Pics: (C) ITV Plc

Rating ★★★

ITV1, from Sunday, 29 May, 9pm

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen says he axed the popular Zen series because there were too many male cop shows and he wanted to ‘broaden the palette’.

Perhaps he should watch ITV1 more often. Recently the channel’s launched Vera with Brenda Blethyn, gave us Olivia Williams in Case Sensitive, and now they’ve got a female double-header – Scott and Bailey with Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp. And their boss is a woman too, DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore).

Lesley Sharp

Cagney and Lacey immediately springs to mind. Like that fondly remembered 80s series, this six-parter is more about the lead characters and their private lives than the cases on which each episode hangs. So we have a blonde one, Janet Scott (Sharp), and a brunette, Rachel Bailey (Jones). Scott is married, while Rachel has a messier personal life, as her duplicitous lawyer boyfriend, Nick (Rupert Graves in another sleazeball role) is shown in the opening scene dumping her after two years of lying to her.

Rachel’s judgement is distorted
Happily, this is not another police procedural in which our heroes turn up at a murder scene and realise a fiendish serial killer is on the loose. It’s all very grounded, with the drama being carried by the characters and not a mounting pile of murder victims.

So Scott and Bailey are ordinary detective constables working in your average-looking office (as opposed to the moody, minimalist nightclub decor favoured by Waking the Dead, CSI etc). It’s set in ordinary, rainy Manchester.

Suranne Jones and Rupert Graves

Rachel is distracted by the shock of being dumped over dinner, when she was expecting an engagement ring. So shocked, actually, that her judgement is distorted during their investigation of a reported suicide, which turns out to be murder.

Unsolved murder that traumatised Janet
She may be impulsive and vulnerable (she uses her police privileges to investigate Nick), but Rachel is shown to be shrewd when it comes to the crunch interview that provides a breakthrough in the case. Meanwhile, Janet is the more level-headed one, but with a few private peccadilloes.

Such as her fling with her boss, DS Andy Roper (Nicholas Gleaves), of which Rachel knows nothing. Domestically, Janet is a mother of two for whom marriage to Adrian (Tony Pitts) is a routine of dull convenience.

The opener does a good job of establishing the characters. How will Rachel’s stormy relationship with Nick develop? And will Janet be able to get to the bottom of the unsolved murder of her childhood friend that traumatised her as a teenager?

On the case… Scott and Bailey

Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones
Scott and Bailey will not shake TV crime drama to its foundations – especially not in a year that’s seen The Killing and The Shadow Line – but it is a welcome attempt to offer a gimmick-free story (no vintage setting, serial killers, time travel). In its favour is having two good leading actors who should quickly have audiences rooting for them.

And if BBC1’s controller is bored by the Beeb’s Sherlock, Wallander, Inspector George Gently, Luther and the rest of the boys, he’ll know which channel to watch on Sunday nights. 

Amelia Bullmore, Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp

The Shadow Line with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston PREVIEW

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Rea and Christopher Eccleston. Pic: BBC

Rating ★★★★★

BBC2 Thursday, 5 May, 9pm

Of the four major new crime/thriller series on screen this week – Vera (ITV1), Case Sensitive (ITV1), Exile (BBC1) and finally The Shadow Line (BBC2) – it is the Beeb’s two offerings that are more interesting, simply because they step outside of the detective/sidekick/procedural format.

And on the basis of its opening episode, The Shadow Line looks extremely good. To say it’s dark would be to underestimate just how pitched in murkiness it is.

From the opening scene, when a rather creepy Sgt Foley uses his pen to probe the entry wounds on a bullet-shattered corpse in the back of a Merc, we’re in a disorientating world.

‘My world, my rules’

‘I don’t think we’re supposed to touch the body,’ Foley’s constable says.

‘My world, my rules,’ replies the sergeant, before saying, ‘You try to find the line on something like this, it’ll fur up your arteries like a fucking werewolf.’

Foley has recognised the corpse as being that of Harvey Wratten, leading crime boss, not that the sergeant reveals the identity to his underling.

Wratten has just been released from prison after serving two years of an 18-year sentence with a very rare Royal Pardon. So, immediately, the underworld is wondering who Wratten ratted on.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as DI Gabriel

The case is handed to DI Jonah Gabriel (Chiwetel Ejiofor), just back on duty after a police operation that went mysteriously wrong and left him with a bullet in the head. He has amnesia and while he insists he is ready for duty, he has blind spots about what kind of officer he used to be. The complicated investigation is not made easier by his boss warning him to ‘take care jumping into the snake pit’.

Meanwhile, Christopher Eccleston is Joseph Bede, who went legit in running a flower and veg business as a front for Wratten, and he is trying to hold things together while the criminals work out who is behind Wratten’s slaying. Complicating matters is Wratten’s psycho nephew, Jay (Rafe Spall), who has also just been released from prison. Jay is itching to take over his uncle’s drug empire and finds Bede’s softly approach to the crisis irritating.

This is an eerie, superb drama, noir storytelling with arresting visuals. The script is clever and every single character, down to a constable asking for ID at a crime scene, has a personality. At times the dialogue cuts across two separate scenes, so that a police discussion in one scene is juxtaposed with an inquest by the gangsters on the same subject – who was driving Wratten when he was murdered? – allowing the viewer to pull the threads together.

Stephen Rea as Gatehouse

In the opener of this seven-part series we don’t even meet Stephen Rea as Gatehouse, the man described in production notes as the Puppetmaster, who watches the police and criminals from the sidelines. Witty and unpleasant, he is bound to become more central as Gabriel gets enmeshed in the mystery. 

It’s written by Hugo Blick, who has notched up some quality series with Marion & Geoff (as writer) and Roger & Val Have Just Got In (executive producer). He has created detailed, complex characters in a frightening world that draws you in.

For someone who has such a profound idea of his characters, Blick seems for a moment to have got the casting wrong of baby-faced Rafe Spall in the Joe Pesci role of Jay. But once Spall gets going he is extremely unnerving. The scene in which he deals with a goon who baits him from a lift by making pig noises is charged with mad menace.

‘It’s blacker than the usual fare’

The Beeb has been careful in releasing pics and preview disks of this series, so I’ve only seen episode one. But assuming that the story doesn’t suffer a major quality breakdown in coming weeks, this will be unmissable TV.

Asked if he could compare The Shadow Line to anything else, Stephen Rea said, ‘No, I think it’s blacker than the usual fare, and it’s also hilarious.’

I didn’t spot that much hilarity in the opener, but then perhaps Rea hasn’t totally shaken off his evil character yet.

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor Jonah Gabriel, Christopher Eccleston Joseph Bede, Stephen Rea Gatehouse, Rafe Spall Jay Wratten, Antony Sher Glickman, Richard Lintern Detective Superintendent Patterson,  Kierston Wareing Detective Sergeant Lia Honey, Malcolm Storry Maurice Crace,  Freddie Fox Ratallack, David Schofield Sergeant Foley,  Sean Gilder Robert Beatty,  Lesley Sharp Julie Bede, Clare Calbraith Laura Gabriel, Agni Scott Alison, Eve Best Petra Mayler, Stanley Townsend Bulkat Babur, Robert Pugh Bob Harris, Tobais Menzies Ross McGovern, Toby Bakare Andy Dixon, Sharon D Clarke Mrs Dixon, Bryony Afferson Sara, Nicholas Jones Bruce Penney, Sasha Behar Laing, Cavan Clerkin Leonard Glickman, Amelia Lowdell Frieda Glickman, Ace Bhatti Police Commander Khokar, Penny Downie Monroe

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