|In the spotlight – Denton (Keeley Hawes) is monitored by Arnott (Martin Compston) and Fleming (Vicky McClure). Pics: BBC|
BBC2: starts Wednesday, 12 February, 9pm
Story: A police convoy is ambushed and three officers are killed and a witness seriously injured. When evidence suggests that a police source may have leaked the convoy’s whereabouts, suspicion arises that the sole surviving police officer, Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton, could be the prime suspect.
LENNIE JAMES put in a blistering performance in series one as the detective chief inspector under scrutiny for corruption. The success of this follow-up series will also depend on the new cop under the spotlight being as slippery and intriguing an adversary for the anti-corruption unit AC-12.
On hearing that the role is being played by Keeley Hawes, you might think she’s too glam, too
|Victim or perpetrator? DI Lindsay Denton|
lightweight to cut it as a hardened cop scrapping for survival in the shark-infested police hierarchy.
But, actually, she’s a revelation here. Forget all her larking about in Ashes to Ashes and dressing up in Upstairs Downstairs. She’s discarded some of the make-up, dresses down a bit and really keeps the viewer on their toes in a terrific opening episode.
Suspicion falls on Keeley Hawes’s detective inspector
It bursts into life with a tense sequence in which her character, Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton, is improvising a highly dangerous and hastily thrown together transfer of a witness from one compromised hide-out to another location.
When the police convoy is ambushed on a quiet back road, with three officers being brutally killed and the witness badly injured, it seems a fair guess that someone leaked the convoy’s route. Suspicion falls on the lone police survivor of the disaster – DI Denton.
|The brutal ambush by masked gunmen|
The injured inspector is initially vulnerable, ostracised by colleagues and superiors on her return to duty. There is a shocking scene on her first day back when the officers inflict a brutal welcome on her in the Ladies.
Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar return
And then AC-12 use an interview with her to make veiled accusations that she may have been behind the leak. Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar revisit their roles as Arnott, Fleming and Hastings, with Hastings as the smiling inquisitor – to the discomfort of Arnott and his new colleague DC Trotman (Jessica Raine). He tells Denton she was a ‘desk destective’, implying she was out of her depth on this frontline operation.
But the series writer and creator, Jed Mercurio, gives us glimpses of another side to Denton that keep us wondering about her role in the ambush. He also develops the characters of the AC-10 officers further while creating a web of ambitions and dodgy goings-on that make it difficult for viewers to know who to side with.
|Watching the detectives – Hastings, Arnott and Fleming|
The opening episode combines pacey storytelling with interesting, believable characters in addition to an explosive end. I felt series one started well and became a bit lurid as it went on.
But if series two keeps up the terrific quality of episode one, it will put even Lennie James and his series in the shade.
Cast: Keeley Hawes Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton, Martin Compston Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, Vicky McClure Detective Constable Kate Fleming, Adrian Dunbar Superintendent Ted Hastings, Mark Bonnar Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden, Jessica Raine Detective Constable Georgia Trotman