TV Crime Log: WPC, Duty, Fleming, Suspects

Be gentle with your hard-drive recorder this week, it’s going to need a bit of tender loving care on Wednesday night when it’s working flat-out. Our talented television schedulers have gone hell for leather piling the the week’s big crime thrillers there.

608However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

A bit like Call The Midwife, but with more whistles, BBC1 is returning to Birmingham in the 1950s for the second series of WPC 56. Father Brown, as we have seen, has injected a bit of life – and, of course, a bit of death – into the barren afternoon schedules. And like Brown, WPC 56 will be stripped across the weekdays – in a scheduling sense only – from 2.15pm to 3pm.

The blurb for the first episode would like to take down your particulars:

WPC Gina Dawson and her fellow officers expect trouble when the travelling fair arrives in town. As Gina makes enquiries into the whereabouts of a teenage runaway, she gets drawn into a feud between the girl’s Teddy Boy brother and the fair owner’s son.

Back at the station, Sergeant Fenton clashes with the new DI Max Harper when the body of a married town Councillor is discovered in a flat rented by an elusive red-headed woman, Rebecca Jones. The evidence leads DI Harper to an exclusive member’s only club. The arrival of businessman Lenny Powell leaves Max wondering who exactly this man is.

Sergeant Fenton crosses the line when he accepts money and a tip off from Lenny Powell about a rigged boxing match. DI Harper believes Rebecca is a key witness in the Pembrook case but all attempts to find her fail.

608The first series of BBC2’s corrupt coppers series Line Of Duty proved its best-performing drama in a decade, so it’s hardly a surprise that it’s  back for a second.

This time, Keeley ‘Ashes’ Hawes is the copper under investigation by anti-corruption unit AC-12. The first series – starring Lennie James – was tense and satisfying, so let’s hope lightning can strike twice.

It’s written, once again, by Jed Mercurio, who also wrote the terrific series Cardiac Arrest.

The blurb ain’t saying jack shit until it speaks to its lawyer:

After the violent ambush of a police convoy in which three officers are killed and a protected witness seriously injured, evidence suggests that a police source may have leaked the convoy’s whereabouts, the Force’s Deputy Chief Constable, Mike Dryden, takes personal charge, assigning anti-corruption unit AC-12 to the case.

With Detective Constable Kate Fleming excluding herself from the investigation as she trained with one of the ambush victims, AC-12 commanding officer Superintendent Ted Hastings assigns new recruit Detective Constable Georgia Trotman to work alongside Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott.

Initially AC-12’s most valuable witness, the suspicion soon arises that the sole surviving police officer, Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton, could be their prime suspect. Did she lead the convoy straight into the fatal ambush?

Anyway, Line Of Duty is on at 9pm on Wednesdays, for the next six weeks.

Fleming-KeyArt-01-16x9-1So, it’s decided, then, you’re going to watch that – but, no, wait, Fleming is on the other side at exactly the same time. Aargh – what to do!? This four-part series reimagines  Bond author Ian Fleming as the prototype of his iconic creation.

The blurb certainly knows how to dress for the evening:

Untroubled by the spectre of impending war, roguish playboy Ian Fleming chases women, collects rare books and lives off the family fortune. Forever in the shadow of his brother Peter and an eternal disappointment to his formidable mother Eve, Ian is finally given some direction in his life when he’s recruited by Admiral John Godfrey to help in the effort against the Nazis.

With the somewhat sceptical support of tough-cookie Second Officer Monday, Ian’s extraordinary imagination and ability to spin a yarn makes him a perfect fit for espionage. The stakes increase as Ian’s chance encounter with the captivating Lady Ann O’Neill becomes a passionate affair that shapes both their lives.

Dominic Cooper is Ian Fleming, and that lady from Sherlock’s also in it, and it all looks very sumptuous. Fleming’s top-secret work during the war is well-documented. But Fleming, of course, was a bit of a fantasist – he was a novelist, after all – and I’m sure as long as you take the whole thing with a pinch of salt, you’ll be fine.

Just to reiterate, because you don’t seem like you’re paying proper attention, Fleming is on Sky Atlantic at 9pm, Wednesday.

EvidenceSo it’s decided then, you watch that and record the other thing and – wait, what are the chances? Suspects is on Channel 5 that same evening! Oh, noes! But it’s on at 10pm. Phew!

Suspects is a fly-on-the-wall documentary style drama, in which the cast improvise their own dialogue based on a detailed plot description. Don’t look at me like that — yes, it may work, or it may not. But it looks interesting, nonetheless. And hats off to Channel Five, with its wall-to-wall crime imports, for trying something different.

Each self-contained episode begins with a new report about a case with a lot of topicality. In the first episode, when a toddler is reported abducted from her home, her family come under immediate suspicion.

That bloke everyone loved in Being Human before they cancelled it – he’s in it. And her from Cold Feet.

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