TV Crime Log: Grantchester, Lewis, Code, Homeland

Right, grab yourself a sandwich and some juice and we’ll get this done and dusted in no time.

GrantchesterGrantchester is a new cosy brought to you by the ladies and gentlemen at ITV. I would say it ticks all the boxes for your Auntie. A nice young man plays a handsome priest who solves crime in a picturesque part of Cambridgeshire in 1953. Wild horses aren’t going to drag her from that remote – it may be a fight to the death.

The blurb starts off on a bit of a frivolous note:

It’s 1953, and just outside the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester, local vicar Sidney Chambers has lost track of time, having spent a glorious morning with his fun loving friend, and the woman with whom he is secretly in love, Amanda Kendall. Racing to church, Sidney arrives just in time to minister at the funeral of a local solicitor – although his poor time-keeping earns the disapproval of his punctilious housekeeper Mrs Maguire.

With the death a suicide, Sidney does his best to comfort young German widow Hildegard Staunton, but is soon called away from his normal duties when the glamorous Pamela Morton asks to draw Sidney into her confidence. She reveals that she was having an affair with the late solicitor – and that far from being a suicide, she has reasons to believe that he was in fact murdered.

The first Grantchester episode of six is on ITV tonight – Monday at 9pm. Dog-collars, murders, smooth lawns, waspish housekeepers, Geordie coppers called Geordie – I recklessly predict an immediate recommission.

LewisAnd while we’re on the subject of cosies, let’s welcome back our old friend Lewis. You may remember that old warhorse of a series was put out to pasture about five minutes ago. But after several sleepless nights poring over drooping advertising revenue spreadsheets, someone at the channel decided there was life in the old beast yet.

But wait! Lewis and Hathaway both announced their retirements from the force at the end of the last episode. Hathaway’s we can put down to a hasty youthful exuberance – the young rarely know the shit they come out with, but Lewis, surely, is enjoying his real ales. The blurb puts our worries to rest on that front:

There’s something missing in Lewis’s life. It’s not Hobson’s fault, but retirement plainly doesn’t suit him. So when the call comes from Innocent to take up his badge and rejoin the force, he jumps at the chance.

Meanwhile Hathaway is wading into his first murder mystery – a tricky case that bridges the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights. It started with an arson attack on a hunting lodge, but soon enough Hathaway and DS Maddox have a dead neurosurgeon on their hands. Alastair Stoke was shot in the head on the farmland he co-owned with his troubled business partner Tom Marston, but as Hathaway delves into the network of fear and loathing that surrounds the surgeon, the case begins to careen out of control.

But can Innocent’s experiment – throwing Hathaway and Lewis together again – be sufficient to solve the mystery and stop the killing?

Lewis returns on Friday at 9pm for another six part series, and I recklessly predict that it will be recommissioned for another three hundred years.

The CodeHopefully, The Code on BBC4 will add a little grit to your weekend after all that coziness. Having exhausted Scandi crime serials and flirted with series from other parts of Europe, BBC4 is now widening its net to other parts of the globe.

The Code is a dark conspiracy thriller about two brothers who investigate corruption at the heart of government:

In the middle of the outback, a stolen 4WD collides with a transport truck. Two local kids in the car are badly hurt. Someone should have called for help, but they didn’t. They didn’t because they work for an international research project no-one talks about and their cargo is a prohibited substance.

The accident would have remained a mystery were it not for Ned and Jesse Banks. Ned is a young internet journalist desperate for a break, and Jesse is his troubled younger brother whose obsession with hacking has got him into serious difficulties.

Ned and Jesse Banks are given a poisoned chalice when a phone video of the outback accident arrives in their in-box. Their decision to dig deeper drags the brothers into the darkest heart of politics, the web of black marketeers and the international agencies that monitor and manipulate them. Together, they suddenly become the unlikeliest crusaders for democracy.

The question is just how far those in authority will go to keep their explosive secret safe – and just how far the two brothers will go to reveal the truth.

Not much to go on there, but it may be worth a look-see. Them Australians sure know how to produce a terrific thriller. Only last week I very much enjoyed the movie Wish You Were Here, and watched again the always compelling Animal Kingdom – so there, that must prove it. And also – wait, don’t click away till the end of this sentence! – The Code also stars Lucy Lawless. Her from Xena and Spartacus.

The Code is on BBC4, Saturday night, at 9pm. It’ll be preceded by some ancient network idents.

HomelandHomeland has wisely opted to reboot after tying itself up in terrible knots over the last three series. The first series was very good, I think we all agree with that – wait, this is the internet, so I guess we’d probably all very much disagree about it – and then it lost focus alarmingly.

So what they’ve done is, with Brody now dead – that was a spoiler, by the way, sorry about that – they’ve moved Carrie to a CIA station in the Middle East. In the first episode she authorizes a deadly missile strike.

Homeland is on Channel 4 Sunday night at 9pm.

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