TV Crime Log: Suspects, Ascension


The Suspects team fill out some paperwork.

Some shows just come in under the radar. That’s particularly true if that show graces the 10pm week night slot on Channel Five. Or any slot on Five, to be honest. Suspects, the channel’s improvised cop show culled from news reports, unexpectedly rocks up to its third series this week.

Shot in the style of a fly on-the-wall documentary, Suspects is unscripted. The cast devise their own dialogue based on a detailed plot description.

Set in London, each episode is a self-contained story, starting with a news report, then follows the team of three detectives as they investigate the circumstances of the crime and frantically think what to say to each other. The cases themselves are hard-hitting — it says here — with contemporary themes, such as the search for a soldier with PTSD, a murder that has been made to look like an assisted suicide and the gang rape of a young teenager.

We strongly suspect the programme notes are making it up as they go along:

The new series opens with the return of DS Jack Weston after a period of enforced leave. DI Martha Bellamy is pleased to have Jack back, but warns him that this is his last chance.

Jack takes charge at the scene when a popular art teacher is found with life-threatening head injuries at a sixth-form college. DC Charlie Steele already knows the victim. She had been investigating Abigail Lincolnʼs complaint of stalking against the college handyman.

Harry Webster protests his innocence but he has a history of violence, having served time for killing his wife. He had reason to hate Abi, who was responsible for getting him the sack and clashes with the normally cool Charlie, who cannot help wondering whether she could have prevented the attack on Abi.

More suspects come to light when Martha sets out to discover whether Abiʼs stalker and attacker were the same person. Did besotted Dylan Kennedy, the headʼs stepson, turn violent after Abi ejected his advances? There were also rumours that Abi was about to expose a teacher for an inappropriate relationship with a pupil.

As events come to a head, Jack focuses his scrutiny on the college head Rory OʼHanlon and uncovers a trail of suspicious deaths that makes even Marthaʼs blood run cold…

Suspects is on Tuesday night at 10pm, on Five.

AscensionWe are increasingly unleashing our inner geek on this blog, and we make no apology for that, particularly as there’s precious little else floating around the TV schedules this week.

So we cordially invite you to take a gander at Ascension, which is a kind of Sci-fi conspiracy thriller. It is described by Sky copywriters as a three-part event series.

We also strongly suspect that the blurb is taking considerable liberties with history:

It’s 1963 and President Kennedy is so convinced the Cold War is going to culminate in the destruction of the Earth that he sends 600 men, women and children out into the Great Beyond to find a new world to populate, thus assuring the survival of the human race.

We catch up with the residents of Ascension 50 years into their century-long voyage, not that you’d know it from their Mad Men-esque fashion sense, which, understandably, hasn’t moved on much.

Everyone knows their place on the ship, from the bottom deck dwellers to Captain William Denniger and his vixen wife Viondra, who ride high at the top, but the proverbial boat is rocked when a young woman is murdered. The search for the killer forces Man’s Last Hope to question the true nature of their cause.

Vixen wives and astronauts dressing like Don Draper — what’s not to love, particularly if it’s only going to take up three-weeks of my very busy time.

You can see Ascension — I hope I’m spelling that right, I haven’t even looked it up, I’m that bothered — on Friday night at 9pm, on Sky 1.


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