Tag Archives: Sky Living

TV Crime Log: Blacklist, Homeland

It’s getting wet and dismal outside  – it is in this neck of the woods, anyway – and you may consider that staying in to goggle at the flickering box is highly-preferable to taking the dog out for a walk.

In which case you may want to consider these crimey-thrillery shows starting this weekend.

Unknown-1You may have seen those posters of James Spader everywhere. Oh, James, what happened to all that lovely hair? I’ve chosen a photo of him wearing a hat because it’s just too upsetting to see it gone! Spader — I’m fine now, no, really — is starring in The Blacklist,  tonight on Sky Living.

He plays Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington – how did anyone think that name was a good idea; I mean someone in the writers room must have put spoke out, surely? – who is one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives. Anyway, Red (shudder) gives himself up at the FBI headquarters. He just happens to have a list of the US’s most-dangerous criminals and terrorists. He calls it The Redli… no, wait, he calls it The Blacklist.

But Red (ugh) says he’ll speak only to a rookie FBI profiler called Elizabeth Keen. Together, I’m guessing, they’ll bring down everybody on that list one hour-long episode at a time. Red will probably be mostly untrustworthy – except when he isn’t – and will have an agenda of his own that will slowly be revealed along the way.

It looks a lot of fun, and Spader is always worth watching – with or without hair. That is to say, his own hair. Whether you choose to watch The Blacklist with or without your own hair is entirely your choice. Or perhaps it isn’t.

Okay, so, I’m confusing myself now. Anyway, The Blacklist has done well in the States so I’m guessing it’s going to stick around. It’s on Sky Living tonight at 9pm. Check it out if you have any brain cells left from watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

And then on Sunday is the return of Homeland. How do we feel about that, hmm?

What was that you did there, was that an ambivalent shrug? I kind of agree. The first series was tremendous, I thought, but the second – not so much. It kind of got itself all wrapped up in dramatic knots.

Unknown-2So, at the end of the last series, someone blew the shit out of Langley and Nick Brody hotfooted it to Canada, leaving behind his CIA girlfriend Carrie and his hot wife.

But we can hope that Homeland gets itself back on an even keel, perhaps utilizing the same optimism with which we stare at our spam and think: ‘Maybe that robot really does love my blog!’

Homeland series three begins on Channel 4 on Sunday at 9pm.

Hannibal, Whicher, Blitz And Life: TV Crime Log

Gosh, start looking for the Record Button on your remote, because there’s tons of stuff on the telly this week.

Unknown-3Hannibal debuts on Sky Living tomorrow night, and is a procedural based on the relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and criminal profiler Will Graham – working together to solve crime! – before Dr Lecter’s cannibal antics rather soured their friendship.

Thomas Harris fans will recognise Graham, played by Hugh Dancy, as the damaged FBI man responsible for Dr. Lecter’s incarceration in the novel Red Dragon. It’s an audacious attempt to kick life into a serial killer character who became a bit of a joke with his Young Hannibal Adventures, or whatever that last book and movie were called.

The aim, says series creator Bryan Fuller, is to explore the relationship between Lecter – played by the excellent Mads Mikkelsen – and Graham in the first three seasons, and then dramatise the events of Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs in two final seasons. A terrific idea, but Hannibal’s in the middle of its run on NBC, and despite decent reviews, recent ratings haven’t been hugely encouraging. Fuller is one of those showrunners whose shows – Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies – are well reviewed and pick-up devoted cult followings, but tend to get cancelled quickly.

Fuller has made changes which invest new life into familiar characters. Graham’s boss JackCrawford is there, as played by Laurence Fishburne, but irritating journalist Freddie Lounds is now a woman.

I shall be watching Sky Living tomorrow – that’s Tuesday at 10pm.

images-1There’s another intriguing premise in Thursday night’s Murder On The Home Front, on ITV.

Yes, we’re in the Second World War again, right in the heart of the Blitz, but the concept behind this crime drama is to discover some of the secrets of the early days of forensic investigation.

Here’s some blurb that may enlighten you further:

‘When young women are found murdered DI Freddy Wilkins believes the obvious suspect is the vulnerable loner, Wilfred Ziegler as a result of the swastikas carved on the victims’ tongues. Dr Lennox Collins the passionate and brilliant Home Office Pathologist and Molly Cooper, his vivacious young secretary have their doubts and employ ground breaking forensic techniques to ensure the right man is brought to justice. However, Lennox soon learns that not only is he fighting a battle to modernise the way in which crimes are solved, but he’s also clashing with a government who will go to any lengths to ensure the country’s morale is sustained – even cover up a murder.’

Based on the memoirs of Molly Lefebure, secretary to the Home Office Pathologist Keith Simpson, Murder On The Home Front concludes next week. But if it’s a success, I’d imagine we’ll get more of the same.

Unknown-9Life Of Crime, which starts a three episode run on ITV on Friday night, follows three decades in the career of a policewoman in the Metropolitan Police. The aim is to show how the choices she makes as a rookie officer have explosive repercussions on her professional and personal life.

We first meet WPC Denise Woods in 1985, against the backdrop of the Brixton riots, then in 1997 in the second episode, and then in 2013 when she’s a senior office. Woods is played by Hayley Attwell, who also appeared in the movie version of The Sweeney and William Boyd’s spy romp, Reckless.

Life Of Crime is written by Declan Croghan, who penned some of the better episodes of Waking The Dead, and also Ripper Street. You can watch it on Friday night at 9pm – The Gentle Touch slot!

images-2Cranking out the crime dramas like there’s no tomorrow, ITV has a sequel to The Suspicions of Mr Whicher on Sunday night.

The Murder In Angel Lane follows  19th Century former Met Detective Jack Whicher as he launches on his career as a ‘private inquiry agent.’

Paddy Considine sports an impressive pair of sideburns as Whicher, who’s employed by Olivia Colman – dusting off her trademark bleak expression from Broadchurch.

This blurb will explain the plot better than I can:

When Whicher saves a respectable country lady from a violent robbery in a dangerous quarter of London, he learns that this woman, Susan Spencer is desperately hunting for her vulnerable young niece, Mary. Mary has come up to London in search of a young man, Stephen Gann who has made her pregnant.

Susan commissions Jack Whicher as a “private inquiry agent” to find her niece and the young man and Whicher is drawn irresistibly into a disturbing and puzzling murder case, which brings him up against wealthy and powerful figures and throws him into conflict with his former colleagues in the Metropolitan police.  The investigation leads to a private lunatic asylum where Whicher himself must confront the darkness of his own demons.

I do believe that ITV is smoothing its skirts and batting its eyelids at the possibility of another Whicher drama in the future. The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher is on ITV, Sunday night at 8pm.