TV Review: Line of Duty Series 4

“Watch what I do, not what I say”

So Series 4 of Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty winds up to its insanely tense climax and once again it satisfies the requirements of event TV – giving some answers but withholding others, in the full anticipation of further seasons in which to explore the overarching stories that still remain. This did also mean that it didn’t quite push all of my buttons the way I would have liked for it to be as spectacular as the end to Series 3.

With the Caddy arc being resolved so thoroughly then, I very much enjoyed the fresh slate of AC12’s investigation of an entirely new case here (review of Episode 1 here). And Thandie Newton’s superbly slippery DCI Roz Huntley was an excellent antagonist, the potential framing of a suspect being only the beginning of the twistiest of tales that threatened to swallow up any and everyone around her, good or bad, corrupt or misogynist. Continue reading “TV Review: Line of Duty Series 4”

TV Review: Line of Duty Series 4 Episode 1

“Don’t make out I’m in the wrong”

After three superlative, and interlinked, series, one might have forgiven Jed Mercurio for leaving Line of Duty as it was. But the show has been a victim of its own slow-burning success and so a fourth series has arrived, with a plum Sunday evening slot in the schedule to boot and the good folk of AC-12 are once again with us. And having most cleverly toyed with its structure of featuring a high profile lead guest star in the previous series, the arrival of Thandie Newton as this year’s bent cop (or is she…) left us pondering how the hell are they going to top Series 3’s opening instalment.

 Well, like this is how! The beauty of Line of Duty has been how it has increasingly embraced its batshit mental moments with the intense realism that comes from its peerless interrogation scenes. It is both silly and serious and it pulls it off with real élan – so much so that you don’t care how ridiculous it is that Vicky McClure’s Kate can still slide in to work undercover in police stations that are down the road from her own or that forensics guys apparently aren’t so hot at telling whether people are dead or not.  Continue reading “TV Review: Line of Duty Series 4 Episode 1”

Not-a-review: Four Weddings in a Funeral reading, Hampstead

“Fuck-a-doodle-doo”
 
It is slightly terrifying to think that it is 23 years since Four Weddings and a Funeral was released – the world will insist on reminding me I’m getting older… And though I don’t think I’ve actually seen it in about 20 years, the prospect of a reading of the film as part of the Hampstead Theatre Festival had quite the allure. Mainly because of John Heffernan and Jemima Rooper in the cast if we’re being honest, and they were worth it, but I’m low on time so I’m leaving it at that.

 

 

Review: Death and the Maiden, Harold Pinter

“People have died from an excessive dose of the truth”

Ariel Dorfman’s play 1990 Death and the Maiden is set in an unspecified country in which a military dictatorship has just fallen: as a Chilean citizen, it is not hard to see where the inspiration might have come from. This tale is of a former political prisoner who unexpectedly encounters a man, who happens to have given her husband a lift home, who she comes to believe was one of the hooded men who tortured her in her captivity. She then turns the table, taking him captive and puts him on (mock) trial to elicit the confession she needs in order to move on with her life though her husband, a lawyer who is part of the Commission dealing with the legacy of the repressive regime, has his doubts.

Jeremy Herrin’s production is notable for marking the first stage role for Thandie Newton, an actress best know for her film work (and also for making ER unwatchable for a couple of series, poor Dr Carter…) One could sugar-coat the comments and talk about the fact that it is her theatrical debut and so perhaps a little leniency is in order, but we’re past press night and as a paying customer I have to say I was disappointed. Newton doesn’t seem to have the language to fully portray the profundity of her character here: not physically, as in the unconvincing opening scene where she just doesn’t come across as haunted enough nor emotionally, she just exudes too much composure even whilst ostensibly unravelling and so never convinces at showing the depth of the psychological damage that drives Paulina to her extreme actions. Continue reading “Review: Death and the Maiden, Harold Pinter”