It's so Stephen King, you expect a killer clown to pop out of a drain: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews Dublin Murders
What Britain Buys And Sells In A Day
The archetypal opening for a crime serial can be summed up in ten words: ‘The body of a teenage girl is found in woods.’
There are many other ways to begin a noirish detective thriller but none so certain — especially when the scene is set by video from a drone high above densely packed fir trees.
Dublin Murders (BBC1) sticks to the formula and adds gothic touches. The hero, Killian Scott as detective Rob Reilly, dreams of wolves, wakes at night with agonising cramps and suffers flashbacks to soft-focus summer days spent riding his bike with friends.
It’s so Stephen King, you almost expect a clown to emerge from the nearest drain with a knife.
Dublin Murders: Cassie Maddox played by Sarah Greene and detective Rob Reilly played by Killian Scott
One hour in, the show’s biggest strength is the intriguing relationship between Reilly and his murder squad partner, Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene). They are tender but never physical, not lovers but evidently old friends who trust each other implicitly. It’s almost as if they are brother and sister.
They share sandwiches and ciggies at the sea’s edge to celebrate solving another case, thanks to their telepathic understanding in the interview room.
At one moment, Maddox counts down in her head to the moment Reilly’s gentle questions will make the suspect break and confess. Reilly’s real identity, and his connection to the murder in the woods, may become clearer in the second episode tonight.
Disruption of the night
The drama is based on two novels by American-Irish writer Tara French, In The Woods and The Likeness, adapted by Sarah Phelps — the screenwriter behind several top-notch Christmas Agatha Christies, including And Then There Were None.
Phelps has a literary turn of phrase, to which Reilly gives full rein in his philosophical musings about death. It’s strange, then, that the series has been saddled with such a mundane title.
Dublin Murders is accurate but so unimaginative, it might as well be called the Ronseal Police Investigation Show, because it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Where’s the poetry, where’s the mystery? It’s as though Silence Of The Lambs was released as The Very Hungry Cannibal.
The story is set in 2006, when department chiefs could still get away, just about, with boorish comments about a female colleague’s breasts and pass it off as humour. It’s surprising how dated the attitudes of the Noughties already look.
Ed Balls’s dockside economic predictions are going to look very dated next month, if Britain does leave the EU and the sky doesn’t fall in. The final part of What Britain Buys And Sells In A Day (BBC2) was packed with shots of the former Shadow Chancellor looking gloomy as he contemplated the disruption to our imports and exports.
Co-presenter Cherry Healey on a crab fishing boat in BBC2's What Britain Buys and Sells
Dear oh dear, his expression said in every shot. Woe is me. Lackaday, and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Eeyore Ed couldn’t dampen the spirits of co-presenter Cherry Healey, who visited the Norton motorcycle works in Leicestershire to discover how a British buy-out rescued the brand 11 years ago and now exports these classic bikes all over the world.
That’s the spirit. Ade Adepitan was having fun, too, riding in Ferraris and top-of-the-range Teslas as he learned how batteries are replacing petrol tanks.
Meanwhile, Ed was learning to steer a supertanker, using a model the size of a canoe on a duckpond. Oh no, he reversed it into the quayside. What a calamity. And then he scraped it down the other side. Everything was going to be ruined.
Ed hung his head. It was all a disaster, just like he said it would be. Dear oh dear.