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Friday, 15 September 2017

Safe House: All the brood, none of the substance

The title sequence is all Line of Duty but by the time the credits roll there’s a sense not enough lines have been written or duty carried out. Safe House broods with a whimper and even though the story is becoming more intricate it can’t elevate itself higher than a hour of slightly watchable, throwaway television. The police interrogations are lifted straight from The Bill and the plot devices smash together uncomfortably.


The rugged coast of North Wales is no match for Ashley Walter’s coarse performance as John Channing. Here he is in standard growling mode still looking unfazed by the whole scenario. We must remember his girlfriend has been kidnapped because there’s no hint of it with this screen persona. John is also bribing a man named MacBride to get The Crow beaten up in prison for information and then there is the small matter that he’s having a fling with said girlfriend’s daughter Dani (Sacha Parkinson). Yes, that really happened and it was the only double take moment all night. Parkinson is one of the few standouts so far, along with Zoe Tapper’s forlorn wife Sam. It’s just a shame Tapper is playing second fiddle to Moyer’s constant grimace.

We are introduced to Dervla Kirwan’s Elizabeth, police head honcho and one of the main players in Tom leaving the force over the Crow case. While he claims his departure was due to “politics” there is now a hint that Brook and … may have been reading each other’s rights while naked. Is this where the young bushy eyebrowed Craig and his inappropriate maneuvers come into play? Will Sam be tempted by his desperation to spite her fella?

More promising is the creepiness of Simon’s son Liam. His mum was killed by The Crow so it would seem odd to be recreating the tent-like structure used by the person who took his one of his parents away. An increasing temper point to him being a potential copycat killer or worse , the original killer in the first place. The theory has red herring written all over it.

We see the outline of the man holding Julie captive but that doesn’t mean that it’s the same person that kidnapped her in the first place. As she wriggles herself free from the chair a saviour arrives in the form of MacBride but it’s a only a sniff of freedom as the man shaped outline now has a gun to its shadow and with a shot it looks like the hero is now a zero (I.e. dead). While the show is never as gripping as it thinks it is, the real suspense to Safe House lies in finding out if John Channing will ever express any form of emotion. If he does then that will be the biggest twist of them all.

Contributed by Michael Lee

Safe House Continues Thursday at 9.00pm on ITV 

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