Messiah III: The Promise, BBC1

by | Aug 30, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say of you liked it

An original and gripping thriller that leaves much of the plot just beneath the surface, compelling the viewer to strain for the truth. It also boasts some of the most creative deaths seen in a detective drama.

What to say of you disliked itA gratuitously gory farce that was showered with gruesome deaths to disguise the wafer thin plot.

What was good about it?• The way the vile Pace Tierney was bumped off almost as soon as he reached hospital after his prison insurrection was quelled following his incineration of a prison officer.

• The inventiveness of the deaths was at a level not seen since the heyday of morbid US prison drama Oz. But we’re yet to see anyone buggered over the stove or crucified on the gymnasium floor.

• It is a brilliant thriller, well-written and paced and enforced by superb performances from the reliable Ken Stott and Frances Grey who gave their characters real psychological depth.

What was bad about it?• Some of it was over stylised such as when Tierney emerged from the smoky prison to confront Red Metcalfe.

• Too many false leads were very obviously laid down, from the prisoner who threatened to kill Tierney hours before his death, to the callous surgeon and, least likely of all, Red’s jealous, vengeful wife.

• Two of the prisoners were abducted just before surgery after being anaesthetised. When you are sedated before an op, you are surrounded by a team of nurses and an anaesthetist to ensure you don’t suffer an allergic reaction until you are transferred to the theatre.

• We guessed the killer too easily – it’s Dr Philip Ryder. He developed an affinity with Kate after she claimed no one would miss her. He killed Tierney and his sidekick because they were about to kill Kate before help arrived; he knocked off another convict after he said Kate should die instead of him; the prison governor when he heard Kate say it was his fault the riot occurred; and the psychologist after she recommended Kate be removed from duty. Plus you need to know how to work complex equipment to kill someone with an MRI scan and get through the innumerable security checks in hospitals. Expect Mr Henderson the surgeon to meet his maker after he called Kate incompetent, and Red to become a target, too.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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