Right from the first scene of ITV’s new crime drama Prey I was hooked. Sadly I was hooked in months ago, and shouting about it on Twitter was my only outlet to get across how keen I was on the series in a hope that others would watch just so they can talk about it with me too.
Even before I was able to preview it I knew Prey was going to be right up my alley. John Simm is one this country’s best talents who I have admired since I was first drawn in by him in The Lakes in the 90s. Secondly Craig Parkinson, who is always good value and thirdly the fugitive-esque feel that sees Simm’s character go on the run. It had everything going for it and it didn’t disappoint.
We first meet Farrow dazed and confused to discover he’s in a police van which has turned upside down. This shocking opening scene does its job, drawing the audience into Farrow’s predicament and plotting that seed of intrigue as to how this man as found himself in this desperate situation.
Part of you might feel as if you’ve seen this before. Policemen goes on the run following the shocking deaths of his wife and children, but in truth Prey feels very fresh. Farrow might be a man desperate to clear his name, but Prey doesn’t take the audience on the journey it might be expecting. This might be writer’s Chris Lunt’s first official commission for television, but the pacing and tone of this is spot on. Marcus Farrow (John Simm) is an everyman. He is a decent human being. He loves his family and his job and even when his life takes its stomach churning twist, Lunt’s writing, coupled with Simm’s stunning performance means that the audience remain firmly on his side.
Perhaps the biggest revelation here is Rosie Cavaliero as Susan Reinhart. Reinhart is the thorn in Farrow’s side, hot on his heels. Cavaliero is primarily known for her roles in comedies, most recently starring alongside Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith in Inside No.9 and Julia Davies comedy Hunderby. Reinhart is a policewoman determined to prove her worth, and as much you’re willing Farrow to succeed, you also want to see Reinhart succeed.
What keeps Prey so engrossing is its pacing. The series is called Prey because Farrow is literally hunted down by the police who are determined to find Farrow and make him pay for the crime. Comparisons to Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty could be made but Prey stands brilliantly on its own, with its own style and feel. In an interview with thecustardtv.com Lunt revealed that he always knew what the final scene would be. I honestly can’t wait to see where it goes, and if this action packed opener is anything to go by, we’re all in for a treat.
Prey Continues Monday’s at 9.00pm on ITV.