Where things differ most from the previous two runs is in the lack of separate stories unconnected to the main series arc. It’s not that series three has been weighed down by the main story as such but it has given things a slightly different feel. It’s likely to be the result of a lack of time due to being only six episodes long this time round and it’s taken until the finale for one to happen. Christine is attacked by a man called Dean under the mistaken impression that she’d been posting on a rape fantasy forum. Normally this would have been spread out over the course of forty minutes but this is done in the blink of an eye.
However it does give Viv the chance for Terry to take over the case as a distraction and it’s more than worth it for his little incident in the bathroom with a strategically placed hand towel and Deering’s stupendous line “who in God’s name cracks a rape case and goes for a wank?!” Only in this show could it happen. Never one to tone down on the one liners she later declares to Merchant “I bet it was a full eight hour day that popped his nuts”.
The tone drastically changes as “Operation Dead Beckett” gets underway and it showcases how expertly No Offence manages tonal shifts. The ridiculous making way for the sublime as the tension ratchets up many notches. The plan is to trap Caroline by pretending that Beckett is still alive with Spike donning a great big bushy beard that the residents of Sandford would be proud of. It works. They get their girl and if we ever doubted Joy’s killer was dead we’re sure as hell convinced now as Caroline fires bullets into his corpse. Talk about disrespecting the dead.
McCoy was one step ahead for a short while having used her dubious powers to get Faye Caddy released. This sets in motion a chain of events where Tegan is entrapped by a wonderfully sinister old lady called Ruby. Proof you should never trust overly friendly people. Faye and her Albion gang lie in wait and as Tegan is subjected to verbal and physical abuse the race is on to rescue her. In truth it was Miller’s actions way back that really set things in motion. It’s an action packed finish and it’s great to see Saira Choudhry given a chance to be the centre of attention. She excels through the fear, anger and then the upset that follows.
Despite early hints that the team would move quickly beyond Joy’s death they constantly referenced her throughout the series but never in mawkish way. Indeed, she was an invisible presence and ultimate motive in their quest for justice. The closing scene shows No Offence’s most emotionally direct moment yet. As Viv quotes “drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead” they offer a tribute to their lost friend. It’s a surprisingly happy ending all things considered. Nobody imploded, nobody got shredded by a helicopter blade and the deftness of touch this time round offers a new twist in a show that is willing to evolve and astound.
– Let’s pray Terry a speedy recovery and hope he’s happy watching porn from his hospital bed.
– Dina and Spike need to get it together because the inevitable fall out will be entertaining.
– Caroline threatens to “Beryl Cook” Viv. Unfortunately Friday Street have just “Jeffrey Archered” her.
– The focus throughout on political corruption, racism and the merging of the two was well balanced throughout. Put through that Paul Abbott blender of course.
– Viv and Marylin’s friendship was one of the great successes in this third run. Here’s hoping for more in series four. In fact, here’s hoping there’s a series four. Please Channel Four, you know it makes sense.