What to expect from ITV’s ‘Trigger Point’

by | Jan 19, 2022 | All, Reviews

It’s another long hot summer day. You and your neighbours from the inner city estate have been evacuated by a massive police operation into the stifling heat of the day. They say there’s a bomb in the building. You and your neighbours know from bitter experience that the police can’t be trusted. The mood is tense, and could easily tip over into aggression. Older residents watch nervously from their widows. The wilder teenagers might be tempted to throw missiles at the police cordon. Two people in black military-style body armour and helmets are escorted by a battalion of armed police into the flats. And what’s that being set up in the car park? A robot? Could this day get much stranger?

This tense heatwave atmosphere is the setting for the new six-part ITV drama Trigger Point written by Daniel Brierley and produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television. As a proud mentor for a new TV thriller writer, I can’t think of anyone more desirable than Jed. At a promotion event last month Daniel said he was fascinated by the unique psyche of people who run towards rather than away from danger, and how they orient their everyday lives with their incredibly dangerous high-pressure job. From extreme boredom to intense action – how do you survive in the normal world with that sort of adrenaline coursing through your veins? Calm is essential if you’re working every day in the eye of the storm.

Vicky McClure and co-star in ‘Trigger Point‘ Sunday at 9.00pm on ITV.

The bomb disposal experts, or Expos, are Lana Washington (Vicky McClure) putting a little bit of distance between her and Kate in Line of Duty) and Joel Nutkins (the wonderful Adrian Lester, currently busy on Broadway), comrades who served together in the army in Afghanistan, and who are now employed by London Metropolitan Police. They are so close they have matching tattoos, so close they can anticipate each other’s every move, almost. This central relationship is so warm and natural you’d think Adrian and Vicky had themselves been working together for years. Adrian says they worked particularly hard at developing their on-screen relationships so it looked like a long-term friendship, despite them never having worked together before. You can really tell they enjoyed being around each other. Despite Nut’s heroic commitment to his extraordinary job, I think we can all relate to him when he says “My back’s gone, wife’s gone, kids aren’t talking to me anymore, but other than that I’m fine”. Expos are real people too.

The introduction to the series is a dynamic, claustrophobic bottle episode as our expectations are inverted roughly every 10 minutes and the extent of this terror plot begins to be unravelled. The writing is well focussed, and there’s nothing over-complicated yet, in the way that some thrillers like to baffle us with long speeches full of technical detail.

Trigger Point feels high-concept but I appreciated that it took place in such an ordinary domestic setting. There’s genuine authenticity with the real residents of the estate performing as supporting actors and the production being embedded in that one location for 3 weeks. Yes, there has to be expensive-looking action-movie explosions, but a thriller is only really exciting if it feels like it takes place in the real world.

This first episode is also a masterclass in Vicky’s trademark blend of courage and vulnerability, keeping her emotions in check as the sweat trickles down her face and the panic rises. Vicky says as an actor she’s always been drawn to the parts in a script written for men. There are lovely moments of humour and camaraderie in their downtime. Who knew that 2022 would be the year that Vicky McClure made nodding dogs cool again?

Trigger Point’s charm is in its simplicity. It’s tense without trying too hard. There are sequences where both of our Expos find themselves in tense situations. Both Vicky McClure and Adrian Lester expertly tread the line of absolute terror and workplace banter often at the same time. Daniel Brierley’s opening script doesn’t allow a lot of time for the audience or indeed its two lead characters to relax before the tension bubbles up again.

In a nervous exchange at the end of this episode, the police realise the devices the Expos have uncovered have all the hallmarks of an organised terror cell and Trigger Point has just five episodes to avert disaster. The heat is rising and the clock is ticking.

Trigger Point Starts Sunday 23rd January at 9.00pm on ITV.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy

19/01/2022

Birmingham-based square-eyed TV obsessive. Loves oddball British comedy, bleak Scandi murders, and fiendish quiz shows in equal measure. Too old to watch telly on my phone. Natural habitat: on the sofa. Always on the lookout for the next great subtitled mega-hit.

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