Wire in the Blood, ITV1

by | Sep 20, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

Yes this is a great fast-paced sufficiently spooky mystery series that put some of ITV’s other programs in the genre (Midsomer Murders, we’re looking at you) to shame

What was good about it?

• Robson Green has always pulled off the manic physcharist Tony Hill with believable madness.

• Simone Lahbib as Tony’s new sidekick Alex Fielding breathes new life into the series. She’s got more about her than the sometimes boring and dull Carol Jordan. Hermione Norris can now be seen in Spooks though so everyone should be happy.

• Joanne’s creepy boss who resembled Gene Wilder in his Willy Wonka days. We were quite upset he hadn’t been holding the girls as he was far creepier than the actual killer and was born to play a villain.

• Though predictable, Alex’s initial resistance to Tony was fun to watch. “You damaged Carol Jordan, do you want to damage me to?”

• The storyline felt real, plausible and, in this age of technology taking over, worryingly valid.

• The Vvctims appearing in scenes with Tony and Alex was a deft spooky touch.

• The police IT expert who resembled Louis Theroux.

• The tense scene in the office when Joanne’s friend tried to spy on her boss.

What was bad about it?

• The poorly executed exit of Carol. “She was offered a place in South Africa. How could she turn it down?,” we (and the lovelorn Tony) were told.

• The unrealistic sets such the blindingly white room in the opening scene and the clinical police station.

• Tony’s odd flat. He might consider getting Sarah Beeny in from Property Ladder have it made more homely.

• The mystery surrounding Alex‘s back story. Its no shock to discover this high flying DI has a son. We guessed it immediately.

Wire In The Blood

What to say of you liked it

Deadly serious detective drama in which Robson Green dons the imaginary deerstalker of Sherlock Holmes to solve impenetrable crimes through the power of intellect and insight alone.

What to say of you didn’t like it

A vanity project for Robson Green in which his character Dr Tony Hill sets about how proving how much clever than everybody else he is through his pseudo-psychological solving of brutal murders.

What was good about it?

• The way in which the camera lingeringly skirts adoringly around Robson Green’s deep inky eyes like inquisitive vulcanologists around a babbling crater, or when his peepers are bathed in a luxuriant bright, white light to accentuate their sombre humanity. But the camera is not so admiring of Green’s co-stars, often peeling away from their eyes after mere moments and then onto their mouths before panning away in disgust.

• While flawed, the scenes in which Tony assumes the mindset of the victims is very striking and distinctive.

• The way in which Dr Tony Hill lucidly expounds his psychological theories, rather than keeping them mute in his mind, greatly helps the plot move fluently forwards.

• The appositely morbid atmosphere of incessant rain, the cracked despondency on the faces of the victims’ parents, nobody smiling, and the gruesome murders which this week included the skeletal remains of three little boys on hospital beds where they’d lain for years.

• The clever script that sought to usher our suspicions away from the killer by having the seemingly omniscient Dr Hill refer to them as “he”.

• Even though we knew the killer, the denouement was well-executed and exciting.

What was bad about it?

• The young detective called in to lead the investigation into the ritualistic murders of the three boys, in the absence of the hospital bound DCI Jordan, looked like he should be presenting Top of the Pops rather than heading a murder team.

• Aside from Tony, the rest of the police team are a horde of blundering ciphers, always eager to charge into obvious investigative cul-de-sacs or simply ask the stupid questions a dim viewer may ask so Tony can prove them wrong. Of course, this will change once DCI Jordan rejoins the team, but her absence exaggerated the moronic nature of the rest of the squad.

• The clichéd Omen-esque choral music that piped up whenever Tony went within 100 metres of the church community centre.

• Tony Hill’s perspicacity is too eerily exact to have much credibility, illustrated in the fantasy sequences where he climbs inside the victims’ minds to relive their last moments in order to make the breakthrough.

• We guessed the killer almost straight away. We had intimations it was the cleaner at the community centre when she gave a “killer’s glance” (a look by an ostensibly peripheral character that is held for a split second too long to plant them in the viewer’s memory) as prime red herring the paedophiliac priest shut down his computer. And our suspicions were confirmed when she rang the police to report the priest to “protect” a vulnerable teenager after it had been intimated “protection” was part of the killer’s twisted logic for the murders. It meant we had to watch the last half-an-hour waiting for the detectives to catch up.

• The annoying manner in which the priest was lazily revealed to be a paedophile, and used the authority of his office to seduce one of the victims’ sisters.

• The use of the Silence of the Lambs’ trick whereby the police raid a property intercut with scenes from the killer’s den as though they are assailing that very hideout, only for it to transpire the police are in the wrong place.

• The huge aberration in the plot after the police realised the killer was luring young boys to their doom through coaxing them into running away by using an internet chat room. Surely as soon as they deduced this, they would warn the people at the community centre. Admittedly, this would have crippled the hunt for the killer, but there has to be some sense of realism.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

20/09/2006

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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