More Cops 'n' Robbers
The Saturday night slot on BBC4 once filled by the Danish noir The Killing has in recent weeks been given over to another foreign language cop show - this time the French Spiral. In its stark exploration of the French judicial system, and its cops who'll do anything to get a confession, it's certainly as dark as The Killing. It was less immediately compelling than the Danish show, but more consistent in its footing (it didn't leave a slew of loose endings or mar the conclusion). The acting was impeccable, especially Catherine Proust as unwashed obsessive Inspector Berthaud and Thierry Godard as the incorruptible prosecutor Roban. There was very little in the way of happy endings, but this was powerful and compelling drama that, once again, made me wish British TV could offer something similar.
The opening episode of the much-touted The Shadow Line, starring Chiwitel Ejiofor and Christopher Eccleston, did not immediately camp out in the same territory. The cast is top-notch, but the brooding and portentous tone of the first hour, underpinned by stilted dialogue and almost palpable desire for noir cool, was not a sure-footed debut. It was like Luther, but without the overacting which, perversely, saved the Idris Elba vehicle. I'll stick with it, but with expectations suitably muted.