Crime thriller

Top of the Lake (2013) [TV Series Review]

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Rating: 2/5

Number of episodes: 6

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Mounting expectation and then huge disappointment! That’s how Top of the Lake was. Recently, Season 2 of this series, which I am yet to watch, was aired and has gathered very great reviews. I, being someone who goes by the order, decided to watch Season 1 first before moving to Season 2. Now I am not sure if I will watch Season 2.

Top of the Lake has been a show on my watchlist for very long. I never got around watching it until now. It’s one of those shows which is painted in gloominess, both in setting and emotions. There has been a lot of shows which are based on child abuse. This show is one among them. I wouldn’t say the writers were insensitive or did injustice to the theme, but somewhere I felt, they completely lost track of the story.

In a small town in New Zealand, Tui Mitcham, a 12 year old girl, tries to kill herself by drowning but is rescued. On medical examination, it is discovered that she is pregnant. Detective Robin Griffin, a specialist in cases involving children, is called for help. She along with Detective Sergeant Al Parker tries to get to the bottom of the case. Matt Mitcham, Tui’s father, the head henchman of the town, tries to deal with the case on his own. He has several ugly disputes with GJ, a spiritual woman leader leading a group of troubled woman, over a land they occupy. When Robin questions Tui if she would tell who is behind the pregnancy, Tui refuses to answer directly. Matters get worse, when Tui disappears- runs away. Robin now has to find the abuser as well as find Tui before something happens to her.

This is a very disturbing plot, no doubt. The screenplay is very slow, and hence the story moves at a snail’s pace. I don’t really mind slow stories, but when the story moves away from the plot, focusing on other characters which don’t really make a difference to the story? That’s when the attention begins to waver. Robin Griffin is the lead of the show. For the first two episodes, she was effective- good with her intuition, head straight with her fellow male officers and all. She has a troubled past (no surprise there!), something similar to Tui and that’s where the narration shifts. The story tries to connect Robin and Tui’s story. Robin subsequently comes across as whining and complaining, self piteous, and her on and off relationship with Tom (Tui’s step brother) gets very irritating and takes the story away.

Looking from a different perspective, my view of the show, my complain that it strayed away from the plot is just because I read the plot online beforehand. Hence, I had a set expectation which might have driven me to the disappointing conclusion about the show. Even with a beautiful scenic setting, a dark hovering theme and a good performance from the cast, the final Sidney Sheldon type of ending overshadows all the good things for me. Al’s attraction towards Robin was sudden and on the face. Matt Mitcham’s outbursts were either overdone or overacted. I never understood the purpose of GJ and her troops. May be just to bring some weirdness? I feel quiet doubtful why I didn’t like the show much while the same show had garnered so many positive reviews, nominations and awards? Could it be because of binge watching it? Guess, that’s an entirely different story.

On the whole, Top of the Lake isn’t a very bad show. It’s creepy, weird and gloomy. It did get my attention for the first few episodes. Probably the in-between ones- Episode 4 and 5 weren’t that great and engaging and hence the loss of interest. You can watch this show for its magnificent setting and at times very exciting scenes, but yes, there are much better shows to spend your time on!

 

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Designated Survivor [2016-]

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Rating: 4.5/5

A lot of interest has been generated around political thrillers after the immense success of House of Cards. It’s not like political thrillers are new to the television arena. There have been several shows like West Wing and Spooks which have dealt with diverse political conditions, national crisis and security issues with equal amount of fact and dramatized fiction. House of Cards just rekindled that interest, gave it a little nudge. I haven’t watched House of Cards but I do intent to watch it. I am just weary of how much I need to catch up. That would require binge watching at the highest level. When I searched for similar shows in this genre, the first popular result and the show which I am about to review was – Designated Survivor.

Who is a Designated Survivor? According to the show, a Designated Survivor is someone who is in line to become the President of the United States of America in case of the demise of the sitting President and all his cabinet ministers. Now that situation seems highly unlikely, isn’t? Yet, when the Capitol building is tragically bombed killing the President and the cabinet ministers, Tom Kirkman- the Designated Survivor, becomes the next President. Now Kirkman, or for that matter anyone in his position, could have never anticipated such a turnaround. He is a very simple and modest man, a Professor in Architecture, the Secretary of Housing and Development- and who was just fired from his position the very same morning. Immediately taking oath after the bombing, Kirkman faces the mountain task of bringing some stability to the currently nonexistent government. With absolutely no political experience, Kirkman struggles to keep his mind focused and put a strong demeanor forward. He receives advice from several fronts but isn’t certain whom to trust and whom not to. Media makes things worse as they correctly doubt the capability of Kirkman as President. How does Kirkman make a stance for himself and how he restores the country back to normalcy while he faces problems from different fronts- cyber crime, terrorism, foreign relations and mainly the investigation into the Capitol bombing is the plot of the show.

The Capitol Bombing investigation storyline runs throughout the season with other problems being mostly episodic. I think that was a very clever move. Agent Hannah Wells is assigned with the investigative task and she uncovers several disconnected pieces which she tries to piece it into one. 90% of the time, this storyline captured my attention. The rest- it was too forced. The number of times Wells gets abducted or gets injured/into trouble is numerous. And her working alone most of the time just got a little irritating. The entire track of Vice President Mackliesh was nicely written. Just at the time when I felt it was being dragged, the track was brought to an end which was smart.

Another part which I loved about the show was bringing Ex-President Cornelius Moss into the picture. Not only did Moss bring with him a vast load of experience, he understood the humongous task Kirkman was facing and offered valuable advice at the right time. He didn’t overstep the line. Rightly, Kirkman appointed him as the Secretary of State and all the scenes involving both of them beautifully showed how much thinking goes behind every decision and how many factors have to be considered to avoid repercussions.

The support staff- Emily, Aaron and Seth- depicted how much of the ground work is carried out by them, making things easy for the President. Without them, the President would just be disabled. It’s good they didn’t drag the Emily-Aaron relationship. I loved the scenes between Seth and Moss. They were a huge comic relief.

The role of media and their power was strongly represented in the show. The government has to decide when and how much the public needs to know. But many a times, the media gets a step forward, due to leaks within the office, and gets secure details into the open, forcing the government to either clarify or deny those information.

Running a government isn’t easy and the President is as much a human being as everyone else. This show beautifully portrays that. There were various instances when Kirkman just couldn’t stop himself being emotional especially when he had to his soldiers into war or when Wells got abducted. He felt responsible for those lives. Also- the changes his position brings into his family- his wife and two children and the adaptations they have to make- just only shows the amount of sacrifices one has to make for the country- not just the President but everyone working along, and not just the President of the USA but every other country.

Coming back to the various tracks- I really wish they had completely ended the Capitol Bombing investigation in the finale, especially when they had identified the traitor in the White House (That track was very good). Taking the same track into the next season too would just only drag the storyline and restrict for further creative tracks.

The writing was tight for the most part. Little drags here and there- but it really held my attention most of the time. The entire atmosphere of the White House was set effectively. The actors did their parts really well- but none of them completely stood out. Kiefer Sutherland was very good as Kirkman- but the majesty and charisma for the stature of a President was missing. May be that’s because he is still on the learning curve and would gain more confidence in due course.

Designated Survivor is an excellent watch especially for those who love political thrillers and conspiracy theories. It’s just one season down and hence very easy to catch up too.

 

And Then There Were None [BBC Series]

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Review: 3.5/5

Number of episodes: 3

For any Agatha Christie fan, her work And Then There Were None would hold a very special place. In this review, I am going to stick to the series rather than babble my never ending amusement on the brains behind this story. This novel is creepy (It’s specialty!) and keeps you guessing right till the end. I felt chills while reading the book and I geared myself to view one of my favorite thrillers on screen. Did it live up to the book? Let’s find out.

First the premise. And Then There Were None is about ten unrelated people, invited by a Mr and Mrs Owen to their bungalow at a deserted island called Soldier Island. These ten people are from various fields and professions. We have a police in Blor, a doctor in Dr. Armstrong, a judge- Judge Wargrave, a teacher Miss Claythorne, a party boy Marston, a social activist Miss Brent, an army veteran General McArthur, playboy Lombard and the keepers of the house Mr and Mrs Rogers.  There is one curious question in everyone’s mind- Where is Mr and Mrs Owen, their employers/owners? As time progresses, one by one, people begin to die, or say murdered in gruesome ways. But by whom? Mr and Mrs Owen, who are probably hiding? Or is it one of the ten? Each one of them has committed a crime in their life which they are guilty off, which keeps haunting them. Who could possibly know about their past? Their crimes are their only connection. One of the highlights of this story is the old poem- Ten Little Soldiers went out to dine- which is framed and hung in almost everyone’s room and after every death (which happens according to the poem), one of the ten showpieces on the dining table goes missing! Phew!! Add to this, the frightening weather of lightning, rain and thunder. At the end, there is no one alive in the island. And Then There Were None. How?

The BBC adaptation of this marvelous story doesn’t score a perfect 5 but it’s not very bad either. The show captures the mood of the story accurately and the suspense and nervousness did grow on me while viewing, even though I knew the story. Most of the details were captured and used appropriately. The best part was, they didn’t try anything new but stuck to the original. I felt a little impatient at the beginning. A little more time than needed was taken to set the story. The flashbacks of every character was nicely done yet at some places the timing didn’t really work. Like, Blor having his flashback at the very end stuttered the pace. Also- I wish the ending could have been more powerful, a little more into how exactly the murders happened would have been nice. We have the confrontation but much is left for us to be understood. How did the killer make it happen? Wish it had been visually explained too. Too much time was given to Miss Claythorne’s backstory while we didn’t see much for the other important characters. The doubts and feuds between the characters could have been dealt with more clarity. There were lot of loose ends which I felt should have been tied up especially with how the killer timed every murder. I can’t reveal much here as that would give away the main plot. I know it’s not like the book is new or the show is- still I don’t like giving out spoilers (would make my post lengthy too LOL).

The actors were absolutely fantastic. General McArthur would always be my Alan Grant (Jurassic Park) and Judge Wargrave would be Tywin Lannister (GoT). Background music plays its role well. Costumes and the setting were apt.

Having read the book, I knew the ending. I think that kind of definitely influenced my watching?? May be I didn’t feel the needed suspense at certain points because I knew it was a bluff? Adapting a thriller, as a matter of fact, any book is difficult. It would definitely stand good for those who haven’t read the book. But for those who have read it- it becomes a mere comparison of how much effective the show stands to the book and if the show writers have done complete justice to the original author’s work. I would really appreciate this BBC adaptation for not trying too much with And Then There Were None. And Then…is more or less like a cult and is considered as one of Agatha Christie’s finest work if not the best. Even though, I am slightly disappointed with the impact of the ending- this series is still makes a great viewing.

Inspector George Gently – Gently Liberated

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Season 8 Episode 1

Rating: 5/5

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For those who have read my previous review of Inspector George Gently, you would be aware of how much I love this show. The magnificent 1960s setting, old school policing (No technology or high tech forensics) and highly dynamic and flawed characters made this show one of its kind. There are no heavy action sequences or car chases. The investigation is simple and mind kindling. I never really had the hope that the series would come back after Season 7 ended. But here it is, at last, for its final season.

If you want to watch an honest and self-righteous cop, George Gently is the one. He is a moral cop with a terrific understanding of the police system and how the society and its people change according to the times. A war veteran and in the brink of retirement, Gently is about to complete his circle. Having lost his wife, and having no one else to consider as family, he in a way decided to mentor his Sergeant, John Bachchus into a better cop and a person. But the difference of perception and the unavoidable generation gap between Gently and Bachchus was and is the core of the show. Their arguments are a treat especially when Gently wins it. Just having both of them back on screen is such a pleasure. Apart from these two central characters, the specialty of the show is its focus on a lot of the social issues that prevailed in those times. The first episode of this season focused on violence against women.

The episode, set in 1970 now, rightly begins with the uncertainty over Gently’s career. It is time for him to hang his boots- a thought running in his mind too. Looking at Gently in this episode, I could see him ready to end his professional journey. He still wants to fight for justice and serve his city and country, but there is fatigue etched in him. I couldn’t stop wondering what happened to Gently suffering from MS track last season? He is cured now is it? Anyway- John is John and it is so good to see Rachel still present in the team. The case. A body is found in a hazardous dump and is identified as Alister Liddle who was killed by his wife in 1962, whose body was never found. The wife, Eve Liddle was convicted for the murder and was imprisoned.  John was part of the case in 1962 and Gently immediately senses nervousness in John. We know how John was when the show began- ready to tamper evidence to close the cases, forcing false statements from witnesses- anything for victory. After reading the reports, it is inevitable that the case was conveniently closed after getting a confession, a forced confession off Eve and the evidences were never substantiated. Gently reopens the case and along with Rachel’s support finds the loopholes and digs up what actually happened. The downside- his relationship with John is tested. From here on, sensitive issues on domestic abuse, rape and abortion are involved and the writers treat it with high sensitivity.

Women weren’t trusted back then (and perhaps even now). If they encounter domestic abuse and violence of any sort, no one believed them. Hence, they never voiced it out. They were scared for their lives and their societal reputation. They didn’t want to harm their kids’ lives and endured all the pain silently. The character of Eve Liddle is written magnificently here. She portrays the sad state of the women back then so beautifully. The actor playing the role is fantastic. It’s sometimes difficult to understand why she and others like her put up with it, but it’s not that difficult to understand either, is it? Eve and her daughter uniting at the end was really emotional. I was also glad that they didn’t make it the clichéd story of Eve taking the blame of murder to save her daughter.

Two other storylines were super impressive in this episode. Rachel and Gently’s relationship. I have always admired Gently for believing women could be police too and bringing in Rachel and supporting her to become a detective. Rachel faces workplace harassment from a top officer which she handles with firmness yet with embarrassment and fear. It was wonderful to see Rachel standing up for Gently and declaring how he is a mentor and a father figure to her. Rachel is a very strong and evolving character. I have always loved her from the time she entered the show, probably in Season 6. I wish we could have seen more of her.

Gently and John! When these two are on the screen, there are fireworks for sure. Gently always tried hard not to push the line when it comes to John’s personal life. He knows John lives away from his daughter. He could see that John is a mess- drinking and being imperfect in his work. When he questions John’s motives behind the case after finding out that it was John who forced Eve to confess, we see a huge argument breaking between them. It’s sad to see them fall out. John has worked under the pressure of Gently, to become someone like him. He just couldn’t. It’s never easy for Gently when words on his wife is brought up. John’s way of work is different. He fights for justice too but is impatient for results. He is ambitious with an unclear mind. Gently had seen potential in John and made him his reason to stay back in the police force after his wife’s death. John takes liberty to hit at Gently but understands Gently’s intentions at the end. But him being unaware that Gently is leaving the force, retiring, is the catch here. What would be his reaction? Waiting eagerly to watch that. How much ever John detest Gently now, Gently has been an integral part of his life for the last 6 years (Just 6 years?!).  They have grown close to each other without their knowledge. I love their bonding and friendship- one of the strong points of the show- the strong point of the show.

I am sad that the show is ending, but I also feel it’s the right time. For one, the lead actor Martin Shaw has aged well beyond the normal police. He is in his 70s now and his age is visible onscreen, none his fault though. It doesn’t matter as I absolutely love his acting. Hence, I am waiting to see him in a different character now.

No idea when the last episode of the show is airing. This series will always be remembered for its amazing writing, brilliant acting and its marvelous locations. Huge thanks for the team behind this show for entertaining the viewers for nearly a decade.

Don’t miss it!

NCIS New Orleans (2014-) [Review]

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Rating: 3.5/5

Seasons: 3rd ongoing

NCIS is one of the most successful shows on TV running for 14 seasons now. The show investigates crimes involving the naval community based in Washington. Banking on the success of NCIS, the makers introduced a spin off, NCIS Los Angeles. A team solving crimes in the city of Los Angeles. When that worked well too, another spin off rose. NCIS New Orleans based in the city of New Orleans. I was confused between picking Los Angeles and New Orleans. Jethro Gibbs was the reason I watched NCIS and I wanted someone like him to lead the show. I read through both the shows and found New Orleans better and more close to its parent show. The ratings were relatively lower, but the setting seemed to be different from the usual. I decided to give it a try, one or two episodes. I am up to date with all the episodes now.

There are huge number of crime procedural shows on TV now. What makes a good show stand apart from the others is the investigating team. The characters are very crucial. Even a dull case would be bearable and watchable if the characters are engaging enough. That’s what makes NCIS NOLA click to the most extent. Dwayne Pride is the Head of NCIS NOLA. Experienced and wise, he leads a relatively small team. He loves and admires the city, his city and works hard to protect her. He owns a small bar and plays piano from time to time. He loves to cook and the office of NCIS NOLA has a kitchen. Actually, the entire office is based on an abandoned warehouse. Pride lives in a room upstairs in the office after his separation and subsequent divorce with his wife, Linda. He has a teenage daughter who follows his footsteps in the field of music. Pride is very level headed. He isn’t bossy. He isn’t forceful with his suspects. He is a very smooth contender. Colleagues and friends call him “King”. In most of the crime shows, including NCIS, the primary lead has a very tragic background. Pride saves us from that. Actually there is no tragic past and history for any of the characters which makes the episodes and cases more entertaining and not emotionally draining.

Apart from Pride, we have his colleagues- Christopher Lasalle. Meredith Brody and Percy Sonja as fellow investigators. Dr Wade is the Medical Examinar and Sebastian is the forensic expert. There is also Triple P, who is the technical expert, who uses the illegal ways to track suspects down. This is the compact team of NCIS NOLA. There is so much ease and fun among them. There is mutual respect for each other and no one shies away from sharing their problems with Pride, who is like their personal counsellor too. The cases are mostly interesting and straight forward. The city of New Orleans adds a lot of color and vibrance to the episodes. It’s really clever of the writers to merge the culture of New Orleans into the show giving a very different vibe while watching it. I, for one, have grown an interesting taste for Jazz music after watching this show. The forensics and pathology connections to the crimes are very intriguing. Each department chips in to solve the crime.

So? Where does the show falter? It falters at what I mentioned as its strength. It’s characters. Surprising? Confusing? I was confused myself when I thought about what was lacking in the show. The characters, as much as they are interesting and entertaining, lacks depth. The show is on its 3rd season now and the characters have had absolutely no growth, probably the reason why Brody left after season 2. They haven’t been tested or explored. A series gets better and better through its seasons when the characters move forward in their life; in other words, I expect as a viewer to get to know more and more about the characters as the series progresses. That is where NCIS NOLA fails in my point of view. The series is very consistent in its graph. But having said that there is no improvement too from the time the show started. The cases are well drafted but personal touches to the cases always bring in more thrill and tension. The team has no friction of any sort, no heated arguments or difference of opinion. The ride is too smooth. I really wish the characters are explored more and more tension is brought to the storyline. Example would be the recent episode, “End of the line”, we had Dr Wade’s past coming back where she had made a mistake in her judgement wrongfully convicting a guy who comes back after his release. Now that brings in a thrill. The case is solid, but the characters’ personal touch brings the viewers closer to the show.

The banter among the team members is good but nothing like the ones in NCIS when DiNozzo was present. The action sequences are nicely shot. The chasing and shooting add a lot of pace to the story. The series is beginning to get enclosed in a tight shell; the structure of the episodes have become very methodical with no room for innovation. It’s time the show breaks the shackles and brings out something new.

All the actors do complete justice to their roles. Scott Bakula (Pride) and Lucas Black (Lasalle) are the stars of the show. The change of accent, dressing and attitude gives us a different sort of cops from the usual ones. But again, I don’t think their acting skills have been tested at all. I am expecting to see more serious cases involving their characters for them to portray their acting skills.

The show, in spite of its not so great ratings, is a very good crime procedural. We don’t have suited men with dark sunglasses running around. The show keeps New Orleans in the front and portrays the cases and the city with as much authenticity as possible. Being a NCIS fan, I thoroughly love this spin off, more so now as NCIS has lost its magic. Go for this show to enjoy the dynamic and musical background of New Orleans intertwined with well written cases.

Unforgotten (2015 – ) [Season 2 Review]

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Rating: 4/5

Number of episodes : 6

I had watched the first season of this show when it aired in 2015. My memory isn’t very great to review that season now but I remember the story being very gripping. There was a huge hype around the show as well, especially for its very tight knitted plot. I forgot about the show and didn’t really follow it up to know if there was a second season. I was really surprised when I found the show on its second season and was about to end too. Without a do, I watched all the 6 episodes and wasn’t disappointed the least.

Unforgotten primarily focuses on a cold case, an unclosed case which surfaces after decades. DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunil (Sunny) Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) play the lead detectives with a handful of junior detectives assisting them. The entire procedure is by the book. There are no hi-fi or sci-fi techniques used. It’s all leg work and phone work. Cassie and Sunny aren’t the glamourous or macho kind of leads we usually see in today’s crime shows. They are normal people, who go to work and have a family back home. Both in their mid or late 40s I suppose, they have a great working equation. Cassie is senior to Sunny, but that doesn’t really matter when they solve these cases. This detective duo has high respect for each other. Both the actors do complete justice to their characters though I do feel they can bring in more to their characters.

Coming to this season’s story- A suitcase containing the remains of a body is pulled up from a river. With no DNA evidence left, Cassie and Sunny identify the body to be David Walker using the watch found with the body. David Walker, a man in his 40s, went missing in 1991. Cassie and Sunny reach out to David’s then wife Tessa who herself is a cop. They realize Tessa wasn’t being completely honest about her deceased husband. Further investigations using the old case files lead the team to three suspects- Sarah (A teacher), Colin (A lawyer) and Marion (A Nurse). David is connected to any one of these suspects or all the three in some way but how? All the three suspects have a secret past which is unraveled slowly. A case of abuse immerges with David been abused badly in his childhood. Did the abuser come back to kill David? Why was David Walker killed?

*Spoilers- Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the whole story*

The first two episodes are completely spent in establishing the lives of all the suspects, letting the viewers understand the characters so that they can form their own theories. Sarah, a muslim teacher is a mother of three. She and her husband share a very strong and lovely bond. But the investigations reveal her past when she worked as a prostitute in her early days, the time she came in contact with David. This truth, when shared with her husband, shatters their relationship for a while. Did David abuse Sarah to the extent that she killed him? Colin, a lawyer, is married to Simon, and the couple are at the verge of adopting a little girl. When this case comes up, Colin is highly troubled. Before being a lawyer, he was a banker and a rape case was slammed on him resulting in him leaving the bank. Also, Colin and David were seen at a party together, all those years back, concluding they knew each other. Did David have a hand on Colin’s rape case? Did Colin kill him for that? Marion, a nurse, had always had a troubled relationship with her mother, sister and husband. The family had never been able to figure out the reason. During the time of David’s death, the detectives find out that David was at Marion’s house. What happened between Marion and David? Did Marion kill David? Sarah and Colin have strong alibis for David’s murder. Marion has no motive. Cassie and Sunny are perplexed unable to find the connection. That’s when it strikes Cassie. From a witness, she gets to know that Sarah was at a party with David and was always badly abused. Immediately, she digs into the past of Marion and Colin and that’s when she finds out, Marion was abused by her own father and Colin by his sports coach, both abusers dead, both committed suicide. Each of the three suspects has a strong alibi for the murder they would be suspected of. Sarah for David, Marion for her father and Colin for the sports coach. And hence, they committed each other’s murders. Marion- David. Colin- Marion’s father. Sarah- Colin’s coach. Sarah, Marion and Colin met at a rehabilitation center where got to know each other, where they planned their revenge. Now, Cassie and Sunny have to decide what to do with the truth. Should they stand by justice to the victims? Who is the victim here?

*No Spoilers from here on*

We also get to see short tracks on Cassie’s father and Sunny’s struggle in managing his teenage daughters. A short friction of ideas pop up between Cassie and Sunny too, which is usually very rare. It is wonderfully dealt by both. Apart from Cassie and Sunny, their entire team does an incredible job. It’s a perfect team work.

I always love watching miniseries. It’s a complete package. You get a very good story with amazing characters, with equal measures of all emotions. The last episode was my personal favorite. It was a perfect ending. A small disappointment was the first two episodes were a little too slow. There was barely any action then. Perhaps I felt it because I was binge-watching it.

There are no action scenes or racing car chase sequences in this show. It’s proper investigation and the cold case factor adds a lot of thrill and chill. Highly recommended for people who love stories that unravel slowly.

100 Code (2015) [Review]

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Rating: 4/5

Cop procedural shows are something that always pulls my attention. For sometime now, I have really been craving to watch a good police procedural. My research have been meticulously ongoing but with no effective results until I laid my eye on this show- 100 code. I can’t tell what exactly my mindset was when I started watching this show. I started with no great expectations. I was in fact ready to abandon the show if the first few minutes weren’t interesting enough. Fortunately and gladly, this show sustained my interest throughout and in fact ended up as one of the best cop shows I have ever seen.

A series of gruesome murders with the same MO- young blond girls brutally killed and laid with Asphodel flowers around. Tom Conley – NYPD, investigates the killings and nearly nabs the killer only his partner messes the plan and ends up being accidentally killed by Conley himself. Further investigation points to similar killings in Sweden and Conley flies there. He convinces the Swedish Police about the connection and begins his association with Mikael Eklund who heads the Swedish police team. Eklund and Conley, after a wavered start, work together very well. They support and back each other making them a perfect cop duo. They find more bodies and the team unravels connections to Greek mythology. They begin to forecast the killer’s play based on the mythological story and try to stop further murders and in a way succeed too. With a list of suspects, they begin tracking them, eliminating down to one single person at the end. More investigations, more interviews and clues, lets them arrive at the conclusion that all the murders weren’t actually committed by one person but multiple people under the instruction of one single man, the mastermind. LH. Tracking down LH becomes the mission of the team. More murders, more clues, more connections- the perfect recipe for a serial killer mystery. Honestly, so many things happen, it’s very difficult to mention everything. A lot of other crimes happen in the city too at the same time and the team are confused if everything has a connection to LH. I am not going further into the story as that would be a giveaway.

As always, apart from the script, it’s the characters which run the show. Mikael Eklund is the star for me. He is at the verge of retiring and he is forced to take this case. He is calm, composed and respects his team though everyone are so junior to him. He doesn’t lose grip over the situation. He had lost his wife a couple of years back and is guilty for not being there with her at her last moments. His daughter, Hanna, blames him for her mother’s death and there is a strained relationship, a small parallel track for them. Tom Conley, on the other hand, is completely opposite to Eklund. He is impulsive, arrogant and jumps the gun most of the time. He is brave and clever, no doubt, but is driven by emotions most of the time. He has a sad past too (Of course!). The supporting characters are good and to my happiness get a fair share of screen space. The characters’ personal lives are touched but not too much that it overshadows the actual investigation.

I loved Sweden. The locations were fantastic. The best part of the show for me was how normal the investigation proceeded. I don’t mean there is no excitement, I refer to the procedures. The test results or forensics or anything for that matter, takes the time it should take. The team reaches loads of dead ends as one would in real life. There is frustration of failure which plagues the team too. I love the theme of serial killings for a show because loads of connections and theories are possible. Same applies for this show too. At a point I wondered if it was someone close to the team. The suspense was well done and I was forced to move to the next episode every time. I just couldn’t stop myself. There are lot of moments which raised my heart beat.

Now to the disappointing factors. 12 episodes is far too long I felt. It stretched the story unnecessarily. The backstory of Conley was a super duper dud. Few episodes in between didn’t really touch the main case…but that is it. If the show had been for say 8-10 episodes it would have been more effective. Since it’s an English-Swedish show, there are many portions in Swedish for which I had to rely on subtitles. Unfortunately, the translations were really bad and I ended up assuming most part of it. Didn’t matter though. I still could understand the story.

I absolutely loved the title track. The flashes of owl sent me creeps.

The cast, to the most part, has done an excellent job. Michael Nyqvist as Michael Eklund is amazing. The supporting cast is equally good too. I had major problems with Dominic Monaghan though. I felt he was trying too much. For one- I couldn’t accept him as a police officer. And then he looked way too serious, trying to put on the angry young man face. It’s just a small complaint. The screenplay makes up for this flaw.

The show ends in a cliffhanger with the hope of returning for season 2 but seems like there isn’t one. I wish the writers end every season properly as there is no guarantee the channel would renew the show.

100 code is a must watch for someone who loves murder, mystery and suspense. A wonderful plot with good action/chasing sequences, this show is very engaging. Highly recommended.