It should be Criminal

Published September 29, 2020

David Tennant in Criminal

Recently, I’ve really struggled to find a TV show that grabs me and keeps me interested and also sits outside of the Apple TV+ catalogue. I’ve talked at length about how great their shows are and for whatever reason, despite there being so much (too much?) choice out there, I’ve barely been able to get past the first episode of anything. I was starting to wonder if the quality of Apple’s shows hadn’t ruined other TV for me!

Thankfully, I finally found something of quality to watch. The second series of Criminal: UK was released this week, and I hadn’t seen the first - despite it featuring the wonderful David Tennant.

I caught up the first three episodes and absolutely whipped through the newly released four-episode second series in about two days, and was staggered at the quality of the show.

There is some controversy surrounding a couple of the stories in this second batch, and I can absolutely see where they’re coming from. The first three episodes all feature women who have ruined the lives of men they know, which of course does happen but seems slightly out of balance. And the Kit Harington episode about a false accusation of rape is damaging, no matter what angle you try and take on it. I don’t want to belittle those issues with the series.

But I do love the conceit of it - the claustrophobic nature of telling entire standalone stories within the confines of three rooms: the suspect/witness interview room, the observation booth, and the hallway. There’s a through thread with the detectives asking the questions, and you gradually get to know more about them. But ultimately, these are anthologies where each story is told with precision, neatness and a clarity that only the confined locations can bring.

I would say this is a must-watch with the proviso that you might want to skip the middle two episodes of the second series. But that still leaves you with five incredibly good stories to be told.

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