Female cops seem to be very en vogue right now. Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey, Line of Duty – you want to get your crime drama noticed, have a top actress lead it, and throw in a few more as a decent supporting cast. We’ve certainly come a long way from a time when Juliet Bravo and Cagney and Lacey were lone pools of oestrogen in a XY-chromosome world.

Joining this band of programmes is No Offence, the latest offering from Paul Abbot. You may recognise the name as the man who created Shameless. I never really got into that show for reasons I never fathomed. Maybe I was just too young when it started to get into something that was so honest about life.

Anyway, I digress. The cast of No Offence is led by Joanna Scanlan, one of those great actresses who just never gets quite recognised. She plays Vivienne Deering, a no-nonsense DCI (aren’t they all?) who is engaged in a personal battle with her grouchy jobsworth superior whilst mentoring two young female officers and stopping a serial killer targeting people with Down’s.

As you can gather, it is all very breathless and could quite easily become a depressing slog. But this is where Abbot comes in with his writing prowess. The dark drama is lifted by almost farcical comedy. In the opening episode Deering prepares for a meeting by using a mouth freshener and another for her downstairs, but gets them the wrong way round. In episode two, a drugs raid leads to two members of the task force engaging in some sapphic behaviours, which Deering joyously traps her superior into seeing.

I would also like to take a moment to praise Will Mellor. Between his role in this and Broadchurch, he seems to be redeeming himself for the torrid Two Pints of Lager. It just shows that when an actor is given good enough words, then there is no limit to how well they can play a role.

I do have one gripe with the show. I often find that in some scenes the characters mumble, and rather frustratingly they do so when uttering a beautiful pearl of a comment. I am begging the team behind the show to encourage better enunciation for the next series, if only so we can truly appreciate the diamond quality of the script. Other than that though, this is a rare gift. It entertains, doesn’t patronise, and isn’t scared of showing the worst (but also the best) of public services. Long may this female revolution continue.

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