Archives for posts with tag: Siobhan Finneran

Scandi-noir has a lot to answer for, not least the plethora of pale imitations that it generates. Ditto Broadchurch, with its perfect representation of how a horrific crime can disrupt a small town. Combining these two sources is The Loch. It has the macabre deaths of Scandinavia and its dramatic but gloomy scenery with the small community of people with secrets of Broadchurch. Tartan noir mixed with McBroadchurch if you will.

We have the murder of a piano teacher, and now a local teenage tearaway, both dispatched slightly horrifically. Everyone has a reason to look suspicious, including the paedophile doctor and the ex-con living under a new name. A top DCI from the big city (Siobhan Finneran) is shipped in, upsetting local cops and bringing along with her a ‘celebrity forensic psychologist’. Oh, and there’s a man tied to the bottom of the loch that nobody has spotted yet.

It is as barking mad as it sounds. There’s the man being kept in a drugged coma by his mother, locals looking shifty at each other and random wolves popping up all over the place. It is as if the writers were given free rein to do whatever they like, but when it came to filming the budget kicked in and tripping over into the truly surreal Twin Peaks style was put on hold.

Nevertheless, despite (or maybe because of) its ludicrousness it is actually quite enjoyable. With nobody remotely acting guilt free we have a whole village of suspects, although if it is the local sergeant’s husband I will scream in despair. Once you acclimatise to it, the oddness becomes intriguing rather than distracting.

Of course, for me the making and breaking of crime drama is in how it handles the procedural stuff. This is where The Loch falls sadly short. The detectives seem to just barrel along, doing what the hell they like. If this ever makes it to court, the defence will have a field day with procedural errors. The whole case will collapse in the space of an afternoon. It didn’t have to be this way: Broadchurch, Line of Duty and even Scott & Bailey are proof you can talk procedure and keep the drama.

But maybe that’s the point – procedural dramas are already being done so well, why copy? Hang the technicals, forget the rules, and don’t even consider the paperwork. The eccentricities will be a distraction from all this.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt to hear a conversation about forms, or an interview of a suspect done with all the quiet suspense of the show’s rivals. It’s what a lot of us like. You don’t need to dial back the odd, just turn up the real.

Sometimes, I must confess, I am late to the party. I was three years behind everyone else in watching Broadchurch. It took a year of buzz to finally sit down and watch Orange Is the New Black. I am only just starting season 3 of The Good Wife. And now, a fair few months after being extolled the virtues of it, I am currently working my way through Midwinter of the Spirit.

I say working may way through, there are only three episodes, but feeling sapped of energy last night I settled down to watch part 1 of the repeat run and recorded 2 and 3 to watch at some point soon. I may even choose to deliberately break it up into weekly parts, mirroring how the original viewers saw it.

I normally hesitate to pronounce my views on anything after just one episode, but I feel hooked already on this supernatural crime thriller. For those unaware of the premise, a vicar gets trained in ‘deliverance’ (exorcism under a modern cloak) and finds herself assisting the police in a satanic murder whilst simultaneously dealing with the evil spirit of another recently deceased man, all the while trying to bring up her daughter and deal with the death of her husband. It does make you wonder how they fit all this in to just three episodes. I might have to get back to you on that one.

Part of the allure of the show is Anna Maxwell Martin as the lead. She does a fine line in strong, placid women who have a whirligig of emotions underneath that occasionally break through. She is one of those actresses that, despite being showered with praise, is still not quite the household name she should be.

The pace bowls along nicely as well, which is vital in such a short series. All the plots are bubbling away nicely, even if you are not quite sure where they all fit yet. I am particularly intrigued by tarot reader Siobhan Finneran, who is incidentally another actress who plays characters so well yet is often second fiddle on the cast list (Downton Abbey hasn’t been the same since her role as the scheming maid O’Brien came to an end).

Amazingly, after just one episode, I not only want to watch the other two, but also want to see another series. It is so hard to get creepy thrillers right that when we do, we should treasure it. And I promise to watch series 2 straight away.