Critical Condition: In the Dark

In the Dark | Lightbox, from Monday

☆☆☆ “The BBC’s new crime drama doesn’t break the mould with its themes of corruption, lies and unwanted pregnancy – but its dark strands still draw you in … In the Dark is not Happy Valley, shifted south a little, down the Pennines. This is something louder, less involving, less human. But once you have accepted that, it’s a crisp opener (of four) – pacy, thoughtful and skilfully constructed, with multiple strands I am eager to see twisted together again.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆In the Dark, based on the novel by Mark Billingham, may seem like a run-of-the-mill crime drama but soon modulates into something deeper. The pre-title sequence shows someone digging a grave on a dark and stormy night. The identity of the culprit is the hook on which adapter Danny Brocklehurst hangs his investigation into how secrets can corrode relationships and even one’s soul. Director Gilles Bannier (Spiral) ensures that fans of Billingham’s thrillers (and those who haven’t yet read them) will enjoy both the cranking up of tension and the creaking of personal relationships.” — The Arts Desk.

☆☆☆In The Dark is certainly a by-the-numbers procedural. Which sounds like a criticism, but it actually isn’t because there are adult themes being explored here, as well as being a reassuringly solid and entertaining watch … But most impressive of all is MyAnna Buring’s performance as Helen Weeks. This is the first time Buring has truly carried a series, and she does it very well – she certainly looks the part and manages to strike that balance between toughness, humility and likability.” — The Killing Times.

☆☆☆In the Dark did show promise and could yet come good. It was taut and tensely atmospheric with an intriguing premise which found its heroine caught in the middle between police and prime suspect. Buring made a credible cop-with-a-conscience, all furrowed brow, meaningful sighs and feisty ambition.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆☆☆ “At the crux of the drama’s problems is the fact that the case uses the premise of violence against women as a mere plot device. We hardly see a glimpse of the victim’s families in episode one – instead all the airtime is given to the suspect and his loved ones. It’s possible to tell stories of violence against women responsibly – sexual or not: look at the last series of Broadchurch and Happy Valley, or the true-crime drama Three Girls. These series dealt with the reverberations of such crimes on a small community, rather than throwing them in as a catalyst to incite chaos.” — Radio Times.

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