So far this year the BBC has churned out a fair few gripping dramas such as Taboo, Broken, Paula… to name but a few. 2017 has been a good year for the BBC and it doesn’t stop there, with their latest gritty crime drama In The Dark taking a hold of our screens. The four-part mini-series is adapted from the books by bestselling novelist Mark Billingham and written by Bafta winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst, the genius behind some great shows you’re probably familiar with, Ordinary Lies, Exile and The Driver.
In The Dark is different compared to many other shows that share the same genre. The four episodes are broken down into two parts, the first part (consisting of episodes 1 & 2) sees lead character detective Helen Weeks (MyAnna Buring) taken back to her childhood home when a friend from her past is involved in an abduction. The second part (consisting of episodes 3 & 4) sees Helen facing her second difficult case, forcing her to question her closest relationships when a brutal tragedy drags her into Manchester’s dark criminal underbelly.
Typically, in this genre there is one main, dominant, stretched out storyline and theme present. It is refreshing to see a different take on a crime drama series and to follow the lead character Helen facing different challenges. Part one is fast paced and nail biting, and without a doubt captures the audiences undivided attention. At first Helen Weeks appears to be a seemingly good person, the noble cop and friend. She’s in a happy relationship, expecting a baby and travels miles to support a childhood friend caught up in a serious abduction case. But Helen is haunted by flashbacks of her early teen years.
As more is revealed important questions begin to rise. Why does Helen never visit her hometown? What truly haunts her about her past? Her squeaky clean image begins to slip, first a school friend reveals she was a bully and then we discover she’s having an affair. She’s not exactly the type of character the audience is rooting for, that is until the second episode. Helen’s character evolves when she sheds some light on her harrowing past, creating more depth to her character. All of a sudden the audience can sympathise with her.
Tragedy opens the second part of the mini-series with Helen losing her partner Paul (Ben Batt), caught up in a car accident caused by a gang initiation. A tragic accident, an open and shut case. Except that’s not what Helen’s super cop senses tell her. Just like in the first part, the second part of In The Dark is hugely successful in sparking all of those important questions that capture and grip audiences. Why was Paul in the area he was killed in the first place? He shouldn’t have been. Helen ploughs through her grief to find out. It starts to become clear to Helen that Paul may not have been the man she thought he was, some harsh truths in the concluding episode seem inevitable.
But all is not what it seems, a phrase which best describes the series. A gripping finale takes place that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Important questions are answered and a very clever plot twist thrown in for good measure. Catch up on BBC iPlayer if you’re an avid fan of a BBC crime drama, you won’t want to miss this one.
Dir: Gilles Bannier & Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen
Prd: Hugh Warren
Scr: Danny Brocklehurst
Starring: Ben Batt, MyAnna Buring, Matt King