Thursday, 8 February 2007

My Picks for 2006 (4) - Low Winter Sun

Hullo. My penultimate choice of the best television programmes of the year is one of the darker, violent police dramas of the year. Taggart after a night on the ran dan...

Yes, I did say that TV cop shows were dull, and yes this is another TV cop show. However the police in this dark drama do not have personality traits that feel shoehorned into the show, they do feel flawed.

The drama centres around the killing of Brendan McCann by two of his colleagues in the Lothian & Borders Police, Joe Geddes (played by Brian McCardle) and Frank Agnew (Mark Strong). McCann is killed after a works night out, and the body is (eventually after discussions on how McCann should be seated) dumped into the Forth inside his own car.

The body is not properly disposed of because it is discovered the next day, though not before the internal affairs department arrive looking for Geddes and McCann. It transpires that McCann had been under surveillance for some time.

Meanwhile as the story goes on the alliance between Geddes and Agnew gets shakier and shakier. Agnew had been tricked into helping to kill McCann, Geddes had said that Agnew’s missing girlfriend had been killed by McCann. Agnew had found out when his girlfriend tried to call. Agnew beats up Geddes, who is beginning to fold as forensic evidence begins to contradict the original assumptions about what had happened. Finding a headless and armless body in the trunk was not part of the plans.

At the end Geddes folds, confessing that he alone killed McCann, when it looks like Agnew is going to be fingered as the prime suspect. Geddes kills himself. Agnew does not find his missing girlfriend.

I liked this because the acting was superb, Brian McCardle was really good while Mark Strong’s performance was as excellent as his mastery of the Edinburgh accent. The plot was good, it was violent at times but there was a realism to it, I flinched away from the television a couple of times because of how realistic it felt (I can only remember one other scene that did that this year, it was from Jimmy McGovern’s BBC drama The Street. It was a vicious beating that one of the characters was giving to his partner’s brother in law). Also, because it was set in Edinburgh, the old buildings somehow added a gothic atmosphere to the drama.

1 comment:

Pete Campbell said...

As someone who would rather be flayed with a slaughterhouse jet myself..(watch it and it will make sense).. than watch the usual GB Cops dross on TV ..including the latest "Holby Blue"...this was a very pleasant surprise.
Moodier than Jack Dee with Black Dog, atmospheric music and superb acting took it to a new level.
I was however amused that not a single Lothian and Borders Uniform appeared in the whole drama! Even when a body is found at the bottom of the crags by... "a man walking his dog"....not a uniform or Police car in sight. He must have phoned forensics direct as actors in plastic boiler suits were all that was in attendance! I do not imagine much official co-operation was forthcoming from the boys in blue given the central premise of corrupt detectives topping each other! Shame, that lack of realism was the only drawback on a cracking story beautifully told.