It has been a bumper year for TV drama and the BBC continues the trend with “In the Dark”, a police drama dealing with the tricky subject of child abduction and murder.
MyAnna Buring stars as Helen Weeks, an ambitious Detective Inspector sucked into a case involving people from her own past. Episode one opens with DI Weeks receiving a punch in the stomach as she apprehends a suspect. That forces her to reveal her pregnancy and her partner, fellow police officer Paul Hopkins (Ben Batt) is delighted by the news.
Helen seems less pleased, perhaps because of the likely impact on her career. Or maybe she is worried that the baby isn’t Paul’s. Texts from the mysterious Adam seem to reinforce this ominous possibility.
After hearing of a double abduction in her hometown of Polesford in Derbyshire, Helen travels back to comfort the wife of the main suspect.
Linda Bates, played by Emma Fryer, has to face up to the fact that her husband Stephen is accused of the murder of the missing children. Helen and Linda were childhood friends and as the investigation progresses, we see flashbacks to their schooldays, including the revelation that Helen was a playground bully.
The supporting cast is equally strong.Ashley Walters, a former member of So Solid Crew who recently appeared in the ITV crime drama “Cuffs”, plays DI Tim Cornish. He is the local officer, keen to close the case by pinning everything on Linda’s husband.
He went through the police training school with Helen’s partner Paul but their relationship is strained to say the least. Jessica Gunning plays DCI Sophie Carson. She is a veteran of TV crime drama, having appeared in “Law & Order UK” and “Prime Suspect 1973”. Her character clashes with DI Weeks, seeing her as an outsider muscling in on her case.
Every good crime drama needs a forensic scientist and “In the Dark” calls on the services of Phil Hendricks, who happens to be another friend of Paul Hopkins. Matt King brings some
eccentricity to the role, with his very dry sense of humour and eclectic dress sense. Also on the periphery of the action are Paula and Gavin Sweeney, played by Sinead Matthews and Kevin Sutton.
Paula is an acquaintance of Helen’s from her childhood and
Gavin is the local taxi driver. Their initial drunken meeting with Helen and Paul doesn’t end well and the “never off duty” police couple soon have their suspicions. For some reason there is always a dodgy cabbie in these shows and this series is no exception.
Like much current drama, “In the Dark” has started slowly and that is probably no surprise when there are so many plot-lines to establish.
But the show has great promise and subsequent episodes will refine and develop the story. MyAnna Buring is very real as DI Helen Weeks. She sits nicely between the main thrust of the police investigation and her hometown. Expect many more twists and turns to this one.
“In the Dark”: BBC1 and iPlayer
by Ian Hine