Stands out thanks to Gemma Whelan’s dour cop

Chances are you don’t remember the first set of Tower. Screened in 2021, it is, after all, part of a never-ending stream of new crime dramas (too many to list here, but you could start alphabetically). Annika And Blue lights).

Regardless, it was one of the best examples of the genre, with a tight storyline of Country the veteran Patrick Harbinson and a discreet realism which made Course of action seem Police Academy. Being based on a detective novel by Kate London, a former Met detective, probably helped in this regard.

Gemma Whelan from Game Of Thrones starred as DS Sarah Collins, who in the first series led an internal police investigation after a young Libyan refugee and a police officer fell to their death from the top of a London tower block.

This same tower block made fleeting appearances in the background in the opening episode of the second series, as if contractually obligated by the program’s title. Otherwise, you could have watched the new episodes without being bothered by the knowledge of previous events.

The main characters have had a fresh start: Sarah has now been transferred from internal affairs to homicide, while PC Lizzie Adama (Tahirah Sharif) has been cleared of disciplinary charges stemming from her absence in the first series. Returning to work under her former boss and lover DI Kieran Shaw (Emmett J. Scanlan), she has been sent to investigate a domestic dispute.

Discovering a bruised woman, a cowering child and his belligerent father, Lizzie arrested the father. It was a decision that would come back to him twice by the end of the episode.

Sarah’s first day of homicide went just as badly. Her boorish boss assigned her a 25-year-old cold case involving a missing teenage girl and lent her a reluctant subordinate known to everyone as “Fat Elaine.” “I do not care” said Elaine (Ella Smith) about her offensive nickname, clearly long accustomed to the knuckle-dragging office culture.

Their cracked-and-cheesy partnership seems promising, although conscientious Sarah stands out in an office whose motto might as well have been “anything for a quick arrest.” Her in-depth investigations and sensitive interview technique yielded vital new clues from the mother of the long-missing teenager (a seminal work by Niamh Cusack) and the former prime suspect, a security guard. park with learning difficulties.

A policewoman facing an antediluvian police culture (why, hello again Main suspect) and an unsolved case involving a missing teenage girl (ditto for many crime dramas) – the new series was arguably a tower of crime clichés. This excessive familiarity, however, has been replaced by the feeling that Harbison is too intelligent a writer not to ultimately subvert dramatic formulas. Being so grounded in realism helps dispel the feeling that the narrative is in the hands of a pirate.

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Some great performances also helped. Tahira Sharif, Bafta nominee for the first series of Tower, was once again impressive as the vulnerable but increasingly intelligent Lizzie. Jimmy Akingbola, like Sarah’s former colleague Steve Bradshaw, hasn’t had much to do so far. But it’s Whelan, so far best known for her comedic talents, who carries the series into a straighter-than-straight role.

To viewers who prefer their TV cops to be more colorful and enthusiastic, Sarah may seem a little dour and as beige as the kitchen walls where she microwaves meals for one. But Whelan gives it an understated integrity, both believable and highly watchable.

And it looks like she could soon be buying ready-made meals for two after a former witness she met while shopping dropped her phone number suggestively. Anyway, while Tower may not have reinvented the detective series, Sarah looks like a largely new creation.

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