Our protagonist also happens to be a Swedish detective. Yes I know, another one… And yes, he’s mean and moody and prone to making bizarre out of context comments: “Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.” Random or what. I guess that’s what loose cannons must do: study insects.
River, which aired on Tuesday evening is hardly the most original cop drama ever produced, but there’s just enough here to merit tuning in for a second helping.
Ok, so there are a few shaky moments here. River’s female work partner has a karaoke propensity and is liable to burst into song at any minute. Why? One would like to think it’s a strand that will develop over the series. But somehow I doubt it.
And for a man who won’t see sixty again, River (no, really that his name) can mix it with the best of them. His chase of a teenage criminal in the programme’s opening scenes is nothing short of remarkable. Was our man a champion middle distance runner in a former life?
There’s no escaping River. The teenage delinquent reached what he believed to be the safety of his own flat, but still couldn’t shake the swift-footed Swede off. What else could he do but throw himself out of the window to his death? The silly boy seemed to have forgotten that he lived on the eighth floor.
And his scaling of that tree is a feat worthy of admission cost. Crikey I can only hope that when I reach pension age I’m also scaling trees and balancing on branches. With climbing skills of this order, this guy should be nicknamed the Leopard.
But it’s not all plain sailing for River. He’s a technophobe, doesn’t own a television and he’s just been forced to take a half-Jewish, half-Muslim novice under his wing. Oh and having witnessed the murder of his previous work partner, he’s also undergoing psychological counselling. But apart from that it’s going pretty well.
Thankfully he passes the ‘normality’ test with flying colours when opting for Sergeant Pepper rather than Revolver. That at least is reassuring.
I can’t help but think that writer Abi Morgan might have manoeuvred herself into a corner with the Fifth Element motif. Yes, it always makes for suspense and ambience, but just how do you tie up all those spooky loose ends? Only time will tell.
Perhaps the biggest thing in River's favour is that it’s not as dire as the usual BBC crime fare such as the instantly forgettable Interceptor and the tepid Stonemouth. This is the first BBC serial in a long time which might just be worth following into week 2.
Review: Stonemouth, BBC2, 9pm, 11th June >>>
Review: The Interceptor, BBC1, Wednesday 3rd June >>>