TV Weekly Round-Up: Identity, Dive, My Family and Police Drama

Posted on July 12, 2010

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Skins Kid Takes A Dive

So that dude from Skins…you know the one, the mad one, the one who was supposed to be a substitute for first generation’s Chris except for the fact that we really didn’t like him as much? Yeah that chap, well he’s continuing in the vein of teenage shenanigans in this BBC 2-parter which, using the 2012 Olympics as a backdrop is quite a gritty and serious affair.

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At the time of writing, the episodes hadn’t aired yet but suffice to say, Jack O’Connell’s been given another formidable opportunity to stretch his acting chops along with newcomer Aisling Loftus. Loftus plays young Olympic hopeful Lindsey, a swimmer who discovers that she is pregnant. Dramatic stuff.

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Keeley Hawes Steals My Identity

But she still hasn’t called so I’m wondering if she did it wrong… I’m sure my mobile number’s in my computer somewhere….

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Anyway, you know the way you get really wary and apprehensive about buying things online? Oh I don’t want to be putting my credit card details up there, sure you never know who might be looking… Well, you’re right! You don’t know who’s looking! (Apologies to Amazon if I have scared away customers)

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But that’s the general idea behind new ITV series Identity in which a special fraud division deal with identity crimes and boy is the internet a wee bit scary.

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Headed by DCI Martha Lawson (Keeley Hawes), the squad’s first case is the investigation into a man known only as “Smith” who steals people’s identities and then uses them to commit crimes. One man shoots a police officer, another murders his bit on the side, another runs over a random woman. But none of them have actually done it.

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Present in the team also is Aidan Gillen (Yay!) playing Dubliner John Bloom (wonder where they pulled that surname from…) and while his accent seems a bit patchy at the beginning, a little too ‘look at me, I’m Irish’, it evens out and his character turns out to be an interesting sort of dude with ties in some serious stuff toward the end. As someone remarks early in the episode, “He’s spent his whole life pretending to be someone else.” From this first episode it seems he’s still doing that.

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The two leads work well together, Hawes fresh off her last stint as a police detective, albeit in a slightly different timeline. Aidan Gillen will be best known to most for his role in The Wire while the last thing I truly remember watching him in was Queer As Folk so he certainly does have a wide range of character roles to draw from.

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As an opening episode, it’s pacy and it works well on drawing an audience into it, even if half the time we haven’t a bloody clue what they’re talking about or how they managed to deduce that the cat was in fact on the scene when the shooting took place, all be finding a USB key in someone’s dustbin half a mile away. No that didn’t actually happen in it but that would be cool, wouldn’t it?

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Bloom’s hiding something too, something mafia related and we can only assume that we’ll find out what it is over the next few weeks.

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In a lot of instances I find myself watching the first episode of a series and then never revisiting it. Identity has enough to warrant a revisit.

Identity airs on ITV, Monday nights a 9pm.

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My Family Bids for National Institution Status

How long do you have to be running to become a National Institution? Because BBC sitcom series My Family must surely be nearing that status by now. After ten years of Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wannamaker’s insanely likeable married couple, the series has gone through a lot of cast changes but it must be said that it was never better than its first few series which also boasted Kris Marshall (the man off the BT ads with the “news”)

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Despite complaints that it’s gone on too long, this new series is still undeniably watchable, Lindsay and Wannamaker being the main attractions – they are both exceptional stage actors as well. The wit is quick, the plots are silly but fun. Go on, watch it – maybe another year will see it finally become a national institution.

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More 4 Gets Criminal

Starting last week, Channel 4 sister channel More 4 began a Thursday night crime-fest, with a double bill of long running American series The Closer (though I must admit I’d never heard of it before…) and new grittier series Southland.

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The Closer is a very American, run of the mill cop series which really hinges on whether the performance of Kyra Sedgwick in the lead role, irritates you or not. I was irritated, but perhaps it’s because I can’t listen to the southern, Alabama accent. The first new episode sees Johnson and Co investigating a quadruple murder in a residential home. While the outcome is rather obvious from the start, it rollicks along nicely to its, admittedly, somewhat outlandish ending scene.

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Southland is a much grittier affair than The Closer and an all round better series in my book. Filmed very much like a documentary, Southland follows the lives of a small number of the 10,000 odd cops who patrol Los Angeles Southland area, home to over 4 million people. Starring The OC kid Ben McKenzie (who still looks about 12) the first episode follows his first day on the beat in the Southland area, which makes Limerick look like Foxrock.