TV review: From Darkness, BBC One (3 stars)

TV review: From Darkness, BBC One

Grim cop thriller starring Anne-Marie Duff and Johnny Harris

The title certainly isn't a misnomer From Darkness starts swathed in pain, anguish and shadow as Claire Church (Anne-Marie Duff) pounds the roads attempting to escape her grim past.

A former cop who fled to the Western Isles, for now why she made this dramatic getaway is still a mystery but we're sure her motivation will be spelt out by the end of this four episode mini-series. The discovery of two prostitute's bodies buried on a building site in Manchester leads her former colleague DCI John Hind (Johnny Harris) to her remote doorstep looking for insight and answers to a case that stretches back to 1998. As they start digging deeper Duff realises she can't ignore the past and a serial killer might still be on the loose.

Like so many current crime thrillers on TV, From Darkness is very obviously influenced by the influx of Nordic noir that reshaped the genre a few years back: the troubled protagonist, the drab colour scheme, everyone talks in hushed whispers, mumbles or growls their lines. Only Luke Newbury (In the Flesh) offers a chink of light with a dash of comic relief as DS Anthony Boyce. It's certainly a change of pace for writer Katie Baxendale and director Dominic Leclerc last seen working on far lighter fare such as Sugar Rush, The Syndicate and The Village.

We've walked this road too many times before. There's nothing blatantly wrong with From Darkness – it's well produced, the acting is uniformly good, the story intriguing – but after The Killing, The Bridge, even Shetland, it feels anonymous.

From Darkness premieres on BBC One, Sun 4 Oct.

Comments

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1. John Cooper5 Oct 2015, 11:34am Report

I give From Darkness only one star .. .. .. . This turgid slow-moving
drama is another example of the BBC giving undue credit to scripts with
` strong female ` lead characters .. .. . In this case, we were subjected to
interminable close-ups of the `strong female lead` looking miserable while
trying to decide whether to return to active detective service .. . . A totally
unconvincing scenario .. . . Personally I didnt' give a damn whether she
returned or not.

Having just watch the brilliant Wallender` series on box-sets. this palled in
comparison . .. . What was the BBC thinking of?

2. Pigflute20 Oct 2015, 8:14pm Report

3 episodes in and it goes from bad to worse. This is painful to watch as we jump from one ridiculous scene to another. This is quite possibly the worst police drama I have ever sat through. I should have thrown the towel in 20 minutes into episode 1 but unfortuntely I chose to stick with it in the mistaken belief that it must surely must improve. Wrong! It just keeps getting worse ... so bad in fact that I am determined to see it through and then maybe I'll learn to trust my initial assessment!

3. Linda Kearns25 Oct 2015, 11:00pm Report

One of the worst dramas I've ever seen.
Contrived and overlong ' staring scenes ', with the most ridiculously unlikely police procedures made this irritating viewing in the extreme.

4. James Gordon25 Oct 2015, 11:37pm Report

Just watched the final scene and what a load of cobblers this whole show has been.cant believe this was approved some of the worst main actors roles I have ever seen. If this was under direction then the director needs to open his eyes up and smell some reality. Crime just does not work the way that they portrayed it. Sort it out BBC 0 out of 10

5. Beanie27 Oct 2015, 7:07am Report

Absolutely awful ruined by the lead female role and plot and everything else don't bother wasting 4 hours of your life watching this

6. PAC30 Oct 2015, 9:59am Report

I don't normally post reviews. I would have liked to have made my views known directly to the BBC but this is rather hard to do. I am appalled that a programme of such atrocious quality was commissioned and made. The script was utterly risible, I wondered if it was a satire of Nordic noir. Packets of pills were substituted for proper character development and the ill conceived 'twists of plot' demonstrate that less can often be more. There were so many inconsistencies that at times I did wonder if Ann Marie Duff was going to turn and wink at the camera. Not sure how the acid damaged killer got his appalling injuries thru' his mother's attempt to abort him shame they didn't pour the acid over the script. With the exception of the opening credits which were good I hope the crew involved in this will not be given licence fee money and let loose again.

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