Waking the Dead (2000-2011 BBC Television)

3 Kernels

Stars: Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston,Will Johnson, Claire Goose, and others

Let’s clarify this title early on – it’s not about Zombies.  Waking the Dead  is a BBC series that focuses on a cold case murder squad. They probably could have chosen a better title, because I passed over this show multiple times after seeing the word “dead” and thinking “waking” was “walking.” (That was before I got my new glasses.)

Anyway, I just finished five seasons, but apparently there are many more not yet on NetFlix. If you like British detective programs and love hearing, “I’m DCI…” whoever, you’ll probably get into this one too. The British titles are so much cooler…Detective Chief Inspector.

It focuses around Detective Boyd, who runs the show, played by Trevor Eve (not bad looking for a man his age). Dr. Grace Foley, played by Sue Johnston, is always analyzing everyone as the profiler of killers and her coworkers. Like so many other shows, this one reminds me not to get emotionally involved with the actors and certain characters.

Claire Goose, who plays one of the detectives, leaves the show (via a horrific on-screen death), which totally changes the flavor of the team after her departure. Coupled with a change in the forensic team at the same time, it’s a shocker. When that happens, I grieve the loss and often find myself loosing a tad bit of interest trying to get into the replacements who I often don’t like as well. It was no different in this case either, but it’s like work — people come and go all the time.

After watching so many British detective police shows, this one carries the usual underlying themes in the series that I am finding occur over and over.

  • The main detective is a bit wonky with either work or personal problems. They are either emotionally detached from others, unable to make close relationships, have some fault like yelling, drinking, or whatever.
  • The top guy always is a little rebellious refusing to obey orders, and there is usually someone on the force that is out to get them in the upper echelons.
  • Though the team works well together, there is always some undermining strife and rivalry in the ranks.
  • Some of the crime stories can be downright sick, especially upon the discovery of a dead body and how gruesomely the poor victim had been killed. The newer shows go for the shock factor more than the mystery, and I wish they would spare me the gory details.

Of course, these stories always leave me with unanswered questions:

  • Is forensic science that advance it figures out everything?
  • Do DCI’s ever carry guns?
  • How much tea do they drink on the job and what kind?
  • When they are in the pub sloshing down the ale, are they on duty or off?
I may never know the answer to these perplexing questions, however, it doesn’t stop me from searching for the next BBC crime show.  As you can see, I’ve watched a few.  Do I have favorites? I am a bit partial to the older shows with less gore and murders of only stabbings, strangulation, and poison, which occur at night while the peacocks are screeching in the background. The more complicated the lead detective, the better. These are some of my favorites:

  • Midsommer Murders
  • Detective Lewis
  • Prime Suspect
  • Wallender
  • Murder in Suburbia
So that about sums it up. BBC or ITV better keep cranking these series out, or I’m going to be disappointed.

It’s time for an Earl Grey.

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