LINE OF DUTY fans were in for a treat last night when Jed Mercurio dropped a teasing look at the upcoming fifth season of the hit BBC drama after the Bodyguard finale.
Why do I watch these series that make me go through a box of tissues? Can someone answer me, please? It’s that phrase that continually resounds in my brain, “Lest We Forget.”
Since I’ve recently written a book set in England during World War I, between finding all of my distant cousins who perished, plus doing research non-stop, I’ve been pulled into this terrible conflict. The more I watch, the more I cry. Someone on the Period Drama Group on Facebook suggested The Passing Bells. It’s streaming on BritBox, if you care to watch it. It’s also on sale on Amazon but in overseas format only. Beware, the ending will rip your heart out.
It’s a story that spans four years of the World War I, seen through the eyes of two young lads – one from England and one from Germany. From the moment that war is declared and they enlist, the story flips back and forth following their training and fighting in a war that after four years becomes tiresome and pointless.
In addition to their lives, the story touches upon their families — the fears of their mothers when they enlist, the proud fathers who wish their sons the best, the young ladies the young lads love, and the effects of war upon their home communities. It also places the audience in the trenches and at the battle of Somme, which was the most horrific battle where in reality 420,00 English soldiers, 434,000 German, and 200,000 French died. At the end of the series, the following is shown – What passing-bells for these who die as cattle. (Anthem for Doomed Youth byWilford Owen)
There is great hope as you watch this five-part series that the two young lads (Thomas played by Patrick Gibson as the English soldier and Michael played by Jack Lowden as the German soldier) will survive. As you watch the politicians sign their names to the Treaty of Versailles something terrible happens at the end. It is not an easy story to watch, but it reminds us that we should never forget.
My only critical comment about this series is that British actors with distinctive British accents also play the Germans in this movie. It detracts from the realism and would have been much better had they learned the accent for the role. At times it feels as if it’s the British lads fighting British lads. Otherwise, it’s realistically filmed and well acted.
BBC films. Acorn TV posts. I binge.
It’s as simple as that scenario to keep me glued to my recliner. My latest binge, when I should be writing and editing my books, Line of Duty – now streaming on Acorn TV.
The show is from a different slant about DS Steve Arnott (a short man who has a lot to prove), who is transferred to the police anti-corruption unit after a dastardly stint in another. Series one focuses on the officer of the year, who tells enough lies to wrap himself up in a sticky spider’s web with no way out.
It’s well done, well acted, just the right amount of suspense, not too boring that you fast forward, and keeps you guessing and entertained until a surprising and inconclusive ending. I’m afraid to start season two because I will probably waste the entire day getting nothing done.
As usual, British television does it again. The show apparently started in 2012 and is now in season five in 2017. I suppose that tells you it is good enough not to cancel.
Check it out if you’re a crime-crazy nut that would rather watch the corruption from inside the force, rather than the force fighting the corruption outside.
UPDATE: As a side note, I’ve watched Season 2 and Season 3, and they continue to be extremely engagement, to say the least. Great show! Keeps you guessing.
Streaming on Acorn TV is a former series entitled Criminal Justice. I tuned into Season 2, which ran five consecutive nights in October of 2009. It’s a series where the audience travels through an individual’s life from the beginning of the crime to final decision of the justice system. It’s an interesting story that focuses on the victim, the individual who committed the crime, the results of that crime upon family members and acquaintances, the police investigation, the defense solicitor and barrister, and, of course, the individual on trial.
Season 2 focuses on a woman by the name of Juliet Miller (played by Maxine Peake), the wife of a successful barrister Joe Miller (played by Matthew Macfadyen). In the opening scenes Juliet is the focus as a nervous and depressed individual sitting in a car who eventually returns home to take a shower. Joe, on the other hand, has been trying to reach her by telephone multiple times but she ignores his calls.
Joe later comes home, obviously suspicious over his wife’s behavior. She is sullen, nervous, forgetful, and avoids him. After dinner with their teenage daughter in the household, everyone retires to bed. Joe wants to initiate sex but Juliet pulls away. She leaves the bed to retrieve something (which I cannot tell you since it’s a spoiler) and then stops in the kitchen. Her thoughts turn toward the knives on the kitchen counter. She chooses three, lines them up, and picks the large six-inch wide blade and carries it back to bed.
After hiding the weapon under the pillow, Joe re-initiates the sexual encounter. Their daughter hears groaning noises from their bedroom and goes to investigate. As she peeks around the corner, her father is on her mother groaning but then rolls off with a knife sticking out of his belly. Hence the crime has been committed, and the underlying causes of the tragedy take five episodes to unfold one by one until the final verdict.
It’s an interesting, albeit extremely slow unfolding story. If you like action, this is not the series for you. You witness prejudices and preconceived ideas among the police. Joe ends up in intensive care, while the investigation begins. Along comes the solicitor, with her own agenda to get her client off by immediately painting Joe as an evil abusive husband. She nurses a vindictive goal, while one police investigator wants to see justice served regardless of the circumstances since Juliet did stab him in the gut. Everyone has their opinion – everyone is emotionally affected by the case.
To discover the ins and outs of this emotional series and the outcome, you’ll have to watch it yourself. If I say anything further, I’ll be writing SPOILER all over this post. Frankly, be prepared to watch many minutes of silent brooding from the actors and painful reflection. You could probably chalk up an entire hour of merely watching the characters say nothing except crying and staring off into the distance. It will be a bore or you will be sucked into the emotional aspect of this story as the writers have obviously intended. Their goal is to drag you through the emotions of their characters.
Maxine Peake’s heart-wrenching performance deserved accolades, but you are quite torn between giving her sympathy or wishing that the United Kingdom still used hanging for punishment. It was shocking to see she did not win an award but instead, Matthew MacFadyen won supporting actor at the British Academy Television Awards 2009. His screen time is minimal, to say the least.
As far as Season 1 of Criminal Justice, I’ve yet to watch those episodes. Frankly, I need to wind down after this slow and painful journey of Juliet Miller before I take on another British crime show.