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Case Sensitive - episode 1 review

Darren Boyd and Olivia Williams

Review by Tim Carson

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

Case Sensitive was always going to u-p against it being the third new drama to hit our screens this Bank Holiday weekend. The fact that ITV’s other new police drama Vera and BBC1’s Exile were so good made things even tougher.

Things started promisingly if somewhat conventionally with the discovery of the dead bodies of Geraldine Bretherick and her 5-year-old daughter Lucy in the bath of their luxury home.

DS Charlie Zailer (Olivia Williams) is assigned to the case with her DC Simon Waterhouse (Darren Boyd) and there is immediate tension between the two as DC Waterhouse treats the husband Mark as a suspect while DS Zailer treats him as a victim. The question, of course, is whether it’s murder or suicide.

The officers have different opinions on the case and it causes friction – things are not helped by the fact they’ve had some sort of liaison a few days earlier about which DS Zailer remembers very little.

It’s here that Case Sensitive gets interesting as it twists the usual set-up for a detective show. Instead of the boss being confident and in control and the junior detective still having a lot to learn it appears that DS Zailer is out of her depth and lacking in confidence while her assistant DC Waterhouse is exactly the opposite.

It creates an unusual tension as the two detectives go off in different directions pursuing their own theories on the deaths. It’s a good and brave attempt at trying to shake up the formulaic nature of TV detective shows, however, it leaves the audience floundering a little with no one to identify with or sympathise with.

You are not pulled into the drama as quickly as you need to be as the characters take too long to warm to. If this was going to be a 10 part series then we’d have more of chance to get interested in them but as this is only a two part drama it leaves you a little distant from them.

There’s plenty going on and the plot is certainly intriguing as the deaths of mother and daughter become only one part of a much wider investigation as a young mother Sally Thorne gets involved in the mystery having had a brief fling with Mark Bretherick.

But a head-twisting mystery is not enough to make great TV and while Case Sensitive is a solid detective drama it’s nowhere near as good as some of ITV’s earlier dramas like Marchlands, Vera or The Reckoning.

Next review: Vera review

  1. I agree with this review altough Olivia Williams is so good I would like to see another series. Still enjoyable

    Daniel    May 6    #