Babylon Monday, 8.30pm, BBC First (117)
At first glance, this looks as though it’s shaping up to be another excellent British crime drama. But it differs from others in that it tackles controversies that have dogged London’s police for years, and is laced with black humour. Babylon centres on a branch of the Metropolitan Police Service that is doing a somewhat dysfunctional job of handling the chaos that crosses its path daily. Commissioner Richard Miller (James Nesbitt) hires American public relations expert Liz Garvey (Brit Marling) as director of communications. Her job is to effect order and improve the force’s negative image, but her efforts to get everyone to lift their game are not appreciated by some of the boys. This 90minute episode was a test run (it was followed up with a six-part series that premiered in Britain earlier this year), and it opens with a squad raiding a home where the owner appears half naked (the bottom half) and they taser the poor dog — which almost lost me then and there, but it runs upstairs so I relaxed. Things take a dramatic turn when a series of what appear to be random shootings breaks out. All this turmoil is offset by some very funny lines. Writers Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong and Jon Brown consulted the Met’s former deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick to make sure the scripts were authentic. That alone is something to ponder.