We put New Blood under the microscope.
Detective fiction is frequently the playing field of dicks so weathered they might as well cart round the epithet “craggy” on their slumped shoulders. Anthony Horowitz’s seriocomic, London-set buddy crimer attempts the youth-slanted, none-less-nordic alternative, promising a freshness on which it almost delivers across a sevenepisode, threestory opening run.
Much of the running comes from its lead duo, who meet in a race and make winning company. Ben Tavassoli does a nice line in exasperation as Rash, a copper turned detective. Sharing the frontline is Mark Strepan’s cheeky charmer Stefan, an investigator at the Serious Fraud Office. A show starring newcomers as British-iranian/ British-polish leads already stands out, but Horowitz goes further. This pair aren’t fraught by marital or midlife crises: their concerns range from paying the rent to Stefan’s hopes of romance with Rash’s sister Leila (Aiysha Hart), a medical trainee who could use more development. As for the cases, the oh-so-now stuff of drugs trials, pharma wars, new skyscrapers and dodgy charities dominate.
Issues of plausibility and awkward dialogue aside, the main problem is that the headline-fresh themes require more urgent and persuasive plotting. Episodes 1-3 dawdle in establishing the chafing dynamic between serious Rash and impetuous Stefan; only the gleefully goofy episode 3 finale – complete with hairy leap from a high-rise hotel roof into a swimming pool – galvanises proceedings.
Refreshingly, New Blood doesn’t take itself too seriously. Horowitz plays loose with of‑the-moment material, gamely chucking in car crashes, Terminator- style female assassins and bath-house rucks. But it might have been more fun with a faster, sharper handling: underpowered pace aside, too many comic set-pieces (our dynamic duo drunk on a stake-out, say) groan with over‑familiarity.
But if you put these down to teething troubles, there’s much to enjoy from the leads, and from the seasoned supports on hand to help ease the transition to the perky new breed. Anna Chancellor is nicely withering, while Mark Addy swears well as an old-school dick who’s quite happy to give Rash the nod to do the running in chase situations. If Horowitz can pick up the pace for series 2, New Blood might yet pull off its generational handover bid.
Leila wasn’t convinced about Stefan’s idea for his boy band’s new costumes.