IN PLAIN SIGHT
2ENTERTAIN Out Now
The old-school dynamic between cop and criminal still has legs when it comes to crime drama. Continuing TV’S recent form in period serial killers – Rillington Place, Dark Angel – ITV casts a crack duo in its psycho-study of how a detective gradually nailed ’50s Scottish spiv Peter Manuel, a cop‑taunting murderer.
Terrific as Manuel, Line Of Duty’s Martin Compston pinpoints the Brylcreem’d beast of Birkenshaw’s vanity, a weakness that would prove crucial – in plain sight – to his eventual capture. Detective William Muncie’s doggedness is equally well captured by Douglas Henshall ( Shetland), all beady eyes and soft-spoken steel.
Although three episodes isn’t enough to convey Muncie’s long-haul patience, every nicotine-harrowed interior feels lived-in, and director John Strickland’s discreet details bring the story to life: while Manuel’s letters ooze smarm, a comic found by a child victim’s bedside is heartrending. Some of the symbolism (a broken family photo, say) is overstated, but there’s no recourse to excessive violence or histrionics for the series climax. As Compston and Henshall face off across a table, this keenly focused procedural generates all the cat-and-mouse tension it needs.
Dogged detective Muncie (Douglas Henshall) on the case.