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.

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