NO OF­FENCE

BOAST­ING OUT­RA­GEOUS CHAR­AC­TERS AND AU­THEN­TIC PRO­CE­DURAL DE­TAILS, PAUL AB­BOTT’S NO OF­FENCE WAS HAILED AS A UNIQUE NEW HY­BRID OF BLACK COM­EDY AND COP DRAMA. AS IT RE­TURNS FOR A SEC­OND SE­RIES, CRIMESCENE VIS­ITS THE SET OF THE SHOW THAT BUSTED THE TV GENRE RU

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - BY VICKI POWER

Dis­cussing the Chan­nel 4 com­edy-crime drama that breaks all the TV rules.

The precinct thrums with a pur­pose­ful en­ergy. Of­fi­cers are hunched over com­puter screens, pe­rus­ing im­pen­e­tra­ble lists of data; in a cor­ner, a small knot of de­tec­tives speak in hushed tones, chew­ing over im­por­tant clues. A uni­formed cop­per strides out of the in­spec­tor’s of­fice car­ry­ing im­por­tant-look­ing files un­der his arm.

Then the fa­mil­iar­ity of this tableau is in­stantly shat­tered as, in a cor­ner of­fice with win­dows, in full view of ev­ery­one, a glam­orous, mid­dle-aged wo­man in heels takes off her red dress to re­veal a slinky black slip un­der­neath. Stranger still, while dis­rob­ing the wo­man con­tin­ues the meet­ing that she was hav­ing with a male col­league, as if she hadn’t just stripped down to her smalls, in full view of him and 20 col­leagues…

Crime Scene hasn’t yet men­tioned the cam­eras, stu­dio lights and crew also present in this vast room, nor the fa­mil­iar faces of ac­tors Elaine Cas­sidy, Joanna Scan­lan and Alexan­dra Roach. We’re in Manch­ester on the set of No Of­fence, the bril­liant Chan­nel 4 cop drama cre­ated by Paul Ab­bott ( State Of Play, Shame­less) which broke all the rules when it pre­miered last year.

Fo­cus­ing on the work of Manch­ester’s cops as they po­lice the city’s mean streets, No Of­fence’s black hu­mour ar­rived with a bang – lit­er­ally – when the se­ries’ open­ing few min­utes in­vited view­ers to laugh as a po­lice officer (Cas­sidy) chased a sus­pect un­til he col­lided with a bus. The first se­ries also fea­tured such en­velope­push­ing plots as pros­ti­tutes with Down’s Syn­drome and nurses tak­ing co­caine.

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