Criminal Acts

                             

 Robin is a journalist with a long rap sheet of jobs in TV magazines, from Radio Times to the Daily Mirror's We Love Telly.
 

Hidden

BBC1, from Thursday 6 October, 9pm

 


Thekla Reuten, Philip Glenister and David Suchet. Pics: BBC/Origin

Playing Gene Hunt in Life on Mars turned Philip Glensiter into a cult star. But if anything his new role as cheapo solicitor Harry Venn in Ronan Bennett’s absorbing new conspiracy thriller is much better.

 This is a grittier part, and Glenister moves from larger-than-life to deadly serious with skill and terrific versatility. Venn is a man with a past, having been the getaway driver in a robbery when he was young. During one disastrous job, Harry’s older brother was killed.

 That desperate time comes back to fiercely shake Venn when a mysterious and attractive female lawyer, Gina Hawke (Thekla Reuten), turns up at his office above a shop. She says she’s acting for a mate of his from his criminal days.

 This mate, Steve Quirke, who’s in prison, wants Harry to locate another old chum, a criminal called Joe Collins. Not only does Harry suspect something is not right about Gina, but he is dismayed and angry when Quirke tells him he’s recently seen a mutual friend of theirs, Hillman, who was also pronounced dead after the robbery.

 The question for Harry now is, what really happened at that robbery and who was behind the deaths.

 This noir thriller really draws you in. London at night is stunningly photographed, Gina is an elusive femme fatale and Harry is totally on edge. Sleeping with his ex-wife, snorting cocaine and breaking the law to work out what’s going on.

 The mystery is played out against the backdrop of a major political scandal involving the Prime Minister and riots on the streets, and it will be interesting to see how these events collide with Harry’s frantic investigation.

 This four-parter also stars David Suchet, Lisa Kay and Anna Chancellor.

 

Romanzo Criminale

Sky Arts, from Tuesday, 4 October, 9pm

 


Ice, the Lebanese, Patrizia, Dandi and Scialoja (front). Pics: BSkyB

Now that subtitled Euro-crime series are no longer considered naff, thanks to the huge successes of The Killing and Wallander, Sky Arts is getting in on the act with this sweeping gang drama from Italy.

 This has all the production values of a 22-part cinema movie, with fast-moving action filmed on the streets of Rome, violence, bad language, nudity and an engrossing story.

 It’s based on real events in 1970s Rome, when a coalition of criminals – known as the Banda della Magliana – tried to rule over the capital’s patchwork of minor gangs. While the Mafia and Camorra reigned in Sicily and Naples, no one organisation dominated Rome.

 The story focuses on a small-time gangster called the Lebanese (Francesco Montanari), who is sick of his high-risk, low-reward life as a crook, and dreams of usurping the city’s major warlord, who everyone calls Il Terribile (Marco Giallini).

 He links his gang with that of Ice, and together they launch their first bid to make big money – the kidnapping of a wealthy aristocrat. While the gangs bicker and the job goes tragically wrong, they still get their ransom, and the Lebanese talks the crooks into investing in a new enterprise – drugs.

 On their trail is the idealistic police inspector Scialoja (Marco Bocci), who, while untainted by the corruption around him, still becomes attracted to the prostitute girlfriend of one of the gang members – the beautiful Patrizia (Daniela Virgilio).

 Romanzo Criminale is based on a 1000-page book by Roman judge Giancarlo De Cataldo, who changed character names and some details, but captures the real events surrounding a tumultuous and frightening time in Italian history.

 It was the era of the Red Brigades and the kidnap of Aldo Moro. This backdrop affects the Banda when corrupt elements of the secret services try to enlist them in destabilising the government and provoking a right-wing coup.

 All of which is a long way from the quaint goings-on in homegrown staples such as Midsomer Murders. Get the spaghetti and meatballs on and settle down in front of the box on 4 October…

 

The usual suspects… and new suspects

 

There are some popular shows coming back, and a few intriguing new crime series on the way. Here's a rundown…

 Watch out for Braquo, which follows Spiral in bringing us another take on the violent cops of Paris. This time, the lives of a squad’s members are changed when their leader is falsely accused of corruption and commits suicide… Starts on FX UK on Sunday, 30 October, 10pm.


Eddy, Max, Roland Pics: FX



 The BBC has commissioned a lot of brand-new stuff. There's Savage by Stephen Butchard, about a Liverpool beat cop who witnesses the murder of his closest friend.

 May Day is a five-part BBC thriller, written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip (Whitechapel), about a young girl whose disappearance spreads suspicion through a community.

 The Fuse sees a politician wake up after an alcoholic night to realise he could be responsible for a murder. Daniel Demoys has gone from being an idealistic young man to a corrupt council official. Can he redeem himself? This BBC1 psychological thriller is slated for 2012.

 Inside Men is a BBC four-parter about security depot employees who decide the rip the place off in a £15m heist. Starring Steven Mackintosh (Camelot, Luther), Ashley Walters (Outcasts), Warren Brown (Luther) and Kierston Wareing (The Shadow Line).

 Death in Paradise stars Ben Miller and French star Sara Martins in an eight-part BBC production with France Televisions. It's about a quintessential English cop posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. While to anyone else the job is paradise, to Richard Poole (Miller) it's hell…

 Top of the Lake is an atmospheric new multi-part drama series for BBC2 from Oscar-winning writer/director Jane Campion. A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won't say who the father is, insisting it was 'no one'. Then she disappears.

 Sherlock – another three episodes are in the pipeline for airing in 2012, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes along with Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Una Stubbs and Rupert Graves. Showrunner Steven Moffat says, 'The three stories will be called A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of the Baskervilles and The Reichenbach Fall.'

 Dirk Gently is another much-loved classic that will return after its modest try-out last December on BBC4. Three hour-long stories about Douglas Adams' holistic detective will also go out next year.

 Meanwhile, ITV have recommissioned quite a few crime series after their initial success.

 Whitechapel, with Rupert Penry-Jones, is filming now, 'bigger and bolder than before', according to its produces, David Boulter. Of the new season, Boulter also says, 'Gruesome present day investigations summon the ghosts of the past, screaming and restless.'

 Above Suspicion will return for a fourth series, with Kelly Reilly and Miaran Hinds. 'Silent Scream' is being adapted by Lynda La Plante from her successful novel about detective Anna Travis.

 Lewis – which regularly notches up more than seven-million viewers – has been recommissioned. The three new films are called 'Generation of Vipers',  'The Age of Follishness', and 'Death of the Author'.

 Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn, will be back in four new cases set in Northumberland and Newcastle.

 Scott & Bailey will go back into production in October, filming eight new stories with Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp.

 Case Sensitive – DS Charlie Zailer (Olivia Williams) and DC Simon Waterhouse (Darren Boyd) will return in a new two-part story.

 Endeavour – and ITV is also making this prequel to Morse, starring Shaun Evans as the young Morse during the 1960s.

 


Shaun Evans Pics: ITV

Kidnap and Ransom, with Trevor Eve as international hostage negotiator Dominic King, is coming back for a second outing. Filming (by Eve's production company, Projector Pictures) will begin in South Africa in September.

 Sky Atlantic has a really intriguing new series in production called Hit and Miss. This is created by Paul Abbott (Exile, Shameless, State of Play, Touching Evil) and stars Chloe Sevigny in the lead as Mia, a contract killer with a secret – she's a transgender woman. Also starring Peter Wight, Jonas Armstrong and Vincent Regan. This six-parter will air in 2012.

 Meanwhile, the second season of Boardwalk Empire will return on Saturday, 8 October, at 9pm.

 Sky1 is also making another four episodes of Mad Dogs for 2012. Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren have all signed for the new series.

 Robin Jarossi is a TV journalist and the editor of CrimeTimePreview.com
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