From Darkness should’ve begun with former cop Claire Church (Anne-Marie Duff) re-enacting Al Pacino from The Godfather Part III bemoaning, “Just when I think I’m *out*, they pull me back *in*!”
She quit the police force 16 years ago, but the continuity announcer attempted to instil some fear before it started with “her past is coming back to haunt her”!
Two prostitutes were found buried under a building site, where they have lain for 15 years. After her job was a big ball of stress, she escaped to the Western Isles of Scotland to get away from everything and is now happily settled with her boyfriend and daughter, living amongst a community of just 43 people.
Cue her being in shock when her old boss, DS John Hind (Johnny Harris – the man you hire when Eddie Marsan isn’t available), drops in unannounced. He needs her back because the case relates back to when she worked on it, compiling a list of ladies of the night who went missing. Yes, it’s a ridiculous premise.
Since this is a post-watershed gritty drama, we need to be informed that the corpses were treated with hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to to dissolve them. Oh, and that they were tied up and tortured. Claire declares of the girls, after she’s investigated the scene, “They weren’t tied. They were trussed! Like meat!” And right on cue later on, John uses the same phrase in another conversation, solely because she said it.
By the halfway mark, the third body had been found, but she decided to give the whole shebang a miss and get the train back, but as she’s looking in her bag whilst on the train, she sees John has slipped case documents in there. Ooh, the crafty so-and-so! Naturally, she comes back. If she didn’t, then it would be a short series.
At the same time, the news report states that the killer could still be active after all this time. And since this is a four-part drama, then of course he is. And of course it’s a man.
Towards the end we learned Claire and John were doing the do with each other on the side whilst one of the prositutes needed help, so when John’s wife later said to him, “You’re still thinking about her, aren’t you? ….Sally Fisher” (the inference being that guilty John thought she was talking about Claire and not one of the girls who were murdered) She adds: “Give the dead a night off”, but he’s called out to the body of a new murder – one who we learned earlier received a curious text, “I’m offering you freedom. A chance to escape.”
The bound and burnt corpse has a note stuck into clasped hands. It simply reads: “A9645”, which, even without knowing, would be assumed to be is Claire’s badge number. AND IT IS! So someone’s clearly got a score to settle and it’ll drag her back in for sure, blah, blah, blah…
Similar to her character, Ms Duff has semi-retired from acting so she can also have a life, but she was tempted back with this role. It’s good to see her back on prime time TV, but it’s far from a revolutionary concept, and I really can’t see why this pedestrian tosh drew her back.
In fact, it was so tired and predictable that if you were playing ‘Drama Bullshit Bingo’, you would’ve ended up with a Full House by the end of the episode.
From Darkness continues on Sunday on BBC1 at 9pm, and you can pre-order the Series 1 Blu=ray and DVD, ahead of its release on November 9th. Also, the first episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until November 3rd, and click on the top-right picture for the full-size image. As of yet, the series hasn’t been announced for release on Blu-ray and DVD.
Episode 1 Score: 4/10
Director: Dominic Leclerc
Producer: Helen Ziegler
Screenplay: Katie Baxendale
Music: Edmund Butt
Claire Church: Anne-Marie Duff
Norrie Duncan: Richard Rankin
DCI John Hind: Johnny Harris
Superintendent Lola Keir: Caroline Lee Johnson
DS Anthony Boyce: Luke Newberry
Megan Duncan: Cora Tsang
Gordon: Gerry McLaughlin
Refreshment Man: Dominic Doughty
Julie Hind: Leanne Best
Lucy Maxley: Lyndsey Marshal
Agota Calgys: Elina Alminas
Jack Hind: Josh Glen
Ollie Hind: Josh Taylor
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.