New Blood Case 2 centres around the mysterious death on a building site where, to us viewers there’s no mystery – we know what happened from the start, but the cops have to figure it all out because the baddies certainly aren’t going to spill the beans.
The site is where the Scimitar is being built, yet another hideous building sprouting up in London. Peter Mayhew (Mark Bonnar) wants Eleanor Davies (Anna Chancellor) to nail corrupt MP and planning minister Charles Matherson (Alastair Pitrie), who commissioned the structure. Amongst dodgy dealings, bribery and corruption, including Polish construction worker Adam Jannsen (Bart Suavek) taking £1000 bungs, who’s to blame in all this?
The case brings Rash (Ben Tavassoli) and Stefan (Mark Strepan) back to work together, although initially they spend most of the time on separate missions, and when they are together, they’re less effective than the Keystone Cops, which makes you wonder how a third case (and, even, a second series) could realistically come about for this pair… but then again, there’s little realism going on here.
The plot is less complex than a Mr Men story. When back in the office, anything Rash says is what actually happened regarding Jannsen, while anything his superior, Sands (Mark Addy), says, is a pile of baloney. And, naturally, Sands has boss, Heywood (Dorian Lough, doing his best ‘Inspector Chisolm’ from Minder), criticises Rash for thinking he knows best… despite the fact he clearly does.
There’s cliches by the bucketload, such as Stefan being cornered by angry guard dog at a most inopportune moment, and the pair of them falling asleep on the job when they’re meaning to stay awake. And at another point, Stefan is still trying to get into Leila’s knickers… and she’s almost letting him.
Without giving spoilers, there’s a stupid moment around ten minutes in when we see a character who we saw at the start. We KNOW it’s him because we can see his face, yet the programme still decides to ‘flashback’ to the moment we first saw him as if we’re stupid!
Writer Anthony Horowitz also crowbars in a dialogue-free cameo 15 minutes into episode one.
However, at least two episodes works much better as a format than three. As I stated in my review of Case 1, those three could easily have been condensed down. And, in a way, they’d work better as a two-hour film rather than two separate episodes broadcast a week apart. With the iPlayer preview, you can see them both together.
New Blood Case 2 very much just coasts along. It’s okay but far from essential viewing as it’s all a bit too stupidly tongue in cheek when it’s meant to be even a teensy bit serious. The two leads work well together, but the script is more tired than a narcoleptic.
New Blood Series 1 is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on July 25th, and Case 2 airs traditionally from next Thursday, June 30th on BBC1 at 9pm. However, you can watch all of Case two on BBC iPlayer, while Case 1 is still available in full for the next 16 days. Also, click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Case 2 (Episodes 4-5) Score: 5/10
Director: Anthony Philipson
Series Producer: Eve Gutierrez
Writer: Anthony Horowitz
Music: Neil Davidge
Stefan Kowolski: Mark Strepan
Rash Sayyad: Ben Tavassoli
DS Derek Sands: Mark Addy
Marcus Johnson: Ariyon Bakare
Mark Craig: Matt Bardock
Adam Jannsen: Bart Suavek
Charles Matherson: Alistair Petrie
John Gulliver: Gary Oliver
Eva: Julia Rosnowska
Roman: Alec Utgoff
DI Martin Heywood: Dorian Lough
Peter Mayhew: Mark Bonnar
Eleanor Davies: Anna Chancellor
Alison White: Kimberley Nixon
Louis Wesley: Sebastian Armesto
Elias Wesley: Jack Gordon
Leila Sayyad: Aiysha Hart
Anchor woman: Cindy Humphrey
Karen Andrews: Joan Iyiola
PA: Georgia Kerr
Jerry Clarke: Jordan Long
Raymond Keane: Stephen Lord
DS David Milton: Micahel Wildman
Helen Matherson: Anna Wilson Jones
Susan Chen: Naomi Yichen Christie
Fork lift driver: Paddy Daly
Policeman: James MacLachlan
Museum Expert: Kerry Shale
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.