Payback is a new six-part thriller on ITV which has Jed Mecurio’s name attached to it – he who brought us the brilliant Line of Duty – yet, it’s not him writing the script, which falls to Debbie O’Malley (Around The World In 80 Days (2021)).
I won’t give any plot details which haven’t already been given in the basic billing, but it centres around Morven Christie (Lockwood And Co) as Lexie Noble, a woman with a child, and a husband, Jared (Thoren Ferguson), up until the time, early on in the first epiosde, when it transpires he’s rather in over his head as the accountant to crime boss Cal Morris (Peter Mullan – Ozark).
Basically, this is one of those dramas where one of the couple dies, and the other one hasn’t a clue what’s been going on, so in Lexie’s case, she starts looking into all this and wonders how she ever got involved with a man who she seemingly knew little about.
There’s ridiculous contrived plotlines to the point where *we* find out what’s happeninbg, but the surviving spouse won’t have a clue, and as a result, it all feels like something we’ve seen many times before, and thus, is more like summer filler than autumn flagship drama. Plus, in her case, for someone who’s clearly astute, the bad guys shouldn’t be able to pull the wool over her eyes, surely?
There’s also a clichéd situation of cops – including DC Jibran Khan (Prasanna Puwanarajah – Three Families) – looking things up without authority – even though any such system would be fully auditable, and random checks would be made. If you don’t have the access, you’d lose your job. What a stupid bunch of clowns this lot are.
Meanwhile, as good as Peter Mullan always is, the script has him uttering nonsense like “I’m not someone you say ‘no’ to”. Oh, give your head a wobble, mate!
So, Payback has six episodes, but I think I’ve spent enough time with just the first one. Both Morven and Mullan are always in high-demand, so it won’t be long before they’re onscreen again in something much better.
As for where Mr Mercurio was involved, he’s classed as “Executive Producer”, which is a meaningless job. You don’t “executive-produce” anything. It could mean anything from doing a lot, to simply owning the studio that made it, similar to how Arnold Schwarzenegger was the same for Last Action Hero, because he owned Oak Productions which made it.
Payback begins tonight on ITV at 9pm. Once aired, each episode will also be on ITVX. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Writer: Debbie O’Malley
Music: Chris Roe
Lexie Noble: Morven Christie
Jared Noble: Thoren Ferguson
DC Jibran Khan: Prasanna Puwanarajah
DC Alice Hardy: Grace Chilton
Cal Morris: Peter Mullan
Connie Morris: Julie Graham
Doris Szabo: Eileen Duffy
Esme Noble: Olivia Lucking
Donny Noble: Roman W Sharkey
DCI Adam Guthrie: Derek Riddell
Rudy McCloud: Martin Docherty
Girl 1: Draya Maria
Girl 2: Anya McChristie
Aaron Morris: Jack Greenless
Malky Roberts: Steven Mackintosh
DI Jean Royce: Andi Osho
DS Rob Livingston: Steven Miller
Rowena Hayes: Anneika Rose
Rufus Hayes: Henry Pettigrew
Jason Perry: Levi Brown
Billy Ross: Douglas Russell
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.