Save Me centres around Nelly (Lennie James), rather a modern day Arthur Daley, doing a bit of wheeling and dealing here and there, rather than a proper job.
He has principles to a degree, but being monogamous isn’t one of them, as he lives with Tina, aka ‘Teens’ (Kerry Godliman), but he’s sleeping with several women at once. In such a small community, that does stretch credibility a bit. Being the world’s greatest Dad isn’t high on his list of priorities, either, as he hasn’t seen his 13-year-old daughter, Jody, in 10 years, so he’s as surprised as anyone when the police burst in and arrest him on suspicion of her abduction. As they quiz him about her, he has no idea what they’re talking about.
He doesn’t keep the best of friends, either, since one of them, Melon (Stephen Graham), is a serial paedophile.
This was billed as coming from the same team as Line of Duty, but it doesn’t have the same writer, Jed Mecurio, so I’m not too surprised that after a strong start, this feels like it coasts along in the mid-section, doing not a lot more than I’d expect from such a series – the parents panic and argue, Nelly doesn’t like the man that Claire married after him, they hold a reconstruction of the girl’s disappearance, etc.
Yes, it has some big names in the cast, but there’s nothing really that’s out of the ordinary, with very little depth added to the characters, and when the fingers point, it’s always at the same cast members, until they need to come to a conclusion. Lennie James just tends to shout a lot, but Stephen Graham is definitely one of the best cast members, as he usually is.
Nelly’s also not the sort of guy you’d normally root for, given how he invests so much time hopping from bed to bed, so while you hope the girl will return safe and well, you do get a bit too much of his shouting and gnashing of teeth.
Save Me could easily have been cut down to 4 episodes, but without giving spoilers, when it comes to the revelations in episode 5, I wasn’t expecting things to take the turn they did. Things do improve in the finale, but it was just a shame that it slows down in the middle two episodes.
Overall, if the first two episodes grip your interest then it’s worth sticking with, but don’t think this is as good as Line of Duty, even though that can get a bit daft from time to time.
Save Me begins tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm, but all six episodes are available to view now. It is also available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on May 7th.
Director: Nick Murphy
Producer: Patrick Schweitzer
Writers: Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith
Music: Dustin O’Halloran and Bryan Senti
Nelly: Lennie James
Claire McGory: Suranne Jones
Barry McGory: Barry Ward
DS Shola O’Halloran: Nadine Marshall
Melon: Stephen Graham
Tam: Jason Flemyng
Teens: Kerry Godliman
Bernie: Alice Feetham
Luke: Alexander Arnold
Joanna: Amelia Bennett
Gavin: Ragevan Vasan
Stace: Susan Lynch
Zita: Camilla Beeput
Goz: Thomas Coombes
Daisy: Remmie Milner
DCI Ian Thorpe: Alan McKenna
Richard: Struan Rodger
Gideon: Adrian Edmondson
Jody McGory: Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness
BJ McGory: Phil Dunster
Bertram: Daniel Adegboyega
Lorraine: Leni Zieglmeier
Grace: Olive Gray
Dylan Jenson: Nicholas Croucher
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.