Yes, JK Rowling, since Robert Galbraith, the ‘author’ of the books on which this series is based, is her pen name.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first of three stories to be brought to the small screen centred around the injured war veteran-turned-private eye, played by Tom Burke. Having never experienced the world of Strike before, I wasn’t blown away by how it opened in a way we’ve seen so many times before: scruffy male lead with a troubled past, women trouble and a dank office which he clearly lives in, teams up with prim-and-proper female character, this one being secretary Robin Ellacott (Holly Grainger).
Anyhoo, the first story centres around supermodel Lula Landry (Elarica Johnson) – who we see at the very start – and whether or not her death was a suicide. Strike is hired by Lula’s brother, John Bristow (Leo Bill) to get to the bottom of things
Throw in Martin Shaw, overacting as Lula’s uncle, Tony, and Tara Fitzgerald as neighbour, Tansy Bestigui, asked to give a statement, but who looks shifty as hell but yet was barely in it, zero chemistry between the two leads and this felt plodding, mechanical, plot-by-numbers with it only being onscreen because of Rowling’s name, and since Strike lost his left leg below the knee whilst serving for his country, there had to be the single, obligatory shot of him with said limb CGI’d out.
On the basis of the clichéd first episode, Strike should be Struck off. In fact, I’ve seen the subsequent two episodes and it didn’t improve at all.
There’s also some very odd scheduling with this programme. It’s a 3-part story, yet while the first two episodes are on consecutive nights, episode 3 isn’t until next Sunday. Why not just delay the start of Casualty‘s latest series another week and then they could’ve run all three episodes together?
Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling continues tomorrow at 9pm on BBC1, with the final episode next Sunday at 9pm, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. If you missed it, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission, and click on the DVD packshot for the full-size version.
Director: Michael Keillor
Producer: Jackie Larkin
Screenplay: Ben Richards (based on the novels by Robert Galbraith)
Executive Producers: Elizabeth Kilgarriff, Ben Richards, Neil Blair, Ruth Kenley-Letts and JK Rowling
Cormoran Strike: Tom Burke
Robin Ellacott: Holliday Grainger
Tony Landry: Martin Shaw
Nico Kolovas-Jones: David Avery
John Bristow: Leo Bill
Tansy Bestigui: Tara Fitzgerald
Guy Some: Kadiff Kirwan
Matthew Cunliffe: Kerr Logan
Charlotte Champbell: Natasha O’Keeffe
DI Eric Wardle: Killian Scott
Evan Duffield: Bronson Webb
Lula Landry: Elarica Johnson
Clara Porter: Amber Anderson
Derrick Wilson: Brian Bovell
Cath: Adelle Leonce
Freddie Bestigui: Kevin Fuller
TV Reporter: Greg McKenzie
Deeby Macc: Jazz Cartier
Rochelle Onifade: Tezlym Senior-Sakutu
Sarah: Suzanna Hamilton
Carianne: Callie Coke
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.