I wouldn’t blame anyone who felt they had seen more than enough cop dramas on British TV, said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph – but the BBC’s latest six-part thriller is a cracker. Written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, who brought us The Salisbury Poisonings, Blue Lights doesn’t have “a duff line or an overcooked scene”.
The drama centres on three rookie constables in Belfast negotiating their more experienced colleagues on one side, the city’s criminals on the other, and dodgy intelligence officers in between. There are shocking incidents involving sectarian and drugs violence, but it isn’t relentlessly dark or political.
This cleverly observed drama has a “fresh, irreverent quality” and a wealth of well-drawn characters, agreed Carol Midgley in The Times. It doesn’t downplay the violent resistance to the police in Belfast, but the bleakness is not allowed to override the humanity.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
The premise, of three greenhorns thrown into a fraught and dangerous environment, almost guarantees excitement, said Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian. Unlike their experienced colleagues, the rookies don’t know which battles are not worth fighting – particularly Grace (Sian Brooke), an idealistic ex-social worker. Meanwhile, the earnest Tommy (Nathan Braniff) struggles to project authority, and the hard-partying Annie (Katherine Devlin) has to lie to her friends about her job. There are many tantalising threads: “What’s real, and what is a setup? What counts as courage, and what is plain stupidity?” It’s well-crafted, and often thrilling.
Where to watch: BBC iPlayer
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.