Paranoid: Episode 2 – Something’s Not Right (Review)

Screenshot from Paranoid

The team of detectives are still trying to find out who really killed the GP Angela Benton. Nina, Alec and Bobbie are not only investigating the woman’s dead ex husband, who dies in the same week as his former wife, they are working to discover the “Ghost Detective’s” motives for helping them.

Michael, the “PC Plod” inspector who wants to hang Angela’s murder on their number one suspect, the late Jacob Appley. After finding the murder weapon with Appley’s prints on it, Niles is convinced that have their killer.

Unfortunately, as the detectives point out “something is not right” with this case. The German detective who finds the dead body of Angela’s ex, and his current love interest; American girlfriend and party pal, Sheri, also believes that something about the man’s death does not add up.

It is beginning to look like the Ghost Detective may be leading them in the right direction. Later, Alec and Bobbie hunt down the “GD” only for Wayfield to be thrown off the catwalk and Bobbie calling for backup.

(On a sidenote: This has to be the first series to utilize the new holiday (vacation) rental business “Airbnb” as part of its plot. The two cops, after canvassing all the known hotels then decide to focus on the Airbnb listings in the area. They strike paydirt when a landlord reveals that a German gentleman is renting his boathouse.)

Away from the search for Benton’s killer, the cops continue on their personal journeys. Nina and Alec indulge in a bit of slap and tickle at his mother’s birthday party and Bobbie is getting ever more involved with Lucy.

The Quaker follow invites the homicide cop to another meeting and asks if he would like to spend the night. Bobbie replies that he would. It is quite interesting that in each Quaker meeting no one says anything.

It is not clear whether this is a case of keeping the extra’s pay rates down or the fact that Quakers do not indulge in any verbal exchanges at their meetings. Either way, the moments where Bobbie indulges in the peaceful “sit-ins” are odd and a bit disconcerting.

In a way, Lucy is also a bit odd and disconcerting. It appears that she is almost able to read Bobbie’s mind.  The two are fairly perfect fit as both people are a bit esoteric.

Alec and Nina are messily getting involved after Dennis, Suresh’s partner gave her the old heave ho.  The age difference does not bother Wayfield but Nina cannot make up her mind about the younger man being the right fit.

Suresh is still a passive agressive mess who constantly vacillates between eager participant and awkward acceptance.  Alec’s mum, whom he says is a habitual liar, does not like the detective and she may attempt to scupper the budding romance.

Meanwhile the Ghost Detective continues to send clues and information to the team. He also tells the trio that any mention of him will be hazardous to his health. Michael Niles is dead set against any involvement with the outsider.

Alec shows a property he is renovating to Nina and suggests that they set up an incident room there away from the disapproving eyes of Niles. This way, he argues, they can continue collecting information that has been provided by the Ghost Detective.

Paranoid moves at a languid pace which may put some viewers off. There is, however, a lot going on. The personal interactions between the detectives, Bobbie’s attraction to Lucy and the investigation in Germany have, thus far, kept things interesting.

The death of the GP’s ex seems to indicate a conspiracy of sorts, even without the Ghost Detective’s messages. The team have not yet broadened their search to include Europe. Michael Niles has been too focussed upon pinning the crime on Jacob Appley.

This episode ends with Nina still trying to contact Alec who has been thrown into the water and Bobbie in a panicked state, calling for help. The attack by the German suspect may be what leads the team to Germany.

Paranoid is streaming on Netflix at the moment and all episodes are available to watch at once.  Slow and somewhat sporadocally eventful, this series will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Those who enjoy a bit of character work may find this lackadaisical mystery interesting.

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Paranoid: A Slow Boil (Review)

Screenshot from Paranoid

Paranoid is a crime series set in Cheshire that uses a “softly softly” approach in its pacing. This is a slow boil but the pacing allows the show to present some interesting characters with a lot of depth.   It comes from the same chap who brought us the  2009 The Prisoner re-imagining; Bill Gallagher.

The eight part series, which aired on Netflix in September, has a lot of familiar faces. From Shobna Gulati from Coronation Street and Dinner Ladies as the physician treating Detective Bobby Day (Robert Glenister) to Indira Varma as Nina and the splendid Lesley Sharp as Lucy Cannonbury.

A woman is stabbed to death in broad daylight in the play area of a park. Quick thinking Lucy grabs the victim’s child and saves him.   As the detectives question witnesses and Lucy, a “ghost” detective begins his own investigation.

Lucy and a number of other witnesses are approached by Detective “Galen.”  The dead woman’s father; Eric Benton (played by John Duttine) reveals that her ex husband is an American who lives in Germany.

The cast of characters are an interesting lot. Nina has just been dumped by her boyfriend of four and a half years. Alec, her partner at work (played by Dino Fetscher) gives her a shoulder to lean on and Bobby, the senior detective of the group seems to be suffering from severe anxiety. 

Nina is an abrasive and over the top detective that would drive anyone mad who had to spend any amount of time with her. Presumably in her long relationship she was a bit calmer.

Bobby feels like he is one step from a breakdown and he is drawn to their main witness, Lucy.  The detectives contact a German colleague; Det. Linda Felber (Christiane Paul) and ask her to  hunt down the victim’s ex.

The detectives ask Linda to inform the victim’s ex about her death and to find out anything else about the man. Ferber goes to hunt the man down and she finds his dead body floating in an indoor pool.

Bobby is sent a DVD from the “ghost detective.” The footage on the recording is of him.

This Studio Canal production seems to be taking a leaf from the Brit crime thriller River; offering up cops with a full set of issues.  Like the BBC drama, the police are as interesting as the crime they are investigating.

Lesley Sharp, who won two Best Actress Awards for the 2005 drama Afterlife (which also starred a pre The Walking Dead’s  Andrew Lincoln) manages to command every single scene she is in. .

Game of Thrones actress Varma gives a complex performance portraying a woman who is annoying as hell one moment and then softly vulnerable the next. Her character is also, it seems, a pretty good cop.

The added device of the ghost detective makes for a complex storyline but it is the impending meltdown of Bobby that grabs the viewers attention.  Like River, Paranoid moves at a languid pace but this allows for a depth of character its story to be solidly revealed.

This may not be a quaint and twee British drawing room mystery but it offers up a puzzle that will, or will not, be solved by detectives who feel real. These cops are damaged people who have a job to do and their issues make it all the more interesting.

It looks like the detectives in Paranoid will be following clues across Europe.

Paranoid is streaming on Netflix. Head over and check this British mystery out.