TV X-Streamist | ‘Collision,’ ‘Bodyguard,’ ‘Line of Duty,’ and More

British Justice: Smarter Criminals, Neater Parameters

'Bodyguard' | Credit: Courtesy

Why does British crime seem to adhere to neater parameters than our own, and the criminals seem smarter? I’m sure that’s just an illusion based on their accents, but the fact that there are no subtitles is a great break from other foreign crimes series.

Collision (Masterpiece via Amazon): There’s a fatal six-car accident on the A12, and everyone tangentially involved becomes drawn into a dramatic, twisty investigation, especially the police. Aired in ’09, this five-episode crime drama has rarely been outdone.

Bodyguard (Netflix): Everyone I know loved this sexy government conspiracy thriller, and in fact, the BBC announced it was their most-watched series ever. That was in 2018, and if you missed it, I want to know why.

Injustice (Acorn via Amazon): When a disillusioned criminal defense barrister takes on an old friend’s trial for murder, things become … even more disillusioning. But for the audience, that’s a good thing. The season was broadcast in 2011, before anyone ever heard of Brexit, and if they did, they thought it was something you nibbled at tea time. 

Line of Duty (Acorn via Amazon): There have been five nail-biting seasons of this series about a Scotland Yard anti-corruption unit, and each one has been an audience and critical hit. Arguably, the first was the best, but I’m open to discussion. The plotting is always brilliant, and the ensemble cast is consistently memorable.

Luther (Amazon): Many of us were introduced to this series and its star, Idris Elba, in 2010, so we’ve proudly had our major crush on him for a decade. In these five cannily well-crafted seasons, he plays a brilliant, self-destructive detective walking a line on the right side of the law. His personal life is tortured and his methods often violent. Interactions with his squad and the criminals they hunt down are dense, but none of it is for the fainthearted.

Vera (Amazon): DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) has been solving murder mysteries in Northumberland since 2011 and is still going strong. I think so, anyway, since I took a break a few years ago though plan on resuming. Vera is charming, witty, and nobody’s fool, though criminals tend to underestimate her. Nailing the bad guy is usually trickier than you think.

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