What would a fresh week of TV be without a police procedural to get everyone’s pulses pounding? A breath of fresh air, perhaps, but let’s not lie to ourselves – deep down we love them, and when there’s a good writer as the driving force of the drama, the genre is a bottomless pit of entertainment. Good thing then, that BritBox’s new drama Crime has Irvine Welsh behind the wheel.
The series is adapted from Welsh’s book of the same name, which follows the story of a kidnapped child and a familiar whodunnit pursuit, all against Edinburgh’s gothic backdrop – what else would you expect from Welsh?
To The Guardian’s Barbara Ellen, “this pithy, spry Scottish production makes a bracing change from English thrillers, which too often comprise identikit middle-class characters politely sighing next to posh mixer taps in fabulous kitchens”. In his trademark style, Welsh makes it clear that there is nothing fabulous, or middle-class for that matter, about the world which he builds, and the grim brutalism of Crime’s setting gives the very worst 60s carbuncles a run for their money.
And it is Dougray Scott, who excels as the lead, Detective Inspector Ray Lennox, according to Ellen, who describes him as delivering “a triple espresso shot of characterisation as a maverick who’s already bored with being a maverick.”
Sean O’Grady, writer for The Independent, is in agreement, putting the success of the show “down to the sharp, sardonic, vernacular script’ but “mostly because of the presence, in all senses, of Dougray Scott,” who has a face “that looks like Welsh might have moulded himself from clay” – a strange image, but one which fans of Welsh will relate to on seeing Scott in action.
However, Guardian critic Lucy Mangan has some pretty major gripes with the series, calling it a “dreich and plodding affair…disappointingly conventional stuff from the author known for his exuberance and excess”, offering the ultimate punch to the gut by claiming “it could have been written by anyone”. First shown November 2021.