We know what you’re thinking. Please, please don’t recommend another detective drama – we’ve stopped caring whodunnit and started asking who hasn’t dunnit. We hear you, but Must’s mission is to bring you the hottest TV, and what can we say? Detective drama makes for hot, sizzling shows. Besides, this isn’t your average DD. Set in the 1970s, with Doctor Foster’s Bertie Carvel as the lead man, this will have you donning your inspector’s hat.
Adapted from three of P.D. James’ bestselling Inspector Dalgliesh novels, this is not the first revision to grace our screens with its presence, and we have already seen the protagonist portrayed by legends Roy Marsden and Martin Shaw. To The Telegraph’s Anita Singh, “the casting of Bertie Carvel initially gave cause for alarm, because Dalgliesh is the unshowiest of detectives and Carvel is best known for his larger-than-life performances”. However, for The Times, Carol Midgely thinks “his understated performance gave things a touch of class”, offering “a quiet, restrained performance, gentle of voice and as big on facial expressions as dialogue”. These kinds of things are important in a series with a plot as predictable as a Sunday morning hangover (no beef to P.D. James, but predictability is somewhat a given when it comes to detective dramas).
One thing we love about this version of Dalgliesh (apart from Dalgliesh himself who is described in the script as “an arrogant son of a bitch. Sexy though”) is its 70s vibe. “You could almost smell the boiling cabbage and disinfectant,” The Guardian’s Barbara Ellen writes, calling the series “a festering miasma of blood-spattered gingham, secret resentments, illicit liaisons and Nazi war criminals” – see, we told you it isn’t boring.
But Dalgliesh’s greatest strength lies in its simplicity, described by Ellen as “a solid, old-school production” with “no bells and whistles, which these days feels hysterically radical. Sometimes,” she continues, “it just works to have a story plainly told.” Simple as.
First shown November 2021.