We’ve finally got a fresh dose of murder, mystery and sexual tension, in the latest season of Strike. J.K Rowling is once again in the press, but this time because the BBC adaptation of the fourth novel in her Cormoran Strike series, Lethal White, landed on our screens over the Bank Holiday.
The new instalment serves up more of what we got in the first three seasons, with Strike and Robin dancing around their feelings for each other, against the backdrop of an unsolved crime. The simmering love interest between the leads really sits centre stage in this new season, carrying on from a previous seven episodes of bubbling (or boiling over) chemistry between the pair. But, outside of this, the show is less chemistry, and more like maths – too much going on and you can never really understand what the point is. The plot is messy and disjointed, and at times it becomes implausible that these two sexually-charged detectives could ever solve the case – although, we admit, plausibility isn’t usually high on the priority of most crime dramas. Essentially, we’re here to see whether Strike and Robin might finally get over themselves and admit they’re meant to be together, all this murder and mystery malarkey is merely a shadow behind the shining performance of Tom Burke (Strike) and Holliday Grainger (Robin).
The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries agrees that the plot was a bit of a mess, but regardless, he likes it, saying: “I’m prepared to tolerate the nonsense while not really knowing or caring what’s going on.” Why is this? He says: “I prefer to enjoy the scenes of Robin and Cormoran in fetchingly moody profiles or strutting through beguilingly grey and grubby London rather than follow the actual story.” Robin and Strike are a golden duo, it seems. Ed Cumming in The Independent seems distracted by the pair, too. He says: “The problem is the dominance of the leads, who are so much more developed and interesting than the other characters that they warp everything around them.” And he goes on to ask the very valid question, “When there’s a good will-they-won’t-they, who cares about a bit of light murder?” The answer is, The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan. He says that the cases they deal with feel “rushed and clumsy,” and comments that the amount of flashbacks don’t help. However, like Jeffries and Cumming, he loves the romantic tension, which he says is portrayed with “gusto and noir-ish charm.”
Strike: Lethal White is coming across as more of a slow-burning romance rather than a crime drama, but that’s not altogether a bad thing.
First shown August 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.