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By Any Means

Sun Sep 29, 9-10pm, BBC1

Series one, episode two
Another round of hand-tooled rejoinders, improbable twisteroos and celeb baddies – this week ‘Kill List’/’Utopia’ star Neil Maskell – as our team of maverick cops set out to snare a killer who has framed up a judge to take the fall for the murder of a young girl.

Essentially a ‘Jonathan Creek’ locked-room mystery by way of cut-price ‘Mission: Impossible’, the furious over-plotting is fun in an abstract sort of a way. One can picture the scriptwriters all standing around a smudged whiteboard as they attempt to puzzle out the loopholes that will keep their characters from being painted into a corner.

But to buy into any of these overarching scams, we first have to give a chuff about the team behind them, and while the acting here is decent enough, the characterisation is woefully lacking. If (in true ‘Mission: Impossible’ style) next week’s episode featured an entirely new team of fresh-faced twentysomething coppers up to the same kind of grey-area legal shenanigans, it would be difficult to notice the difference.

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