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Spiral: State of Terror

Sat Feb 16, 9-10.45pm, BBC4

Daniel Bardou
Series four, episodes three and four
Finally! Judge Roban returns tonight, although hardly in triumph. Instead, he is handed a procession of piddling cases barely worthy of his intellect, tenacity, or energetic eyebrows. But don’t expect him to loiter on the sidelines for long. Laure, meanwhile, turns to an old ally for support as the investigation into Ronaldo’s death turns nasty, and the team begin to join the dots between Moussa’s incarceration and the corpse in the wood.

And, most unexpectedly, Josephine seems to be developing a conscience. The plunge into the latter’s troubling family life does fill out a character who has hitherto been a one-dimensional but splendidly enjoyable witch. But it feels a little out of place in a series where private lives have only been addressed when they’ve directly affected the central narratives. Psychological complexity is always good, but melodrama never lurks far behind. Even so, series four has got off to an intriguing start, with plenty of the series’ trademark moral ambivalence to go with the gruesome autopsies.