This bleak British drama-thriller stars Stephen Tompkinson as a policeman on the tough streets of the North East in 1974. With energy supplies low and unemployment high, thugs are exploiting the weak and Harrigan is determined to stop them, taking on the bad guys and aiding damsels in distress. Visually stylised and filled with a sense of impending doom, ‘Harrigan’ feels more like post-apocalyptic sci-fi than a nostalgic cop saga.
And yet it’s inspired by the experiences of a former Tyneside detective, Arthur McKenzie, who conceived it long before ‘Life on Mars’ and who has been battling to bring it to the screen for years. In today’s tough times, its real-life basis gives pause for thought. But it’s undermined by contrived dialogue, stilted supporting turns and a melodramatic bent. This is more an onslaught of tragic case studies than a well-rounded story. The title sounds like a small-screen cop series; perhaps this would have been better split into episodes on TV.