Tag Archive: British mysteries


Review by C.J. Bunce

It arrived in Scotland and the UK in 2019 before the pandemic, then took its time getting to the States.  In the interim BBC’s series Guilt won top honors in Scotland for its darkly funny and thrilling story from creator Neil Forsyth.  The series stars the amazing, award-winning co-star of Shetland and Unforgotten, Mark Bonnar, and the second season is even better than the first.  Fans of UK television have seen Bonnar as both well-meaning and outright guilty before, but not like his Max McCall in the first season of Guilt.  But the second season should have been titled Revenge.  Max was a reasonably well-adjusted lawyer, scheming and in deep with the local mob, before he went to jail–between seasons.  We meet him again, after two years of thinking about what kind of man he wants to be.  Emun Elliott takes the co-lead spot this season as the put-upon (but improving) investigator Kenny Burns.  The second season of Guilt is now airing on PBS Masterpiece, with the entire eight episodes of its first and second seasons available anytime now on PBS Passport and on PBS DVD.

Do you love a good revenge plot? 

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

The biggest draw of ITV’s first two seasons of its police procedural The Bay was its lead detective.  Morven Christie (Death in Paradise, Doctor Who) played detective Lisa Armstrong, a family liaison officer (“FLO”) with the Morcambe police.  Morcambe is the eponymous Bay, a seaside town on England’s northwest coast, near Manchester (setting of several great British crime dramas, like Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and Cracker).  But that changes for the third season of The Bay, now streaming on Britbox.  Taking her place is Marsha Thomason, who played White Collar’s (American) agent Diana Barrigan.  Armstrong’s show was as much about her personal life, her kids and relationships, as the crime-solving.  Viewers get no wrap-up for her story, but for season 3 the writers try to hold that same focus on the pressure of life as a cop helping citizens who have experienced distress.  And the season opens with a dead body floating out in the bay near a buoy. 

Continue reading

The star of the original Life on Mars returns today for his second season as another great detective solving crimes in the BritBox original series from IPT, Grace John Simm, known for his run as a detective unstuck in time as well as the key villain of Doctor Who, plays Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a cop sent down to desk duty a few years ago for embarrassing the bureau by bringing in a psychic to help solve a crime.  Only last year television viewers got to meet the next great TV detective with the airing of the show’s first season, and this year he’s joined in the second season opener by former Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill.  We at borg named it the runner-up for best new TV series of 2022 (see our review here).  The second season of Grace begins in the U.S. today, exclusively here on BritBox via Amazon.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

In its second season, Scotland’s crime drama Traces is continuing down the path where other great British series have missed the mark.  Unforgotten betrayed its heroine in its last season, loading on so much darkness, challenges, and losses, the writers let the forces of evil and real-life struggles beat down what was a superb, brilliant detective.  Traces is challenging its two masterminds of mystery solving: Laura Fraser (A Knight’s Tale, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad)‘s arson expert and professor Sarah Gordon, and Jennifer Spence‘s (Supernatural, Continuum, Stargate, Tru Calling) equally brilliant professor and scientist sleuth Kathy Torrance.  But in this series it’s the challenges that make its lead characters really shine.

Continue reading

Bommar Guilt

Review by C.J. Bunce

It arrived in Scotland and the UK in 2019 before the pandemic, then took its time getting to the States.  In the interim it won top honors in Scotland for the darkly funny and thrilling series and show director Robert McKillop, with nominations for its actors and writing.  It’s BBC’s Guilt, featuring the amazing, award-winning co-star of Shetland and Unforgotten, Mark Bonnar.  Fans of UK television have seen Bonnar as both well-meaning and outright guilty before, but not quite like the compounding weight placed upon his character in Guilt.  And the result is a performance of multiple facets of the human condition that at times is laugh-out-loud funny.  Bonnar co-stars with Jamie Sives (Doctor Who, Game of Thrones) as brothers who run over and kill an old man while driving home after a wedding.  Their world falls apart when the dead man’s niece arrives from Chicago.  She’s played by Irish actor Ruth Bradley, who played the stellar, tragic cyborg DI Voss on BBC’s Humans.  Guilt is now airing on PBS Masterpiece, with its entire four-episode first season streaming now on PBS Passport.

Continue reading

Professor T

Review by C.J. Bunce

PBS is now airing a six-episode mystery series starring Ben Miller, best known for playing the first detective of many on the series Death in Paradise, an actor whose television work goes back to the early 1990s, including even a small role on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  Miller plays Professor Jasper Tempest, the title character of Professor T, a British adaptation of a Belgian series about a quirky, obsessive, compulsive detective in the style of Adrian Monk, Prodigal Son’s Malcolm Bright, and Sherlock Holmes himself.  The series airs weekly Sundays on PBS, also available to stream in its entirety with a PBS Passport subscription.  Will this be another short-lived British police procedural, or can it survive in the ocean of similar series to find a second season?

Continue reading

Bay one

Review by C.J. Bunce

You’ve probably seen the ads on your streaming platform and social media.  We had too, so when Britbox announced a second season of The Bay we decided to give it a try.  It’s a British police procedural, with a twist.  Star Morven Christie (Death in Paradise, Doctor Who) plays detective Lisa Armstrong, a family liaison officer (“FLO”) with the Morcambe police.  Morcambe is the eponymous Bay, a seaside town on England’s northwest coast, nearish to Manchester (setting of several great British crime dramas, like Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and Cracker), and while the show’s cinematography makes great use of picturesque vistas of the local scenery and landmarks, including some spectacular sunsets, the city doesn’t really feel like a character here.  Instead, the focus of the series is families: DI Armstrong’s, and those affected by crime.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Just when you thought Nicola Walker′s (Collateral, Law & Order: UK, Luther) compassionate cop Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart is fed up with humanity–with the criminals that have gotten away with murder literally for decades and the antics of her family at home–they keep pulling her back in, with two more seasons in the works, and the fourth season hopefully arriving in the U.S. this year.  We reviewed the first season of the BBC’s Unforgotten here at borg just last month, and we’re happy to report the series only improves in the next two seasons.  The first three seasons are on BritBox via Amazon Prime, and if you want your fill of red herrings and surprise villains in your modern British crime drama, look no further.  With its fifth season currently in production, PBS is also now streaming the first three seasons as part of its Passport membership, a chance for U.S. viewers to get caught up on the show before the new episodes arrive.

Continue reading

UNFORGOTTEN: LE PASSE DETERRE

Review by C.J. Bunce

British crime dramas deserve some credit as a group–and PBS Masterpiece for re-airing them.  Viewers never quite know what hoops the police will jump through next, the twists and turns a series will take, and what unlikely villain will end up at the end of each whodunnit.  That’s the test of all mystery series, whether you’re watching a strange villain and almost as strange cop in Luther or the tempered, well-intentioned Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart and her skeptical partner Detective Sergeant Sunny Khan tracking down 40-year-old crimes in Unforgotten.  With its fifth season currently in production, PBS is now streaming the first three seasons as part of its Passport membership, a chance for U.S. viewers to get caught up on the show.

Continue reading

Grace d

Review by C.J. Bunce

The star of the original Life on Mars is back as a detective solving crimes in the new BritBox original series from IPT, Grace John Simm, also known for his run on Doctor Who, State of Play and other British dramas plays Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a cop sent down to desk duty a few years ago for embarrassing the bureau by bringing in a psychic to help solve a crime.  When a former colleague rises up the ranks and pulls D.S. Grace in to a high-profile case, viewers get to meet the next great TV detective.  The first episode of Grace is now streaming in the U.S. exclusively here on BritBox via Amazon.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: