mon 20/11/2017

Safe House, series 2, ITV review - the abduction and captivity show returns | reviews, news & interviews

Safe House, series 2, ITV review - the abduction and captivity show returns

Safe House, series 2, ITV review - the abduction and captivity show returns

Now played by Stephen Moyer, Tom Brook is back as the ex-cop who won’t stop

Coming out of the shadows: Stephen Moyer plays Tom Brook

Forget Christopher Eccleston and the Lake District. Two years on, Ed Whitmore’s ready-mix thriller Safe House returns with Stephen Moyer in Merseyside. He plays Tom Brook – not the venerable film critic (Talking Movies is still showing on BBC World), but an ex-cop convinced his successors are making a dreadful mistake.

Eight years ago someone nicknamed The Crow abducted three women who were never found. Nevertheless, a man called Luke Griffin (Stephen Lord) was jailed for life for their murders. Now, in what appears to be a copycat crime, Julie (Lynsey McLaren), the lovely partner of Liverpool businessman John Channing (Ashley Walters), has been whisked away to a deserted factory where, tied to a chair inside a shipping container, no one can hear her scream.

What’s lacking, alas, is wit or inspiration

Brook is convinced that The Crow’s sidekick has resumed his sick mentor’s mission – which is not so much to murder women as to cause their lovers unimaginable misery: “It’s all about the men!” However, his superiors have always been determined to suppress any talk of an accomplice.

The thrust of the opening episode is to get Channing and Dani (Sacha Parkinson), his squeeze’s angry teenage daughter, into the safe house run by Brook and his partner Sam (Zoë Tapper) – who immediately stores up trouble by rejecting the advances of a curly-haired biker boy with big biceps. The refuge is inconspicuously sited on a headland on Anglesey where there is never any need to close the curtains against the icy darkness.

Stupid behaviour and outrageous coincidence are staple ingredients of cheesy shockers – and there’s plenty of both on offer here. What’s lacking, alas, is wit or inspiration. (Pictured below, from left, Ashley Walters, Sacha Parkinson, Stephen Moyer)Safe HouseMoyer is, of course, best known for playing the toothsome vampire Bill Compton for eight long years in True Blood. There’s a nice moment when Jason Watkins (who was a vampire called Herrick in Being Human) invites Brook into his home only for the cop who failed to find his wife to warn him that he is in grave danger once again. Once bitten, twice bitten…

It’s almost 20 years since Moyer added a bit of oomph to Death in Disguise, an episode of Midsomer Murders. He was a diffident lover in Channel 4’s NY-LON (2004) but it wasn’t until True Blood that he found a role to sink his teeth into (I thank you). A certain blankness is a positive asset when playing undead. Here, though, he seems on autopilot and for some reason – although born and bred in Brentford – his Essex accent is weirdly inauthentic.

It makes a pleasant change to see the ever-reliable Walters not playing a cop (which he did in Silent Witness, Cuffs, and In The Dark). His trademark air of suppressed violence and vulnerability make Channing by far the most interesting character. That said, director Marc Evans, instead of playing safe, should have made Walters and Moyer swap roles.

That would have been really worth seeing. As it is, in this golden age of TV – when more and more archive material is becoming available and streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix are going from strength to strength – there’s little reason why you should waste any of your time on this instantly forgettable pap.

Stupid behaviour and outrageous coincidence are staple ingredients of cheesy shockers

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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