Having enjoyed the recent ITV drama, The Widower, starring Reece Shearsmith, I had high hopes for the new four part crime thriller Chasing Shadows, in which a difficult to work with detective (aren’t they all!?) with autistic tendencies takes on some missing persons cases.
The show promised it would be more than a standard crime drama and would take a unique slant on what is very much a well worn format, but unfortunately, two episodes in and one very uninspiring case solved, and I am still not convinced of this one bit.
Reece Shearsmith gives an undeniably decent performance of a man suffering from Aspergers Syndrome, adopting some physical and voice attributes that aren’t subtle but aren’t overdone either (just).
However, if it was the show’s intention for us to warm to DS Sean Stone, I am afraid that we are a long way off the mark. The writing lacks any warmth or depth to a character that could potentially be extremely complex, and there is little to no chemistry between Stone and his partner, Ruth Hattersley, played adequately by Alex Kingston.
The first two episodes focused on a missing teenager who had become embroiled on a social website where users encourage one another to commit suicide. It soon became transparent as bodies were found that there was more to these suicides than met the eye and it was soon a full blown murder investigation.
And thus, the clichés rolled out, one hammy predictable event after another. Policeman who does things ‘his way’ and rubs his colleagues up the wrong way? Check. Dozy, helpless female officer going unarmed to meet a suspect in an abandoned building all by herself? Check. Suspects living on a high block of council flats? Check. Dark warehouses? Check. Killers whose motive is an abusive childhood? Check. Conspicuous unmarked police car following a suspect so closely that the bonnet almost touches the bumper? Check. A ‘tense’ standoff near a balcony where someone has a knife to their throat? Check and double check.
The whole affair was sadly mundane and predictable. The solution to the mystery (or lack of) was rushed and flimsily explained, and I still have no idea why on earth the caretaker who assisted his psychotic girlfriend had a motive for kidnapping teens and killing them.
In between the poorly paced main plot was a sub story of our hero facing the threat of losing his job, but because the guy came across as so unlikeable, it was extremely difficult to care about the outcome to this. Throw in some extremely awkward banter and floppy one liners and I’m afraid the only verdict I can reach on this criminal drama is just that it was criminally bad.
Do you disagree? What are your thoughts on Chasing Shadows?
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Written By Our Man In The North