Adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by writer Irvine Welsh, Crime follows DI Ray Lennox (Dougray Scott), a troubled detective investigating the sudden disappearance of a schoolgirl in Edinburgh. The case is a tough one: witnesses go missing, trails go cold, emotions run hot and Ray’s old demons threaten to resurface.
It’s fairly standard crime thriller fare, and while Crime doesn’t tread any particularly new ground it does a great job at telling a compelling and intriguing story. The cinematography and sound design work well together to imbue the streets of Edinburgh with a constant sense of dread and tension, disrupting the familiar urban scenery and making it feel hostile and alien. The show is also paced intelligently, making use of each episode’s 48-minute runtime to maintain its uncomfortable and suspenseful atmosphere.
The writing can be a little stiff and unnatural at times, but, for the most part, it does its job effectively enough, conveying the show’s mediations on evil and seamlessly integrating some very engaging character dynamics. Crime also tries to make some points about social issues like misogyny, and while these messages can at times come off a little ham-fisted, they don’t interfere with the narrative and help facilitate some interesting plot and character development.
The script is helped by a strong cast, whose performances help pick the writing up where it occasionally falters. Scott is great as DI Lennox, excelling at representing the traumatised protagonist and capturing a wide spectrum of emotions from cold professionalism to white-hot anger. Joanna Vanderham also puts in a strong performance as Ray’s partner Amanda, and the two have some very fun and engaging chemistry. Ray is the hardened veteran detective, while Amanda is his sharp but untested counterpart; a classic buddy-cop dynamic that is done well here.
Crime is the perfect show for anyone with an itch for a straightforward hard-boiled detective story that needs scratching. It’s perhaps not the most ambitious piece, and it’s unlikely to blow any minds, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do with style, sincerity and a lot of passion that helps compensate for the weaker parts of its scripting.
Crime is released on Britbox on 18th October 2021.
Watch the trailer for Crime here: