Cuffs: First Impressions

A police-based drama finally returns to BBC One after HolbyBlue eight years ago.

The opening episode of the BBC series Cuffs proved to be a bad day at the office for rookie cop and main protagonist, PC Jake Vickers (played by newcomer Jacob Ifan).

By Jake’s own admission, being bled on and spat on (among other things) was not his idea of a great first day on the job.

However, a bad day at the office promises what I hope will be a great series, despite its cancellation by the BBC.

Cuffs follows the on-and-off-the-job lives of several front-line police officers and detectives with the fictional South Sussex Police service, as they deal with everything from harassment on a nudist beach to race-hate motivated crimes.

Although I’ve seen plenty of cop dramas before, my favourite being Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty, it appears Cuffs will offer a fresh perspective on the genre, and not just because it’s based by the Brighton sea.

Already after one episode, the series has delved into the lives of the characters, not only revealing a lot of what they’re like on the job, but also at home.

Viewers have already gathered that Jake wants to move out of his father’s shadow and make something of himself, on his own two feet.

From Chief Superintendent Robert Vickers’ (Peter Sullivan) words with Jake’s mentor, PC Ryan Draper (Ashley Walters), I can already tell that this will prove to be difficult.

Viewers also have the not-quite-so-inkling suspicion that “politician” daddy may be being unfaithful to his sick wife (played by The Bill‘s Clare Burt) with DS Jo Moffat (Amanda Abbington), who already seems like she’s more invested in the relationship than he is.

And finally, viewers have glimpsed that underneath PC Draper’s tough exterior is a loving father who clearly wants what’s best for his children, albeit juggling work with home life.

But Cuffs doesn’t stop there.

The series, so far, has not flinched away from showing the highs with the lows.

Although it does not appear to explore darker ‘taboo’ themes in the same nitty-gritty, dark and brooding fashion of Line of Duty, the series has already adeptly explored suicide, child abduction, racism, and infidelity, all in the first episode.

So stay tuned, I’ll be back for my final review in seven weeks.

But in the meantime, you can catch the trailer below.

The Player: A Review

The Player proved Cassandra (Charity Wakefield) and Mr Johnson (Wesley Snipes) were the only people 'The House' needed, all of 'The Players readily disposed of, including Kane (Phillip Winchester). (Photo by: Gregory E. Peters/NBC)

After watching the finale of NBC’s The Player, I’m left questioning whether Alex Kane wasn’t the only one who was played.

It seems the viewers were also cheated.

Sticking with the series for nine episodes no one was still any closer to learning who had taken Ginny and, most importantly, why.

Locker full of weapons aside, The Player clearly left viewers with more questions than answers.

Was Ginny a spy? Involved in some dirty dealings?

And who was after Johnson and why?

Questions and cliffhangers aside, the series proved to be the only show I regretted watching for 2015.

A waste of viewing time, The Player danced around the central plot without ever getting to it.

The relationships and loyalties in this series? Just as hard to put your finger on as the point of The Player.

One moment Cassandra was siding with Alex, Mr Johnson the root of all evil, and the next she was committed to saving Johnson’s skin, facing-off against the big bad wolf who wanted to take him down, whoever that was.

Honestly.

If viewers were looking for revelations after all of the drawn-out suspense, they were left, once again, disappointed.

The only revelation the series seemed to afford viewers was Mr Johnson and Cassandra were clearly always meant to be a duo, ‘The Player’ a convenient muscle readily disposed of.

What a bombshell!

If you like a show who’s quality is just as questionable as the characters’ loyalties, then I highly recommend The Player.

 

The Player: First Impressions

NBC series The Player looks like it will prove to be a bit of a hit-and-miss with the gamblers (pardon the pun).

Having already been reduced from a thirteen-episode run to only nine episodes, things are not looking good for Philip Winchester a.k.a. Alex Kane in what I thought would be a great action-packed series after Winchester’s stellar performance in Strike Back. However, looks can, after all, be deceiving.

The Player follows former security expert Alex Kane as he navigates his role as ‘The Player’ for ‘The House’, a shady Las Vegas organisation with a Person of Interest-type artificial intelligence computer that predicts crime before it happens. Kane’s role? To stop the crime before it happens,  whilst pleasing a plethora of wealthy clientele who ‘bet’ on whether he beats the odds and takes out the bad guys, before they take out him. But Kane is not alone, helping him his ‘dealer’ Cassandra (Charity Wakefield), a British bombshell who is also a tech-wiz. And breathing down both their necks is ‘pit boss’ Mr Johnson (Wesley Snipes) whose role it appears is to be as equally condescending as shady.

But just as marital woes proved to be a problem for Winchester’s character Michael Stonebridge in Strike Back, it looks like the same thing has come back to plague Winchester in The Player, with Kane’s wife supposedly knocked-off in the first episode.

For a former FBI agent I believe, Kane’s performance as ‘The Player’ is awfully underwhelming. He ran his own security business, but can’t seem to break away from his reliance on dealer and tech-wiz Cassandra. Quite pathetic, really.

The only thing that’s keeping me tuned in every Tuesday evening is the mystery surrounding Ginny’s ‘death’. It’s intriguing she may still be alive, and perhaps even more intriguing is Cassandra’s relation to Ginny.

Formerly titled Endgame, ratings may prove to be the endgame for this disappointing NBC series, that also makes me question Winchester’s versatility as an actor.

It seems Winchester has had a bad deal as former Strike Back co-stars Sullivan Stapleton and Rhona Mitra enjoy ratings success with their new shows Blindspot and The Last Ship.

But stay tuned, I’ll be back with my final review soon.