TV Series, Season 1 – UK
Writer(s): Stephen Butchard, Sarah Phelps
Director(s): Pete Travis, Gabriel Range
Cast: Marton Csokas, Carla Sánchez, Hayley Atwell, Rick Bacon, Santiago Cabrera, Charlie Creed-Miles, Emilia Fox, Bernard Hill…
Run Time: 179 minutes – 2 discs / 2 feature film-length episodes
Genre: Crime drama/ psychological thriller
by Cherie Jung
“The Blind Man of Seville”
Inspector Javier Falcón is an intelligent, charismatic yet flawed individual. The viewer is first introduced to the character as he briefly meets and greets two family members but then we watch as he quickly leaves to prowl the night streets of Seville. He is haunted by flashbacks from what we later learn, are repressed memories trying to resurface. His ex-wife hates him but continues to taunt him. His police colleagues are at odds with him over how to handle the brutal murder case they are investigating. They can’t agree on who the suspects are, or what to do about them. Falcón has a hunch that the murder, and those that follow, are related to something from the past; a revenge motive. His colleagues place their bets on an angry, soon-to-be-disenfranchised wife who finally had enough of her much older husband’s philandering ways.
The pace of the investigation is languid. The cops aren’t lazy but they’re not frenetically trying to solve the case either and at times they seem to blunder from one location or incident to another. With a little more effort, subsequent murders might have been avoided yet there’s no real effort to do so.
The narrow winding streets of Seville seem to cloak the malevolence just lurking in the shadows. When Falcón and his colleagues charge into the serpentine streets, it’s as if they’ve become lost in a labyrinth from which they may never escape – or a nightmare from which they cannot wake up.
Some viewers may find fault with the many fragmented flash backs used throughout this episode. I think viewers need to realize that initially, we are not intended to understand what the flash backs are showing, or even what they mean. We are meant to experience them as Falcón is experiencing them, without their making sense or providing a secret clue every time they appear. Once Falcón becomes aware that he is seeing glimpses of repressed memories, the viewer begins to understand their meaning in more depth.
Some viewers may also quibble about a crime drama set in Seville, Spain in which the actors speak with British accents. I didn’t find the British accents distracting at all. Better British accents that are understandable than bad Spanish accents that result in the dialog being unintelligible. Besides, the series was produced for a British audience.
I agree with comments by the producer. Marton Csokas, who plays Falcón, has such a screen presence that even when he is saying nothing or doing nothing (and he does a lot of “nothing” in this episode), you still want to know what he is thinking.
“The Silent and the Damned”
Three months after events in the previous episode ended, Falcón returns to active duty. Due to his notoriety, he is quickly removed from a high profile case and reassigned to a smaller case that he becomes convinced is linked with the other case. As the body count rises, Falcón becomes even more vulnerable.
In the traditional hardboiled or noir style, Falcón is a damaged, lone crusader “tilting at windmills,” as the saying goes. No matter what he does, the mean streets remain mean streets. His life and job affect no one, really. Crime and corruption continue unabated.
I can’t say that viewers will enjoy watching this series. “Enjoy” is not the right word for it. Perhaps “compelled” would be a better word. It’s rather like watching a train wreck. You know what is coming and you know you should look away but a morbid curiosity compels you to keep watching the horror that is about to ensue. So, too, it is with Falcón.
This series is limited to just two episodes, with no indication that future episodes will ever be filmed.