As I’m writing this I’m scouring through Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and every other video streaming service to find my next fix after BBC’s In The Dark ended last night. If you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t been watching the four part drama let me give you the low down and my thoughts and feelings about the series.
In The Dark, based on the books Time of Death and In The Dark by Mark Billingham centres around detective Helen Weeks (MyAnna Buring) in both a personal and professional capacity. The first two episodes of the four part drama follows Helen and partner Paul Hopkins (Ben Batt) as they travel back to Helen’s home town to help a childhood friend stuck in the middle of a difficult abduction case. Of course this being a heavily layered drama series, that isn’t the only story feeding through these episodes. We also find out Helen is pregnant however after a fling with fellow detective Adam Perrin (David Leon) Helen isn’t entirely sure who’s baby it is.
Episodes three and four pick up much later in Helen’s pregnancy when after tragedy strikes she is thrown in the deep end of a case that continuously evolves into something bigger at every turn.
A little back story before we begin, after stumbling across the trailer for episode one on a whim and deciding to give it a watch I fell in love with the story and even more so with Helen Weeks. Although it’s a term that’s vastly overused I’m totally all for a strong female lead who is able to handle herself and I thought we as an audience were given this with the character. Realising very quickly that MyAnna was going to be an insane driving force throughout the series I decided to explore her career a little further and watched the entirety of Ripper Street in four days. We won’t talk about my tears and emotional torment at the end. By this point the first two episodes of In The Dark had aired and I was fully invested so picked up the novel of the same name to accompany the final part of the series. Again I must have enjoyed this so much as I read this in two days. Just letting you know that I had way more of an idea of what I was getting into when I watched the final half rather than the first half of the series and with that let’s get into my thoughts.
Without a doubt in my mind the first and final episodes were the strongest of the four. Episode one gave us the first insight into what would soon become a complex drama where secrets and lies become just as much of a weapon as a fully loaded gun. It takes a lot for a series to grip me, especially with a crime drama since there seems to be an abundance of them right now but something about the eeriness of In The Dark just did it for me. I think it was the fact that the story wasn’t so exaggerated that it became false and unbelievable as many dramas seem to be now, there was a sense of relatability from the get go. Despite her flaws you constantly felt for Helen and this continued right through to episode four where by at this point I was prepared to become her human shield after all the shit she had dealt with. The ‘losing streak’ that Helen was on continued to grow resulting in myself also cursing and blasting “BASTARD!” at the screen, particularly at Leon’s Adam Perrin in episode four. The final scenes of this episode really got to me, the sense of loneliness again made me feel for Helen and the scenes between MyAnna and Ben tugged at my heartstrings like nothing had in a while.
Although some viewers said that there was a lack of a link between the two parts of the series I couldn’t disagree more. My personal interpretation was that the series presented a brilliant theme of self blame, more specifically Helen’s personal blame for the tragedies involving those closest to her. In episode two we hear her say that “it’s because of me, he got to you through me” in regards to a story explored in the first two episodes. Later, in episode four Helen says “I gave him a way in” again carrying the weight of the blame on her own shoulders. Whether this was a simply just a similarity in dialogue or if it was completely intentional I am so so thankful for it, my inner analytical nerd brain was so happy with it.
With the over analysing of dialogue put to one side for a moment overall this is honestly one of the strongest British dramas I’ve seen in a long time. I’d shrugged a lot of previous dramas off for ages and now have the urge to go back and explore some of them after having my faith restored. I only wish there was more story to be told.
In The Dark is available on BBC iPlayer and will be available on DVD from 7th August.