Last week over four million people tuned in to watch the first episode of BBC1’s slick new police drama Good Cop and to me it seems that they hope to repeat the success they had with Line of Duty earlier in the year. The difference between the two shows is that while Lennie James’ Tony Gates was a dodgy individual who tried to lie his way out of trouble our central character in Good Cop, Warren Brown’s John Paul Rocksavage, became a killer out of self-defence and his problems have come from the fact that he covered the crime up rather than report it straight away. The other big difference between Good Cop and a lot of other police dramas is that this follows regular PCs as they patrol the streets with both of these storylines playing into this week’s episode.
As we saw last week Sav shot Noel Finch then tried to eliminate any evidence of him being at the scene by concealing the gun and burning his partner’s epaulette which Finch initially ripped from him following the vicious beating he administered. Though Sav thinks he’s in the clear it seems that investigating officer DCI Costello is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to Finch’s murder case however it does seem that he’s very suspicious of John Paul. There are more pressing matters though as Sav starts to receive threatening phone calls from Finch’s right-hand man Callum Rose, played by an incredibly menacing Stephen Walters, who demands £100,000 for his silence. At first this request is laughed off by Sav however once Rose starts following him around and learning of the whereabouts of his nearest and dearest he realises he’ll have to take these threats a lot more seriously. It seems though that Sav’s initial actions last week are still coming back to haunt him as he becomes even more of a vigilante despite him just wanting to be the good cop of the title.
As well as being portrayed as a bit of a renegade it seems that Sav is still trying to be a role model to fresh-faced WPC Amanda Morgan as we first encounter the pair this week trying to talk a woman down from a ledge where she threatens to commit suicide. In possibly one of the more shocking scenes you believe that Sav has actually successfully stopped her from jumping before she suddenly leaps from the roof. As Amanda goes back to the commanding officer to ask if there were any procedures that they were meant to follow Sav believes that she is criticising how he handled the case and becomes quite cold towards her. She proves her worth later on however after she is able to reprimand a criminal who threw a brick through a hotel window before a stabbing a random passer-by. I am quite enjoying the relationship between Sav and Amanda as there doesn’t seem to be any underlying romantic subtext between the pair, which is unusual for a male/female detective duo, but instead it’s more of a student and mentor partnership. One of my favourite scenes was where Amanda was writing up the incident in which she apprehended the suspect as she is yet to learn the proper language to use in a report she describes the suspect as being ‘twatted by a car’.
This week we also learn more about Sav’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend Cassie, who ran into last week on the beach, with the pair only having dated for seven weeks before she fell pregnant. It seems that back then Sav wasn’t as mature as he is now and questioned if he was the father of the baby before telling Cassie that he didn’t really want a kid. The scene the pair share in a local café is heart-breaking as Sav feels that they have turned a corner in their relationship it still seems she wants little to do with him. We also discover this week that Sav is having a mainly physical relationship with his father’s care nurse who is married but likes a bit of a bunk-up in a hotel on the side. Talking of his father we also see a little bit more of him this week as he and Sav read Casino Royale together some of the exerts from the book become oddly relatable to the predicament that he finds himself in.
I find the main problem with Good Cop is that there are too many plot threads at the moment that don’t really connect other than they all involve the same character. It seems to me that Sav has a very busy life with trying to stop people jumping off buildings, attempting to not get arrested for murder, hopefully reuniting with his ex and having it off with his dad’s nurse in a hotel room I’m surprised we never see him take a power nap. Despite all this I am enjoying the programme thanks in part to Warren Brown who is utterly convincing as this normal PC having to cope in extraordinary circumstances while at the same time attempting go about his daily business. This week though I felt that it was Kerrie Hayes, as Amanda, who was the star of the show as a tough yet naïve police officer confronted with her first suicide case and one who is still struggling to be respected in the police station. Stephen Walters is suitably creepy as Rose though he isn’t nearly as terrifying as Stephen Graham was last week it seems that Sav will be confronted with new criminals each week and this time it’s one who seems a little loopier than Finch did last week. I also thought the cinematography was fantastic in certain scenes such as the panoramic shot showing the city from the perspective of the woman who is about to jump as well as a later scene in which John-Paul has taken his father’s advice and has gone to spend a few quiet moments in church.
Overall I’m still finding Good Cop an entertaining ride as there are enough elements throughout to keep me interested while the cast do their best to make their characters believable the whole piece is well shot but this isn’t the case of a programme that is all style and no substance. Good Cop also seems to be making a serious point about how more and more people don’t respect the police any more but instead want to take the law into their own hands which is ironic as this is exactly what our lead character has done. It will be interesting to see if as many people stick with Good Cop as those who watched Line of Duty till the end and I for one am certainly intrigued enough to see what happens to Sav over the next two episodes.
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