A black councillor from a tough London estate is found murdered putting further strain on relations with the police . A black policeman is sent undercover to the estate to find the perpetrator only to find a web of conspiracy involving police corruption
There's a lot of name actors in this feature length teleplay such as Shaw , Henderson , Winston , Morrissey , Glen and Thewlis though strangely enough for a cast featuring so many black characters two obvious actors namely Eamonn Walker and Lennie James don't make an appearance . One name I did notice on the credits was GF Newman and if you're aware of any of his work you know what to expect and despite a persuasive idea he over does everything
BLACK AND BLUE is a type of plot similar to WHITE HEAT ( Apologies for the ironic comparison ) where a cop has to go undercover to solve a crime and lives in fear of his cover being blown because it'll probably cost him his life . The difference here is the central character is black and the cops are more often than not worse than the criminals . Bad enough that the police are supplying the street gangs with drugs but this isn't enough for Newman who feels the need to over egg the pudding
From the outset we're shown Martin Shaw's Chief Superintendent lecturing his men that " if you're going to kick a black man do it properly " . This isn't meant in any metaphorical sense either because hardly a scene goes by without policeman dishing out some serious violence on a black character . In fact I think I saw a sequence where the cops battered a blackboard to death and shot dead Baa Baa Black Sheep . Joking aside there is a quite unbelievable plot turn where the local force put the crematorium to very bad use
This is hard hitting drama at its most gritty and to give Newman some credit he doesn't actually paint everyone in polemical black and white tones and shades just mainly black . The black characters from the estate are nearly all drug dealers and thieves and in a court an Asian judge tells the black defendant " Take my advice and go back to your own country " the point being that everyone is racist and indeed everyone is to a degree
You could of course put this in to historical and political context . Six months after this Screen One production was broadcast the Stephen Lawrence murder hit the headlines where a racist motivated murder was effectively buried due to incompetence and corruption by Metropolitan police officers , a case that very recently hit the headlines again with revelations the Met were trying to dig up dirt on the Lawrence family . Even so despite working as an involving , exciting thriller BLACK AND BLUE suffers from overstatement
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