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Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand novelist Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.
The episodes in Series 1 and 2 were shown in two one-hour parts. See more »
[talking about the next-door neighbour's noisy love-making]
Did you hear the Merry Widow last night? Sounded like a blocked drain getting sorted by Dyno-Rod.
[imitates neighbour's grunting and groaning]
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Rose and Maloney returned with a series following their continued work with the fictional Criminal Justice Review Agency. The CJRA works like so: someone who believes a miscarriage of justice has occurred may write to the Agency and request a review. The Agency studies the evidence via its caseworkers then decides if it needs further investigation. Consequently, someone who has been wrongly accused of a crime and imprisoned for it, may be freed. Real agencies who do similar work do exist.
The two central characters are Rose and Maloney who met two years ago in the pilot when Rose was disgraced and sent to work with administrative manager Maloney on a time management study - but soon Rose was dragging Maloney into an old case which she solved with his reluctant help.
Rose Linden(Sarah Lancashire) is an inspired, feisty but chaotic investigator/case manager - she's difficult, frequently gets into trouble at work for doing what she wants to do, is single and has one night stands, diabetic, untidy to the point of being a health hazard, drinks and smokes like a chimney. But at work she is utterly committed and passionately believes in finding out the truth.
Maloney(the excellent Phil Davis), two years on, has become a probationary case worker in Rose's care. He is everything she's not - tidy, calculating, analytical, good-natured, thoughtful, considerate and keen to do things by the book. In short, an anti-hero.
The pair have an uneasy relationship. At times Maloney wants to let her take the blame for her own actions, but he also clearly adores her even though she drives him nuts and is deeply loyal to her(much to the jealous disbelief of his colleague Joyce who has a romantic interest in him). Rose has a soft spot for Maloney, does appear to care about him but being the loner, doesn't let him too close.
The main draw of this series is the spiky, often funny interaction between Rose and Maloney who are complete opposites but an engaging double act. Much of this is due to the excellent performances of the two experienced and talented actors, who are so good they could make the patchiest dialogue sound interesting.
This enjoyable series is in 6 parts, covering three cases: Daniel Berrington, Katie Phelan and George Parris. All the stories are believable(aside from elements of Daniel's) and cleverly constructed in such a way that it's not easy to work out who the real culprit is.
All-in-all a lot of fun and worthy of a second series.
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