So much appeals about 'A Touch of Frost'. Love the mix of comedy (mostly through Frost's snide comments and quips) and dark grit, the tension between rebellious Jack Frost and by-the-book Mullet which has led to some humorous moments, how he interacts with the rest of the staff, the deft mix of one or two cases and Frost's personal life, how Frost solves the cases, the production values, music and of course David Jason in one of his best roles.
There may have been people initially sceptical about whether the show would work, and with Jason (a mainly comedic actor) in a departure from usual in the lead role. Scepticism very quickly evaporated, with the first season containing three consistently great episodes, even with the darker and grittier approach with less humour, that established the tone and characterisation so brilliantly so early on with no signs of finding-their-feet. The second season opener "A Minority of One" was up to their level. "Widows and Orphans" is a slight step down from the previous episodes but is still very good, and the otherwise very worthwhile "Nothing to Hide" was let down by a far too obvious ending. "Stranger in the House" was the best of the season and to me one of the show's best episodes.
Season 3 has been great, again with not a bad episode in the lot. The best is the gut-wrenchingly powerful and deeply moving "Appropriate Adults", and "Quarry" while still a slight step down (with Frost's cruelty to Barnard a slight turn off) is also great. "Dead Male One" had a lot going on and somewhat complicated for a Frost episode but executes it incredibly well.
"No Refuge" fares the same. A lot happens and there are enough suspects and twists to keep one guessing until the genuinely shocking conclusion. All this is executed in a way that doesn't get bloated, over-stuffed or confused.
Visually, as always with 'A Touch of Frost', "No Refuge" looks great. It matches the dark, gritty tone of the episode beautifully with atmospheric lighting and the stylish way it's shot. The music is haunting without being over-bearing while the theme tune is one of the most iconic in the detective genre (or at least to me it is).
The script is well written, with a few amusing quips from Frost, and thought-provoking, and the story is continually compelling, obvious potential pitfalls being completely avoided thank goodness. Loved the two personal life subplots with a particularly powerful confrontation scene between Frost and Shirley.
Frost is a remarkably well-established character for so early on, and one cannot help love his interaction with the rest of the officers and his chemistry with Bruce Alexander's stern and by-the-book Mullet, who constantly despairs of Frost's unconventional approach. Again he shows his less than perfect side but this is a situation where it is understandable.
Jason is brilliant as usual as Frost, while Bruce Alexander and John Lyons are just as good. The support acting is solid enough, with the most well known and standout being Billy Murray, but no outstanding turns a la Timmy Lang ("Appropriate Adults"), Caroline Harker ("Stranger in the House") or Sue Johnston ("Conclusions") as far as previous episodes go.
All in all, another terrific episode, up to this point of 'A Touch of Frost' there wasn't a single bad episode and Season 3's episodes were all great (particularly "Appropriate Adults"). 9/10 Bethany Cox
Jack is reunited with old colleague D.S. Lawson as they deal with a 'live in' burglar. However, Maureen gets a little to close to one of the owners and it may be something she will later regret....Praise to Sally Dexter as Lawson and her particularly strong performance of an ordinary Detective Sergeant bearing the full force of becoming too involved....
A startling conclusion awaits the armed robbery case, where viewers really could not guess who the culprit is!