The Shadow Line (TV Mini-Series 2011) Poster

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10/10
Edge Of Darkness, State Of Play, Tinker Tailor and now this
bilko-126 May 2011
Edge Of Darkness and State Of Play have already been mentioned, but come episode two and we have an obvious reference to Tinker Tailor. This show is not overshadowed in such illustrious company. It is a deep, dark labyrinthine plot carried by a superb cast, each member on top of their game. The dense text will not be to everybody's taste, but for those who enjoy the likes of Bleasdale, Pinter and Potter this will probably be the first great television masterpiece of the 21st century. It is hard to pick out one performance that outshines the rest. Chiwetel Ejiofor is truly sympathetic as the cop who has to battle with memory loss to discover whether or not he is corrupt. Leslie Sharp battles to retain her fast fading memory as she descends into the Hell that is Althseimers, whilst her husband played by Christopher Ecclestone, juggles an Hogarthian cast of crooks until he can make his last deal. Rafe Spall gives a magnificent over-the-top performance as the deranged nephew of Mr. Big and then in comes Stehopen Rae as the villainous Alec Guiness style dark brother of GEORGE smiley. Absolutely wonderful!
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10/10
Brilliant on so many levels
gerhard726 May 2011
I'm so sick of predictable story-lines and being spoon fed on junk cop related television series with mightier than thou characters that are un-humanly flawless, clever, beautiful and blah blah blah. So at long last, here is a TV series that demands a certain level of intelligence from it's viewers. It's cinematicly glorious with non stereo typical characters. An unpredictable storyline that twist and turns with tension and intrigue throughout. Sublime characters well acted by superb cast. I LOVE it!!! Cannot wait for a week to pass to see the next installment. I've watched 4 episodes so far and it just keeps getting better. This is BBC program making at it's very best. A gem, cannot fault it.
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10/10
Just seen the finale
kensctt16 June 2011
From tears to screaming out at one of the characters by use of the c word, all within 5 minutes. One of the most moving series I have seen in many a while. Complex.....yes. Worth persevering.....ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY Wow. A great script. AMAZING performances. Stephen Rea has to be the most evil personae since Hannibal Lecter. Hard to see Eve Best out of her Dr. Eleanor O'Hara role, but she manages to pull it off.

I really wish that there could be a second season, but unlike any yank series it won't be happening.

Thank you BBC. I see several BAFTAs in your future,
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8/10
I reserve the right to revise this upwards.
nichomach6 May 2011
Just caught up with the first episode of The Shadow Line.

1. Any series that nicks a title off Joseph Conrad is at least ASPIRING to greatness.

2. Chiwetel Ejiofor's a BAMF. With immaculate vowels. Match that with Christopher "Lots of planets have a North" Ecclestone and it's made of win from the start 3. This series is almost into Edge Of Darkness goodness already. No. Not the Mel Gibson version.

In all honesty, this is what the BBC was made to do; original drama that wouldn't have been made by any other channel in the UK. Perhaps it's all going to implode into crapness, but so far I really don't see how it can. OK, posting reviews when I'm shedded's probably a bad idea, but this, so far, is immaculate.
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9/10
Things to do in London when you're Dead
paul2001sw-117 June 2011
Hugo Blick, the writer and director of 'The Shadow Line', has spoken of his inspirations as a television dramatist: the incomparable 'The Singing Detective' (a story based on buried personal drama); 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' (with its deceptively quiet middle aged protagonists); and 'Edge of Darkness' (and its mood of general paranoia). On watching his series, however, I was reminded of some American films: 'Things to to in Denver When You're Dead', and 'Brick', for example, as well as many of the works of David Mamet. What these tales have in common is a certain stylised dialogue, and more generally an internally consistent world which only partly resembles our own and which exists entirely within the prism of its own construction. In the case of 'The Shadow Line', Blick manages to keep this going for seven full hours, mostly successfully: the series is artfully shot and orchestrated and full of memorable scenes, the devilish and inventive plot even makes some sort of sense in the end, and a superb gaggle of character actors rise superbly to the script, none more so than Stephen Rea whose wonderfully-named character Gatehouse is the role of a lifetime. It's not perfect, however: with a plot so intricate, and an entire drama consisting of the sorts of encounter that might normally be found only at the most critical moment, there's no room for normality: it's hard to care about the characters or even, in it's most baffling moments, the story, however much one is absorbed; the personal elements are not as superfluous as might be thought half-way through, but one's still more likely to laugh as the preposterous twists as one is to cry for the death of one of the few sympathetic figures. Against a backdrop of such a superb cast, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a little lightweight in the lead role; and with so many characters, almost all of them dodgy, that at times one can lose track of which is which. But it's bold and inventive, a character-led drama whose characters are (in the real world) scarcely plausible, but who make perfect, chilling sense on the other side of the line.
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8/10
Very Good don't miss it.
jacko0727 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with the majority of reviewers, 'The Shadow Line' is a very good drama about the sordid world of double cross and drug deals. A few minor things lessen it's authenticity, but you can't have it all.

Without doubt it is certainly one of the best things this year.

It is a great script and the characters are are realistic. Rafe Spall is good but goes slightly over the top with an accent straight out of 'Little Britain', this in my view made his character slightly less believable as an arch villain. Spall is a good actor, not yet as well known as his father Timothy. Rafe is more in the like of Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. It is on the cards that he and several others in this drama will be in great demand when casting agents watch the performances in this.

Stephen Rea, Robert Pugh, Anthony Sher, Lesley Sharpe, David Schofield and Malcom Storry doing great work as they always do. Although fairly new to me, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keirston Wareing were great, in fact the whole production was top class.

Great TV with a great British cast and a good music score make 'The Shadow Line' unmissable. It will be an injustice if this isn't up for several BAFTAs next year.
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9/10
Difficult At Times But Daring
GrahamEngland17 June 2011
This series lost viewers from a strong start (for a BBC2 series) and got mixed reviews. You cannot win can you? All the signposted, glib, lazy, pandering excess of cop/thrillers blocking up the schedules, not just from the turgid ITV1 either, which many reviewers rightly are fed up with. Blick dares to dare at least.

'The Shadow Line' was not easy comfort viewing, that was the point of it, surely?

It compares very well to the missed opportunity of 'Luther', though in that case perhaps having one of the stars of 'The Wire' raised impossible expectations, even so, what a load of overblown, overheated, all sound and fury signifying nothing 'Luther' is - I gave up on it after series 1.

The Shadow Line had some of the very best, most tense, often shocking set pieces of anything on UK television for many a long time, these were not isolated either. This I think is where many draw comparisons with classics like 'Edge Of Darkness', The Shadow Line does not match up to that one - what does? Still, the comparison with 'Between The Lines' of 20 years ago, as some critics have cited, despite the very different series formats, is a fair one.

Overall, a good effort, worthwhile, a series that will be looked back on rather more fondly that the more negative reviewers think.
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10/10
The best mini-series of all time.
Rockwell_Cronenberg15 August 2011
The closest thing the Brits will have to an answer for The Wire. The Shadow Line is a stunning exploration of the line that men walk between morality, faith, justice and identity. The writers keep you in a constant state of mystery, unsure of who these people are and what side they ultimately lie on. The lines are blurred up until the end and everyone involved makes it a gripping and intense journey through this dangerous world. There are so many scenes that had my legs shaking in paranoia, dying to see how things were going to turn out. They somehow manage to make the quietest moments the most epic; there's a scene at the beginning of the fifth episode (that ends up lasting almost half an hour) that felt very reminiscent of that epic feeling during the Omar/Brother Mouzone meetup in The Wire.

Of course, the talented cast is an essential piece of crafting this brilliant work; Chiwetel Ejiofor is the perfect protagonist, a do-gooder with a potentially dark past who explodes in the final few episodes. Christopher Eccleston excels as the "good guy" on the bad side, a very Stringer Bell-esque character who takes a business approach to everything. The supporting cast all make huge impressions as well; Rafe Spall and Stephen Rea both create two of the most terrifying villains in recent memory. Spall the livewire with his finger always on the trigger and Rea the calm and mysterious shadow figure hiding behind the door. They take two entirely different approaches and each one is marvelous beyond words.

It's pretty hard for a mini-series to end up ranking among the best complete series for me, but this one is high up there. It's without a doubt the best mini-series I've ever seen and at the end I was definitely just desperate for even more. The final episode ends up having to rely a little too much on exposition and there are a few too many twists, but it's all necessary to wrap up the story and leave the viewer satisfied with answers. The Shadow Line is the rare series that will have you constantly guessing and on the edge of your seat. Intensity beyond intensity, a really powerful masterwork.
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9/10
The best thing I've seen this year
Moviefile17 June 2011
Well the series finally came to its grim conclusion and I have to say I didn't see this ending coming. I read other reviews comparing this series to The Edge of Darkness (the series not the film), and while I get the comparison, that did have light relief in the Joe Don Baker and Charles Kay characters.

The shadow line has no such lightness or let up, and the nearest I can get to compare my feeling at the end is the 'Get Carter' (Michael Caine) film.

A fine cast does this justice and an excellent script made Thursday evenings a night in! A huge well done to the writer and all the actors who made this so memorable. If you remember Stephen Rea as Carter Brandon in 'I didn't know you cared' (one of the best comedy series ever IMHO), who would have imagined he would progress to being one of the most memorable screen villains ever. Bravo!
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10/10
Landmark Television care of the BBC
deighton-69-2861271 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
4 episodes in and this TV series is on a par with the first ever Prime Suspect series. ITs gripping and gritty, has a wonderful Psycho in Jay Wrattan and Stephen Rea as Gatehouse is sinister indeed. Every role is filled with a superb actor and casting against stereotype is everywhere, the tough guy is a woman, the drug dealers white, the cops black and Asian, the villain and assassin an old man. 4 episodes in and you don't know where you are or who to trust I have loved every minute, perhaps the chase through Victoria park was my favorite but still its all awesome. I hate the fact that it will end, I don't even know whether they could make another series but I hope to god they do, this is worth ever penny of my license fee, thank you BBC.
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7/10
Plenty of style but insufficient substance!
David Miller13 March 2012
Great to watch but after a while the brooding and completely humourless characters begin to jar. Is there no happiness at all in these people's lives? Even the joy of a confirmed pregnancy has to be tempered by a nagging delay as the nurse checks her scanner and looks worryingly at the screen while her patient looks worryingly at Gabriel. It's as though the director has deliberately checked every scene to ensure maximum gravitas from his characters as they go about their admittedly fascinating lives. I just wish it had the kiss of reality that The Sopranos brought to the small screen. Shadow Line bears some comparison with Tinker Tailor in terms if its unremitting gloom but none of its characters feel like their gloom has been earned through years of unremitting grind and conflict. I enjoyed it for what it is but in the end, I found it less than it was hyped up to be.
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8/10
Best British drama since Between The Lines "may contain spoilers"
Willybilly72326 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot remember a British drama that has affected me as much as this since the first series of Between The Lines.

The acting, direction, editing and sound are brilliant. The script is nearly as good as all of them.

This seems to be continually compared to The Wire in the British press. Yes, it is about cops and criminals and the line - the Shadow Line - between them. That is about as far as the comparisons can be taken.

Personally I found The Wire too drawn out and I think the overhype of it is absurd. It's good but no way "the best TV show ever made" as many people like to label it.

The Shadow Line starts of at a crime scene. A bigwig drug dealer - Harvey Wratten has been found in the back of his car with a bullet in the head and two in his body. We are then introduced to a series of characters, dodgy coppers, his criminal assosciates, his psychopathic nephew.

However it is not until episode 2 where we meet one of the scariest characters ever portrayed on film. Gatehouse.

As it said on the press release - there is a puppet master lurking in the shadows pulling the strings. Stephen Rea making his best performance since The Crying Game.

Some people on forums think that he is a spook whilst others have, ridiculously said that he is supernatural! Get a grip, please. He is a rival gangster or hit-man for a rival gangster.

My money is on the Turk.

Rafe Spalls psycho gets a lot of criticsm. I think he plays the part very well. The only thing that made him unconvincing was the ludicrous way he runs!! I also find the whole Alzheimers story intensely irritating. It seems to have been forced in there because it is the latest "fashionable" ailment. It doesn't work IMO.

Having said that this is the best British drama for at least a decade.
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10/10
Wow!
Syxiepoo9 May 2011
In my experience and in line with the immutable laws of physics, there are just three ways for a drama series to go on the BBC - up, down and yawn. Like just a very few before it - Edge of Darkness has already been mentioned - I fully expect that this one can only go UP, which I confidently predict even after seeing just the first episode! And Chiwetel Ejiofor acts as guarantor for this trajectory. I have yet to see anything he's made that is less than excellent.

I recorded episode 1, but will be watching the remaining episodes as they go out. In fact, I am so keen to see the next episode that I am writing this during a coffee break from constructing a time machine in my garage!

Update: My hopes were not dashed. The remaining episodes built beautifully into an excellent and perfectly presented story.
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4/10
Too ludicrous to be engrossing, too straight-faced to be fun.
Marius Holman Penney25 April 2012
Honestly, I was quite shocked by the large amounts of positive praise aimed at The Shadow Line on this website. Perhaps, I was missing something, but I found this show almost completely unbearable. Only in it's final episode did it begin to show any flashes of a genuinely good show. The show just seemed unable to decide what it intended to be. It seemed to be intended as a gritty crime drama (much like the far-superior Forbrydelsen), and yet seemed largely constructed from elements that would normally go towards a self-consciously stylish and silly romp. Any attempts at genuine gritty drama were totally undermined by the daft, dim and almost-sickeningly over-the-top and 'stylised' (the sort of stylised that involves a shot looking pretty, but displaying no competence in the slightest) approach the show took. Similarly, any attempts to be fun were shattered by it's 'oh so serious this is dramatic no seriously it's horrifically dramatic and realistic and clever' attitude. If I wanted campy fun, I would get out my box-set of Adam Adamant Lives. If I wanted gritty crime drama, I would sit for 18 hours weeping in front of my box-set of Forbrydelsen. This incompetent and utterly limp attempt to fuse the two is completely skipable.
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Atmospheric, brooding, spectacularly brilliant TV crime series
robert-temple-111 September 2011
This extraordinary TV series has all the intensity of David Lynch's MULLHOLLAND DRIVE (2001, see my review), and director/writer/producer Hugo Blick with this effort has really entered the top ranks of mood-makers. From the very first shot, looking down on a deserted car at night from a high crane, as two policemen gingerly approach it to look for a corpse, we know we are in deep and moody noir territory. The lighting, shots, composition, editing, pace, are all done in an elegiac mode. The acting is intense, the camera dwelling on the faces, many of them ravaged, is intense, the emotions are intense, we are in deep purple mood as a variety of horrible drug dealers struggle against The Unknown, and get killed one after another. The entire series has a kind of metaphysical feel, as if conceived by Jean-Paul Sartre as a struggle against Le Néant ('Nothingness'). Our hero, the lead policeman, suffers from amnesia and cannot remember key things which relate to the case he is supposed to be investigating. He is not sure whether he was once a corrupt cop or not, and no one will tell him. But he does find a briefcase stuffed with £250,000 in cash concealed in his bedroom. He just can't remember how he got it, and dreads finding out. He is repeatedly told that the only reason he is still alive is that he cannot remember certain things. He has a nagging ex-mistress who constantly pressures him by shouting: 'When are you going to tell her?', referring to their child which his wife does not know exists, even though the relationship itself with the mistress is over and has dissolved in recriminations and resentments. This series features an excellent but very scary performance by Rafe Small, son of the distinguished actor Timothy Small, as a young psychopathic criminal. Small has mastered the 'Tony Blair swivelling, insane eyes' motif perfectly, and may have modelled himself on that famed Conqueror of the WMDs which never existed, except for one thing, that he speaks very quietly and low key. All the cast in this series are excellent. The lead is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, a name which requires a certain amount of concentration not only to pronounce but to remember. It does not trip as lightly off the tongue as Clark Gable, for instance. However, despite the difficulty of coping with his name, we can only respect his intense, concerned, and worried performance as the good-natured cop struggling to overcome amnesia while solving murders which just keep on happening and which all appear to be linked somehow, but no one knows how or why. The parallel story of his complicated personal life adds to the strain the poor man is under. The spookiest and most menacing, and perhaps the most brilliant, of all the performances in this remarkable series is by Stephen Rea. He is just over the horizon of visibility, where police, security, corruption, drugs, criminals, and mania all lurk. He embodies all the unknown horrors of what threatens us, and he does it with such calm and unperturbed perfection. When he kills, it is with the same unconcern with which one switches off a car ignition after parking. We discover that he is motivated by a control mania so extreme that it reminds us of all our least favourite politicians. What is it about the times in which we live which breeds so many maniacs who wish for total control of everyone and everything? And how is it that they get elected and appointed? Stephen Rea's eerie performance stands for all that, for all the unspoken, slow, relentless creep of control over everything being exerted by insane persons at the top. And he cannot be stopped, any more than the Terminator can, or than the World State, the European Union, the Patriot Act (which no one in Congress read before passing it), the public bailout of Goldman Sachs by the former head of Goldman Sachs (Hank Paulson, proud possessor of another set of 'Blair-style' swivelling, insane eyes), the controls which prevent us from taking hand cream onto planes, the closing of children's playgrounds because they might fall and bruise their knees, the monitoring of everything and everyone, the many Mount Everests of unread email intercepts and unheard phone taps, which fill all the world's demented security agencies, where total control and total knowledge amount to … what? A vacuum of futility. Somehow Blick manages to convey all of these background fears of our time, as well as the moral emptiness of those causing them, by profound and sustained innuendo throughout this series. There is always 'them'. Who are 'they'? No one knows. Even 'they' do not know. But whoever 'they' are, there is always evil, there is always corruption, there are always drugs, there are always suitcases stuffed with cash, there are corpses discovered in strange positions, there is betrayal, as well as betrayal of the betrayers, and finally there is the Nothingness. It is the Nothingness which lies behind all of this. That is who is to blame. And that is the true secret of what is on the other side of 'the shadow line'.
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Shallow and negative
Anthony Page11 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
**** Spoilers **** I watched the whole series, all 7 episodes and I understood it all, nothing here too hard to understand. This show has been compared to The Wire. Very unfortunate since such a contrast shows this series flaws. The Wire was realistic the events believable. You felt these things *could* happen in this world and did. I don't think The Shadow Line aspires to this. All the events and corruption, betrayal for a police pension? I was as incredulous as Jonah Gabriel when he asked the former cop on the boat if he was actually disguising all that corruption for altruism.

Most of the acting was good. Most of the story was good but I never just look at that. I look at the overall plot and the effect the series will have on the world. Is the overall plot believable? No. Is this a warning of what could really happen in the world? Of course not. This is the new millennium folks not the 70's. I have a little more faith in the police force in Britain than that. Besides if millions of dollars suddenly show up in the police pension fund someone is going to notice.

The series is called the Shadow Line. a reference to the moral line the characters draw in themselves. Bad morals were well documented but the other side, the good side is almost completely absent. At the end of the series Gatehouse and Patterson ask is it so clear to draw that line? Jonah Gabriel says to Gatehouse "of course"... honestly I was waiting to hear more. Obviously the good side of "THE SHADOW LINE" is not well represented here.

I don't need a happy ending, but the ending in this film was negative in the extreme.
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Twisty British Police Drama
ronroc-16 August 2011
Chiwetel was brilliant! He's never lightweight! This is a mixture of Mamet and David Simon (Homicide: Life On The Street) with an American '70's movie vibe (I'm thinking PARALAX VIEW) thrown in. It's all about how the supposed law & order top brass are more corrupt than their criminal counterparts. I liked the cynical view that emerged which seems to indicate that there's really no place for a moral or compassionate person in the cutthroat world of modern life. All those that prevail ultimately have sold out their moral codes in favor of greed and corruption. Kind of downbeat but beautifully executed. Stephen Rea is one of the most chilling villains to come along in a long time. Christopher Eccelston's character was the most sympathetic and his arc is heartbreaking. Of course this is heightened reality but that's the point.
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10/10
Great new drama from the BBC
Tweekums16 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Before this series started previews suggested it would be one to watch; often such shows don't live up to the hype but this one certainly did. The seven part series follows the investigation into the murder of Wratten, a drug baron, who has just been released form prison following a royal pardon. Nobody on the investigation knows what he did to gain his pardon; it must have been something important though as they aren't usually given to drug dealers. Jonah Gabriel, the officer leading the investigation has recently returned to duty after an incident that left his partner dead and himself with a bullet in the brain and a lost memory; he doesn't even know if he is corrupt or not. He isn't the only person eager to learn who killed Wratten; his nephew and other members of his organisation are keen to find out who killed him as well as trying to get a large shipment of heroin into the country. Of course not everybody is keen to see the crime solved; it seems that as soon as a new lead is found a mysterious character who goes by the name of 'Gatehouse' eliminates that lead. As the series reaches its dramatic conclusion the tally of the dead increases; this tally includes some real surprises that come as a real shock when they occur.

This was a gripping drama; Chiwetel Ejiofor does a fine job as Gabriel and Christopher Eccleston and Rafe Spall are good as drug dealers Joseph Bede and Jay Wratten; however it is Stephen Rea who steals the show as the sinister and enigmatic 'Gatehouse'. It is a mystery who he is; is he rival dealer or does he work for the state? His appearance certainly resembles fictional spy George Smiley. If these mysteries aren't enough we also have corruption in the police, a drug dealer coping with a wife with Alzheimer's and a policeman who is wife is desperate to have a child. Hugo Blick did a great job bringing this to the screen as the writer, producer and director; he created a story that is both gripping and atmospheric...The final episode was one of the tensest things I've seen on television for a long time and also one of the most shocking. While I loved this series some people might not be keen as there is a fair amount of swearing and some fairly shocking violence some of which involves children.
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6/10
Self-consciously portentous
ferdinand193229 October 2012
This series is a cut above the bulk of similar genre shows. It has a good story and is well-plotted. Some of the characters are better cast than is typical and it therefore holds the attention.

Where it falls down is that all the characters have the same way of talking, their speech is from a version of a David Mamet power and crime drama and laced with some contemporary management speak. They take an idea and riff it - like Mamet does - and speak quietly and coolly to show they are all powerful. It becomes boring after a while.

Additionally, the interaction between the police is unrealistic. People are abusive and often plain stupid which seems an unlikely trait and rather odd, certainly compared with the criminals, who are eccentric but very polite. It indicates style over substance which is a weakness in the series.

Overall, good, but no way as good as the creators self-consciously believe it is.
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4/10
So much is good about it but its not as good as it thinks it is
Chris Bennett10 June 2011
Well I am watching it and will watch it to the bitter end. There is a lot to enjoy but I am increasingly disappointed and am finding more and more things annoying. It has a lot of very good actors working their socks off with something that tries to be clever.

But that seems to be half the problem. They try so hard to put so much stuff in so that people think that's 'clever' that it helps to highlight things that don't work - little details like people never locking cars after leaving them which contrast so strongly with the little details we are 'supposed' to notice. There is also the level of violence which doesn't always work and feels that its just there for effect. And its increasingly full of clichés. In other words they just seem to try too hard and when it clunks it really clunks. The whole thing in the hospital ward for instance.

I know its a very different beast from Edge of Darkness to which it has been compared and maybe its just that I saw that a long long time ago - but that was so much better structured and shot - and the Wire - well that was a lot of not much happening with occasional dramatic events which were so much more effective for being a little unusual. This tries but sadly its nothing like as good as either
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1/10
Terrible rubbish
daphnemillar21 June 2011
In an ideal world the system for making films would have stopped this being such a waste of time. The Director would have told the writer that the script was stodgy , pretentious and incomprehensible. Long, gabbled screeds of exposition from one of the characters are no substitute for seeing things happen. If that had not worked, the Producer would have told the Director to get a grip. Some scenes are shot in what seem to be slow motion, so long does it take to do the simplest thing such as light a cigarette. On the other hand important events seem to get missed out altogether. And if that process had not worked the writer and director could have gone to the producer and said they now realised it was a terrible mistake to try to stretch it all out over 7 hours, so could they get an outside editor to cut it back. That's the way it's supposed to happen. Unfortunately, the writer, director and producer of this massively boring piece of pretension have been much too easy on each other. Maybe that's because all three roles are filled by Hugo Blick. Some people claimed this would be Britain's answer to "The Wire." That's a bit like saying a hole in the road is Britain's answer to the Grand Canyon. All of the actors (and there are some very fine ones on display) did a very good job of playing their parts. But if one of them had said early on "I'm not saying this; this is rubbish," everything would have been much better.
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2/10
So disappointing!
kjg2820 June 2011
I was recommended this series by a friend. I find it visually uninteresting, the writing is poor, the small details (locking care doors, smoking in an office inside a police station - not for years! - car chases around London that don't make sense if you actually know east London at all ) and the acting is a let down. There are a few glimmers of hope, and I will persevere (well I've bought it on iTunes as I live outside the UK - So frankly I've paid for it now!)

It appears to have been done on a low budget and reminds me of the 'spoofs' that you see on the impressions show. Such a shame - I was hoping for another gem like Zen, oh well!
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1/10
Load of rubbish!
shedmcnee17 June 2011
After much anticipation, words almost fail to describe how bad I found this to be. After reading the reviews it seems a mixed bag of opinions. Some liked it, some didn't. I'm with the latter. From the onset it was full of clichés. To be honest I found the first fifteen minutes so boring and the dialogue so inept and unreal, that I felt like slashing my wrists with a blunt instrument! Ultimately coming to the natural conclusion (with much heart felt relief) that life was way too short to stick with it any longer! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that my cat could have written a better dialogue. Who writes this stuff? I turned off when a stereotypical butch man-woman started bad mouthing the cop on duty at a crime scene. The script was so unreal... embarrassingly awful. Do yourself a favour and give this a BIG miss! Watch Injustice with James Purefoy instead - pure class!
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10/10
Some professional reviewers claim that this is the best piece of thriller drama produced by British television in years
Mobithailand3 May 2016
If you appreciate a good yarn, superlative acting and a story that will keep you riveted throughout its seven hours of screen time, then you could do little better than watch The Shadow Line.

The Shadow Line is a complex story of criminals who kill and double cross each other and of a police force that is as corrupt and violent as the criminals they are trying to put away. We are not spared generous doses of horrific violence and the villain-in-chief, a character who goes by the name of 'Gatehouse', is so frighteningly malevolent, that he has been compared to Hannibal Lector in his ability to put the heebie-jeebies into the viewing public.

I was very surprised to learn that about 2.5 million viewers abandoned watching this series after the second episode, and it has left me in despair as to what the modern audiences regard as good entertainment.

I truly wonder just what the length of the average attention span and the level of intelligence of the average viewer can be these days. Sure, on occasion, the plot moved slowly – but only in the interest of character development. Do we really want all our 'cops and robbers' to be purely two-dimensional people or do we want to be able to relate to them and try to understand what makes them 'tick', much as we can in TV series such as 'Sopranos' or 'Boardwalk Empire?

And just because a plot has several twists and turns, does that mean that it is incomprehensible to the average viewer? If this old codger can understand it, then surely the younger generation to should be able to follow it in their sleep!

Some professional reviewers claim that this is the best piece of thriller drama produced by British television in years, and I am inclined to agree with them. They certainly pulled out all their stops and the results were exhilarating. But a small word of warning; if you do hunt this series down and watch it – don't expect anything approaching a conventional ending. And there certainly won't be any sequels – thank God!

I was interested to note that the entire series was filmed in the Isle of Man, even though it is largely set in London with a few scenes in Ireland. Believe me, you would never have known it. There were no obvious signs that the producers cut any corners to save production costs.

It is a bit of crusade of mine to somehow get Hollywood to drastically reduce the obscene amounts of money they spend on movies. It just isn't necessary, as we have seen time and time again by all the low budget films and TV series that are every bit as good, and can attract equally large audiences.

If the principal 'players': actors, writers, producers and directors alike, refuse to drop their ridiculous pay demands, then go and search out new talent. I'm quite sure that there's plenty around.

And then Hollywood wouldn't be screaming so loudly about all the illegal downloads of their products and they wouldn't be obliged to charge far too much for the privilege of buying a legitimate copy. Get the movie costs down and then charge a sensible download fee that the average Joe can afford to pay. And everyone will be happy.

I know – pigs might fly
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