Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recommended: Hulu snags BBC's Line of Duty

My love of foreign TV shows is well-documented. I enjoy suggesting some Canadian tv, as well as lots and lots of BBC shows. I only wish I could find material from even more countries - in English or not - to recommend to you. I love seeing things that are different, learning to enjoy new actors, and not feeling mired in the same old American tropes.

Well, today's installment of Recommended (the post title is already too long) is worth being excited about: Line of Duty is a new BBC series that began airing its 5 episodes 2 months ago. The series wrapped up last month, and Hulu made an excellent choice in snagging this show. It's top-notch, and ep 2 goes live today, so you can jump on board now...

We open with an anti-terror raid in London. Steve Arnott talks his SWAT team through their raid on a suspected bomber. The men bust in, a man inside turns around, and one of the team fires twice. Killing an innocent father who's holding his infant at the time. They raided the wrong place - the old "the 9 on the door fell down and is a 6" gag - and the right apartment (with threats written on the walls) is empty.

It's the worst possible outcome, but a rock-faced superior makes it all more horrible as he quickly gives the team a made-up story that makes them look alright. Steve just can't go along with it, and a short while later, he joins the UK equivalent of the Internal Affairs division. No one else will have him.

On the flipside, we come to one of my favorite actors, Lennie James. I love love love this man, as he's a fine, compelling actor who can really breathe life into any part; he's kind of like a dark-skinned version of Christopher Walken that's good with action scenes. This time out, Lennie plays Tony Gates, super-cop.

Tony sits in a cafe with a woman he's been intimate with for a long time. They're flirting, she talks about tonight being "his big night," and then we hear a woman outside screaming. He runs outside, sees two men mugging a lady, disarms one and beats up the other. And then we see him win a "Top Cop" award that evening. And later, we see him go home to his actual wife and kid.

Meanwhile: officer Kate Fleming does her best to address low-level crimes. Her boss makes her work more difficult, telling her to prioritize solvable cases and ignore ones that are unlikely to be closed. Tony's unit has been told they can't just have all male officers, and Kate sees her chance to advance beyond a simple desk job.

Also meanwhile: our newest IA officer (they call it "CID" over there) learns that his boss wants to investigate Tony. Steve struggles with the idea of fighting other cops instead of serious crime, but the ball's already rolling on that one. And the ball's just about to start rolling on a few more major problems.

All these people are now in each other's orbit, as Tony takes on two bloody cases and IA scrambles to find a bad guy. This drama is very tense, has a good sense of humor, and is a great change addition to Hulu's lineup. Better still, Line of Duty has already been renewed for a 2nd season, so you've got more of this to look forward to in the future.

A new episode of LoD will go live on Hulu every Tuesday for the next 4 weeks; today, the 2nd ep goes up. I'm excited to see how it plays out, and I strongly recommend you watch it, too. Let me know what you think. And if you know of more good foreign shows, fill me in. The only annoying part of this English show is I have no idea what their ranks are; & I don't care.

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