TV Review: Scott and Bailey Series 4

“This is something I can’t ignore”

Typical really, the first series of Scott & Bailey that I actually get to watch live on air and it’s the first one that disappointed me. I caught up quickly with the first three over the last few weeks so that I would be up to speed with Series 4 but all in all, I didn’t feel like it was up to the standard. No real overarching story emerged across the eight episodes and without the heightened drama that would have added, this just felt like a retread of some of the same old plot points.

An ill-advised affair with a colleague, a promotion not taken due to personal circumstances, Janet’s kids playing up, tough but tender relations with Gill…it does feel like we’ve been here before. And though there are new twists, none of them really took flight – Rachel’s step up to sergeant never really foregrounded, a hint of romance for Janet left until the very end. The individual cases that came up maintained the usual level of interest but something was lacking in the end.

The series only really came to life with the finale, where Ellie Haddington brought a genuinely chilling sense of evil to proceedings as an exploitative farmer and for once, it really wasn’t clear which way events would go, a rare moment of classic villainy that brought real jeopardy to the team, especially Amelia Bullmore’s Gill, on the cusp of retirement but getting a little demob happy with the bottles of booze in the office.

And astute observational moments shone through too, like the passing remark about none of the shops from 20 years ago being on the high street anymore in one early case, hinting at how the make-up of town centres has been changed irrevocably by supermarkets and economic crises. Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones maintained their excellent work in this serial drama but if it is to continue, I hope the writers give them better material to work with to help maintain what made the earlier episodes so special.

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