TV Review: Waking the Dead Series 4

It took them a moment but Series 4 of Waking the Dead finally gets round to shaking up the formula, poor Mel 

“That’s not how my mother said it would be. In her day, you didn’t expect to be widowed and then go through the ignominy of having your late husband’s body covered with another man’s semen”

Spoiler alert, Mel’s rooftop demise is etched in my memory but I couldn’t remember exactly when it came in terms of the show as a whole. So I was pleased when I got to the end of Series 4 and only a few moments before did I clock that this would be Claire Goose’s final episode of Waking the Dead, the episode refreshingly free of too much foreshadowing.

It is a shame that it took killing one of the team but you have to say the show needed it, having settled far too easily into a formulaic rhythm which meant this grand rewatch hasn’t been as engaging as I first thought it might be. Without any real overarching series arcs, there’s not quite the dramatic impetus that merits the attention ist is currently getting from me.

Still, a quality level of guest cast is a constant delight, the hints of Wil Johnson’s Spencer becoming a mini-me of Boyd’s toxic masculinity are darkly interesting and the introduction of different storytelling modes (one episode is told in a non-linear way) indicate the awareness for a new freshness for the long-running show.

Top guest appearances

  1. The mighty Frances De La Tour is excellent in her few scenes in ‘False Flag’ but the dishiness of Peter de Jersey’s briefly seen Dr Reed trumps all
  2. Denise Black is usually good value for money and as the cagey Ingrid Faulkner in ‘Fugue States’ , there’s no exception
  3. Helen Schlesinger is under-used but still effective as an ex-con’s forgiving wife in the weird textures of ‘Anger Management’
  4. ‘The Hardest Word’ features an ace Phil Daniels as a hard-boiled DSI is ace but Emma Fielding’s profiler Dr Greta Simpson is the bee’s knees
  5. And in the traumatic closer ‘Shadowplay’, the marvellous Eve Best is excellent as the troubled Natasha

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