TV Review: Messiah 2: Vengeance Is Mine (2003)

Messiah 2: Vengeance Is Mine keeps the gruesome intensity of this series effectively and chillingly high

“For every wrong conviction we’ve made, an innocent person could die”

Following on from the success of the first series, Messiah 2: Vengeance Is Mine continues in the same vein though it does so with an original screenplay from Lizzie Mickery, who adapted Boris Starling’s novel first time around. And much like the first series of certain successful Scandi-dramas, it manages the transition away from a highly personal narrative for its leads into something (slightly) more general.

That’s not to say that the cases here aren’t intimately linked to the key investigating team of Red Medcalfe (Ken Stott), Kate Beauchamp (Frances Grey) and Duncan Warren (Neil Dudgeon) but there’s only so far you can drag a tortured soul so directly through the mire. A subplot featuring Red’s brother does it best but you can’t deny its effectiveness in mirroring the key themes here, humanising the conflicts.

Once again, I remembered vividly who the serial killer was, so it was a case of watching to see howtheydunnit rather than whodunnit but I do think the show is skilfully and tautly plotted. Police mistakes are the thing being punished here and those punishments are superbly brutal (the only criticism might be in who gets the fridging treatment, though that’s perhaps thoughts of modern-day minority representation creeping in).

Stott and Dudgeon are powerfully effective once again, both delivering excellent performances as the increasingly desperate detectives, Grey suffers a little by comparison with Kate not being given as much to do this time around. Michelle Forbes as Red’s profoundly deaf wife is also very good (and again, today’s me says why cast a hearing actor in the role…). A sophomore success as good as the first.

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