TV Review: Vigil

Maybe I missed the point but I really rather enjoyed the campy, ridiculous side of submarine drama Vigil

“They’ve tried to disable us. Now they’re hunting us”

I think a lot of people were expecting Vigil to be the new Line of Duty, the Guardian even set up one of their episode-by-episode blogs. But somehow I missed that memo, assuming it was less of a serious drama and more of a campy thriller from the off, hence finding its increasingly improbable twists and turns juicily enjoyable and never expecting much realism from it.

Which is how I think we should take most TV shows these days, escapism serving as a valuable corrective tool for our times and allowing drama to flourish in enjoyable ways. Created by Tom Edge, Vigil is a police procedural mostly set on a Trident submarine and thus has even more opportunity to piss off the growing number of armchair experts whose voluble online responses are increasingly being used as new stories by an increasingly lazy media.

Suranne Jones plays the role of DCI Amy Silva, tasked with investigating a death onboard HMS Vigil, a submarine that has to remain at sea as part of the nuclear deterrent. But as she starts her investigation, it is clear that it is a far-from-straightforward case and as she digs deeper in that confined space, she butts heads with both the Royal Navy and MI5 as well as her own mental health.

It pushes and probes into a wide range of fascinating areas, with the cover-up of the sinking of a trawler to be factored in, as well as the clash of management styles between Silva and the submarine’s command chain, the highly regimented code of conduct on a sub proving a constant bugbear for her. Paterson Joseph, Adam James and Shaun Evans are all excellent in their naval roles as is Rose Leslie as Silva’s on-land partner (in work) and ex (in life).

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