TV Review: Blue Lights

In a crowded market, Blue Lights is probably one of the best new police dramas out there

“Have you ever thought there’s maybe a different way of doing this job?”

The world is hardly crying out for new police dramas but when they’re done well, they can be hard to resist. Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson’s Blue Lights is definitely one of those – Saturday lunchtime saw me pop on Episode 1 to see what it was like and by the end of Sunday, I’d binged it all and that was with me trying to show some restraint!

Set in Belfast, the show spares us nothing of the unique complexity of policing in such a continually febrile environment. The history of the Troubles is never far from anyone’s mind, the rise in organised crime is shifting power dynamics and through the eyes of three new recruits to the force, there’s a propulsive energy to the show that is hard to resist.

Siân Brooke’s Grace was a social worker and is finding old habits hard to break, whereas Katherine Devlin’s Annie and Nathan Braniff’s Tommy are genuine rookies, and this gives us a freshness of persective away from the ‘experienced detective with a past’ trope that has been much abused so recently. Largely paired with their own senior officers, a real sense of the ensemble emerges across the six episodes.

Grace’s connection with Martin McCann’s Stevie is great, as her idealism comes up hard against his realism. And the entirely green Tommy partners so well with Richard Dormer’s grizzled Gerry who can’t help but slip into paternal mode. The presence of the secret services adds intrigue into what becomes a long-running storyline but the avoidance of cases-of-the-week helps avoid a soapy tone and results in some devastatingly effective work towards the end. Bring on the new series now already please and thank you!

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