TV Review: Dalgliesh (Series 2)

Bertie Carvel’s Dalgliesh still proves a little too impenetrable in Series 2 but some cracking guest stars make this an improvement on the first

“Everyone loves a good murder”

Despite wanting to like it, I wasn’t mad keen on the first series of Dalgliesh but a glimpse at the supporting cast for the second meant that there was no chance I would give it go. Sylvestra Le Touzel, Sorcha Cusack, Robin Soans and Anastasia Hille in the same episode?! Deborah Findlay and Dominic Rowan in another. Hook me up!

Series 2 follows the same format in adapting three stories over two parts each, not quite enough running time to give PD James’ writing the treatment it deserves, though Helen Edmundson works hard to condense them. Death of an Expert Witness, A Certain Justice and The Murder Room are the three at hand here, the seemingly random selection suggesting that this might be the last televised this way as The Murder Room is the 12th book in the Dalgliesh series.

My feelings about the show remain largely the same. Bertie Carvel is a great actor but this Adam Dalgliesh is not a great character, certainly not gripping enough to build a franchise around as his gruff manner and tilted head remain really quite alienating. Who gives a crap that he’s an award-winning poet. What humanises him in baby steps is the budding professional relationship with Carlyss Peer’s DS Miskin but it is small pickings.

But from miserable science labs to miserable lawyers’ chambers to a miserable museum (has the 1970s ever seemed so grim?!), some top tier guest casting makes all three stories highly watchable. Richard Harrington is a highlight in Death of an Expert Witness which doesn’t quite have enough Deborah Findlay, Sara Stewart and Barbara Marten shine in A Certain Justice and The Murder Room is sheer heaven as Le Touzel, Hille and Cusack deliver perfection.

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