TV Review: In the Dark

MyAnna Buring leads In the Dark, a middling crime drama from 2017

“Stop asking questions or you might find out something you don’t want to know”

With MyAnna Buring currently starring in Anthropology at the Hampstead Theatre, what better time to watch a show in which she is the lead. Crime thriller In the Dark aired on the BBC in 2017 and is an adaptation of two Mark Billingham novels, which explains why this four-part series is a little disjointed.

Buring plays DI Helen Weeks, a detective with the Manchester Metropolitan Police who goes through a lot here. We first find her deciding to take some leave when a case of two missing girls in the nearby Derbyshire countryside turns out to involve her childhood best friend, who is the mother of one of the girls. Helen has also recently discovered that she is pregnant and so uses the trip to visit her gay dad along with her boyfriend Paul who is also a detective.

It’s an effective opener, a gruesome and gripping mystery given extra colour by the fact that Helen is being forced to reluctantly revisit her past here (Sinéad Matthews is monstrously brilliant in a cameo as a former school colleague). Buring is excellent, connecting well with Ben Batt as her fella and together they play off some highly emotional scenes (a key double revelation is cleverly played to show how she really is no saint). Pearce Quigley is also good fun as a local landlord.

The second story proves a little more curious, shifting us several months along so that Helen is now heavily pregnant, dealing with the fallout from the above-mentioned and then smacked in the face by tragedy. It provides the hook into a fascinating story that folds in police corruption and the grim realities of inner-city Manchester life but it also asks for a touch too much emotional investment in characters that we barely know. Fisayo Akinade is the standout guest actor here and there’s worse things than being left wanting more from a series. Catch it on iPlayer if you like.

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