Brighton-set crime thriller The Level lacks the thrills to cut the mustard
“I think someone on the team is helping the killer”
Written by Gaby Chiappe and Alexander Perrin and airing on ITV back in 2016, The Level adds to the ever-increasing list of serviceable crime dramas that disappear without trace after a single series. As is often the case, there’s nothing particularly bad about them it is just that it is such a crowded marketplace that unless you really cut through somehow with the freshest of takes, the requisite impact is not made.
And such is the case here. The USP here is a Brighton setting and a detective investigating a case with which she has a very personal connection – so, not particularly unique all told. It does make for an arresting start as National Crime Division’s DS Nancy Devlin is assigned to Brighton CID to investigate the murder of businessman Frank Le Saux, a man who Nancy considered a father figure and a murder at which Nancy was actually present, tenseness ahoy.
But from that set-up follows an insane set of actions as Nancy does her level best (ba-doom-tish) to keep her involvement secret, whilst simultaneously throwing herself headlong into incriminating situation after incriminating situation, all while trying to deceive her colleagues/solve the case/deal with her inevitable troubling family situation. It’s credulity-stretching in the worst way, and thus ultimately rather dull in its shallowness.
Karla Crome tries hard as Nancy but too often you’re left wondering WTF has she done now. Laura Haddock fares a little better as Frank’s daughter and Nancy’s erstwhile pal Hayley but there’s not enough chemistry to ignite the would-be love triangle between Nance and Rob James-Collier and Noel Clarke as rival DSs. Lindsey Coulson’s terse DCI comes off best of all as secrets start to tumble and body counts start to mount, but this wasn’t the one for me.