TV Review: Vigil, (Series 2 Episodes 1-3)

Suranne Jones’ DCI Amy Silva returns in Series 2 of Vigil, with the submarine replaced with a Middle Eastern military base

“I’m saying we need to avoid causing an international incident”

In the ever-changing way that broadcasters are dropping their ‘content’, Series 2 of Vigil is being released in two parts – the first three episodes dropped on iPlayer on Sunday and stripped over three nights on BBC1, with the same pattern repeated next Sunday for the final three episodes. It’s obviously the way of the future but I do miss the watercooler aspect of it all, being able to chat with friends and family without having to check whether they’ve watched it yet.

I found the first series to be quite the campy thriller but this is altogether more serious, at least thus far. We’re in the world of the military-industrial complex, with a murky relationship between our armed forces and the private sector under the spotlight, particularly where a partnership with fictional Middle Eastern country Wudyan is concerned. And in a thrilling opening sequence where drones with guns are being tested, the crimes are committed that leads to Silva being brought in.

The investigation into who seized control of the remote-controlled drones never looks like it is going to be straight-forward – the secrecy around the arms company overriding so much, the confused chains of commands used to evade responsibility. But they’ve not taken Silva’s doggedness into account, buttressed by on-again partner DS Longacre (Rose Leslie) leading the investigation in Scotland whilst Silva jets out to the Middle East to butt heads there.

Romola Garai is icily brilliant as Squadron Leader Eliza Russell, brusque in her every interaction as she increasingly fears the treason on her base and Dougray Scott is also strong as the slippery Air Vice-Marshal whose motivations are unclear. Tom Edge’s writing has an impressively epic scope too, as he indicts profit-based international relations, he also sweeps over LGBTQ+ lives, women working while pregnant and the secret services into the bargain. Great fun.

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