TV Review: Vigil (Series 2)

Series 2 of Vigil comes to a rollicking good end, with Suranne Jones in great form

“I think it has to be someone else”

I’d forgotten that Vigil was actually the name of the submarine from Series 1, so there’s quite the tenuous link in Series 2 adopting the same name. But nitpicking aside, the important thing is that Tom Edge’s twisting conspiracy thriller sticks the landing once again, with a gripping story running parallel tracks in the Middle East and Midlothian and Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie leading each with gritty conviction and a constant refusal to wait for back-up before entering dangerous situations.

Split into two sets of three episodes (here’s my thoughts on the first), the target this time around was the military-industrial complex as the murky intersection between the British military services and the private sector was explored, with particular reference to international relations with Middle Eastern countries and the UK’s role in providing weaponry, logistical support and even direct intervention in regional conflicts. Heavy duty stuff but lightly drawn as its corkscrew twists keep us constantly guessing.

Part of the key, I think, is to just not take it that seriously. If perceived inaccuracies about uniforms keep you up at night, then I’m sorry for you (we’re dealing with a fictional British Air Force rather than the actual Royal Air Force here…); likewise the experienced police folk consistently running off to crisis situations without backup (even when they’re six months pregnant), it needs that suspension of disbelief so that it can be a pacy thriller rather than a doggedly detail-oriented docudrama.

And with gays and lesbians aplenty, terrorists who may or may not be terrorists and menacing military types lurking around every corner, it was right up my street. Suranne Jones’ steely DCI Silva tenaciously probing towards the truth of who was responsible for the deadly drone attack that opened this series, Rose Leslie’s DS Longacre battling societal prejudices about whether pregnant women should work as much as the criminals she’s chasing, and superb supporting work from Romola Garai and Dougray Scott as two of those more senior military bods.

Chris Jenks and Oscar Salem also give great performances as two of the drone pilots caught up in the drama in the fictional country of Wudyan, their storyline full of increasing emotion and I also enjoyed Amir El-Masry as Daniel Ramsey, his MI5 agent adding another layer of complexity to the whole shebang. Now it has been successfully released from the confines of the submarine, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a Vigil 3 as corruption and conspiracy remain evergreen topics (qv the Mone of it all).

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