TV Review: The Fixer (Series 1)

Series 1 of 2008 crime drama The Fixer is rather enjoyable, and not just for Andrew Buchan in a vest

“How did I become a hitman for the state”

Dating back to 2008, The Fixer was an ITV crime drama that lasted for two series with Andrew Buchan in the lead role. He plays John Mercer who finds himself unexpectedly released early from prison after killing his aunt and uncle. It’s OK though, because they were abusing his sister Jess (the marvellous Liz White). As it turns out though, he’s been sprung to become a government-backed assassin at the behest of Peter Mullan’s shady Lenny Douglas.

Douglas is a former police officer who now heads up this covert unit and it is all necessarily a bit shadowy but their job is to execute extra-judicial justice. Criminals who think they’ve got away with it, police officers who think they’re beyond the law, even former members of the unit with a grudge, it is now Mercer’s job to dispatch them, with a threat hanging over the lovely Jess and her two kids as a handy piece of leverage.

Created by Spooks supremo Ben Richards, it is all rather slickly done, a procession of case-of-the-week stories underpinned by series-long threads about the rumbling personal issues in the team. Mercer has a partner-in-crime foisted on him, Jody Latham’s Calum, so there’s their reluctant buddying up; Tamzin Outhwaite’s slippery Rose is also in the mix as entangled emotional connections start to cause problems for everyone.

Mullan growls well as the inscrutable Douglas and Buchan is really quite good as the morally conflicted (to a degree at least) Mercer, caught between necessity and the darker side of his personality. There’s also a decent supply of supporting performances through the episodes – Paterson Joseph is a real highlight as a disgruntled vigilante and Saskia Reeves brings her customary intensity as a grieving mother cheated of justice.

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