TV Review: The Fixer (Series 2)

The Fixer returned for Series 2 but for my money, didn’t reach the same heights, even with Elliot Cowan in a recurring role

“He came for me, a cold blooded hitman”

Knowing what they’ve got, it doesn’t take Series 2 of The Fixer even 10 minutes before they’re putting Andrew Buchan’s John Mercer sweaty in a vest in front of us. For those less inclined that way, there’s stuff to appreciate here but I don’t think this second series is as successful as the first, despite the presence of Elliot Cowan (was this show tailored for me…?!) as new pseudo-antagonist MI6’s Matthew Symmonds.

There’s more of a serialised feel to this season. The cases-of-the-week are still there but feel a little less significant, more in service of the wider storyline which sees Symmonds supplant Peter Mullan’s Lenny as the head honcho. It makes Lenny less interesting to be honest, removing some of the ambiguity from his character and uniting the team against a common enemy, as opposed to the infighting of before (although some of that does still remain). Cowan doesn’t actually get a huge amount to do as Symmonds largely appears at the top and tail of each episode but he’s as appealing good as he always is, even when playing someone as slippery as this.

There’s also an upping of the entertainment stakes at the expense of the show’s previous dramatic integrity. The studies of moral good versus legal reality are largely chucked for more solidly amoral villains (child traffickers, soldier killers, mean-looking cagefighters…) and the shenanigans that ensure just feel a bit sillier, p[articularly as Mercer is meant to be SAS-trained but rarely shows any of that tactical nous as the character is pushed to be more of an action hero.

Buchan does this well but it just isn’t as interesting (the character suffers too from the absence of sister Jess, Liz White not returning for this series). Tamzin Outhwaite gets one decent story involving the case that saw her booted from the police force but not much else of interest and Mullan ends up floundering a little with the writing for his reduced role. Entertaining guest spots include David Harewood, Mark Benton and Sam Spruell but it isn’t too hard to see why this didn’t get a third series despite the cliffhanger ending.

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