Saturday, 4 July 2015

No Offence

Did you watch No Offence? - I loved it, especially Joanna Scanlan
Balls - but not a man in sight.
as D. I. Deering.

But every single person in it was excellent - Elaine Cassidy as the Polish speaking D. C. Kowalska - Alexandra Roach as the rather shy and prim D. S. Freers -

Oh, did I mention that this show has wonderful roles for women? (And, amazingly, the show has completed its whole run, and I haven't yet heard my partner say that it's good but 'makes men look bad,' as he did, on a regular basis, about Scott and Bailey. Perhaps we aren't seeing enough of each other.)

Joanna Scanlon
The Guardian called the programme 'a love letter to Manchester.' I don't know Manchester at all, and I'm not a bit in love with it, but I still thoroughly enjoyed No Offence. The script and all the acting was as good as it gets.

The penultimate episode disappointed me a little. It seemed that it was falling back on the good old detective novel ploy of making 'who-dunnit' the one character who - because of personality, lack of motive, means, opportunity, etc - absolutely could not have done it... And then by an unconvincing and unlikely twist, revealing that it was this character wot dun it after all.

My mother used to read a lot of detective novels, and I quickly found that - especially with the traditional, British 'country house' type - you could skim through the introductions of the characters at the start, decide which one could not possibly be the murderer, and then flip to the back to discover by what hokey-pokery the author had made it possible that they were.

Since this trickery was the whole point - not insight into human nature, or commentary on society - I couldn't be bothered wading through the rest of the set-dressing. The point of these novels, I gather, from friends who enjoy them, is solving the puzzle. Fair enough for those who like that sort of thing - they will be better judges of these books than me. I've never been a puzzle-solving, crosswords and sudoko sort of person.

I was put off detective novels for quite a while - until, much later, I discovered Minette Walters and Mo Hayder, whose novels are more 'why-dun-it' than 'who-dunnit.' With plenty of commentary and insight on both society and human nature, together with a gripping plot. The comment and insight is biased, of course, and not necessarily truthful or accurate - but arguing with the book's assumptions is part of the fun.
The No Offence cast

So when I thought No Offence was heading the way of the puzzle plot, it saddened me. All that characterisation, I thought, all that quality acting - just to lead up to 'Who'd-Have-Thought-It?' twist ending.

The penultimate episode also disappointed because it looked like D. I. Deering was going all soft and gooey, like any girlie.

But I watched the last epidode anyway, for completion's sake - and was glad I did. It took me by surprise, and made me sit up straight on the sofa. D. I. Deering hadn't gone soft after all. And things are left in a very promising place for the new series we're promised next year.

I'll say no more, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. But honestly, it's very good.


madwippitt said...

Yes, the why-dunnits appealed more to me until recently too - Ruth Rendell was a favourite. I used to like Columbo on TV too: you knew right from the start who dun it: the interest was in seeing how the villain would get caught. I liked Prime Suspect too: I'd only caught bits of a few episodes but sat down a couple of years ago with the entire box set and watched hem back-to-back. Which was worth doing to see the character develop over the years. Another feisty female lead.
I haven't seen this one yet: but I'll watch out for it when it's repeated!

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks for this recommendation. The "humour 'n crime" angle wouldn't usually make me watch such a series, but luckily we'd saved some episodes.