Sky Atlantic has gone for broke with its new four-part crime drama Falcón, based on Robert Wilson’s popular series of novels. The Seville-set series features a strong cast including Marton Csokas as the titular Javier Falcón, Charlie Creed-Miles (brilliant in the Gary Oldman-directed Nil By Mouth) and Emilia Fox. The cinematography is suitably cinematic and the show’s budget is evidently higher than contemporary British detective dramas – and likes to brag about it.
Falcón‘s accented ‘o’ signifies it is serious and exotically Spanish; a step up from your standard murder-at-the-vicarage fayre. Without it, the show would be called Falcon, which sounds like a companion piece to Swallow, Alan Partridge’s unsuccessful rural detective series pitch to BBC commissioner Tony Hayers.
Last week’s first episode paved the groundwork: Javier Falcón is brooding and simmers with sexual energy, but is plagued by mental strife. Other than that he’s quite highly regarded as a detective. Falcón is essentially a hypersexualised, angsty John Nettles. This week continued along the same path as the sizzling Spaniard seduced one of his suspects, turned up at grisly murder scenes to explain the plot and went after a villain in a darkened villa with a handgun.
The moral ambiguity of the protagonist sets the show aside from run-of-the-mill ITV1 dramas. Though that’s about the only thing it has going for it. All the familiar tropes are here: Falcón’s wife left him because he’s married to the job, he’s cracking up on the inside.
The show does take itself too seriously at times, though the eye-gouging violence is a neat idea, tapping in to the post-Se7en ideas of artsy-bludgeon porn.
Falcón is engaging enough, benefiting from sumptuous camerawork and editing, though it does leave you feeling a like you’ve seen it all before in a million other detective dramas.