Good Cop Review: Episode One

GOOD COP: Thursday 30th August, BBC1, 9pm

Now the summer’s over and we’ve got the Olympics and the rain out of the way, we can settle down for the new TV season – and that means a fresh faced batch of new coppers ready to be put through the ringer of personal torment. And there’s a lot of torment to be personal-ed in Good Cop.

John Paul “Savâ€? Rocksavage (Warren Brown) is the eponymous copper and though he seems a decent enough egg, an estranged ex-girlfriend and a penchant for vengeance suggest a deeper irony to the programme’s title. Sav’s partner Andy (Tom Hopper) is just too likeable for this world. He buys the bacon butties and worries about his flirting. You know he’s not going to see the end of the first episode long before the telly comes down on his head.

It’s bleak and it’s grim in the way we’ve come to expect from crime drama, but that’s fair enough. “New Tricks” was back on Monday and a mild case of cancer aside, it was its cheery old self. Somebody out there in the karmic TV multiverse has to pay for all that whimsy.

As Sav’s father reminds him, “The problem with being a copper is you see too much shite. The world is good. People are goodâ€? It’s the sort of gift that makes you wish “Good Cop” was worse than it is, just so you could make some cheap joke about a television reviewer’s job being very similar. But sadly for us, it’s actually quite decent. Ignore the moody publicity photos, this is a revenge thriller in the best exploitation mould. Give Sav a ‘tache and you could’ve cast Charles Bronson.

The villain of the piece, Noel Finch – played by Stephen Graham, who does a nice line in nasty shits – is more or less a cypher. Pending potential future revelations, he’s bad for the purposes of being bad; one of the many messed up masculine stereotypes the collective unconscious likes to populate its nightmares with. But then so are Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, and I’m still scared they’re going to come and get me.

None of this is intended as criticism. There’s an enduring and fantastical appeal to the revenge thriller, and the presumable future focus on the consequences of that act, along with Sam Miller’s direction, lend “Good Cop” an identity of its own.

Of course, you do realise Daily Mail readers think the world is actually like this, don’t you?

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