Inside Men Review: Ker-ching

INSIDE MEN: Thursday 2nd February, 9pm, BBC1

A manager, a forklift truck driver and a security guard make the unlikely criminal trio of Inside Men plotting to pull a heist on their own workplace in the BBC’s latest drama offering. They may hail from different social strata but they all share the same dream about absconding with a few mill rammed into their back pockets/overalls.

The hold-up is one of the best worn storylines in the dramatic tradition but this four part series, penned by Tony Basgallop, does offer something fresh. Gone are the brutal hard-nuts who swagger around thrusting colossal weapons in quivering bank attendant’s faces. The masterminds in this operation are John, Chris and Marcus. You know? Marcus from the warehouse.

It turns out that working in a cash counting house, surrounded by mountains of cash has its up sides – if you are prepared to take a big risk. This is a story about three ordinary working men who each have their own reason for being pushed into taking that risk.

Manager John, the uptight number-cruncher played excellently by Luther’s Stephen McIntosh, feels side-lined by his unruly staff and numbed by his humdrum lifestyle. Chris (So Solid Crew’s Ashley Walters) is lonely and needs money to keep hold of the new woman in his life. While Marcus (another Luther face, Warren Brown) is hankering for a lifestyle that will seemingly always be beyond his grasp. After the latter workers get rumbled for sifting a mere 50 grand out of the cashflow, boss John sees a way to make the risk really “take the lot”.

The story flits between the day of the actual heist and the preceding months, allowing the story of how these three became criminal colleagues to unfold. At work, the treacherous details of the plot emerge against the bleak Larson House factory floor backdrop. Its sickly yellow-lighting and oppresive atmosphere are a constant reminder of the dingy frustration faced by the factory’s workers. The vault of Larson House contains millions of pounds and the promise of a better life, but just feet away low paid grafters toil. It is a powerful image represented starkly by a stylish and well designed production.

John may be joined in his quest to address the balance in his life by flankers Marcus and Chris, but this is his show. McIntosh is perfectly cast as the confused suit trying to appease one moment and rule with a fist of iron the next and it is his voice who welcomes us in to the fold. This man had the chance to stop the filching pair but his desire to shake up his life is too great.