The latest in instant gratification it seems is on demand television the likes of which Netflix has successfully mastered with hit shows Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards, but here in the UK before Netflix we had LoveFilm and now they’re back on the case helping ensure all you binge watchers don’t get too much fresh air any time soon.
They’re smashing their way on the scene with Copper, (we’ve all seen your thousands of massive cockeyed billboards), but also with much more subtle crime drama Crossing Lines. It’s a style of show designed perfectly for absorbing in one sitting and with only ten episodes in its first season you realistically could. Shows like The Killing and Criminal Minds leave you tensely hanging on till next week and Crossing Lines with its traditional whodunit plots is no different other than you don’t have to wait a week to realise it was that guy on the left of the screen desperately trying to hide his identity.
The premise is an interesting one; we’re not dealing with the NYPD or Scotland Yard or Europol or the bloody Easter Island Polizia, but with all of them. Yeah, that title seems pretty clever now, huh? Basically it’s The Bridge, but with all the European authorities involved. Queue lots of international officers making sideswipes at each other in the universal language of stereotypes.
They’ve been brought together by Major Louis Daniel, a suave French-man (played with understated class by Marc Lavoine) who is heading up a special unit of the International Criminal Court. Each officer has a special skill which we’re introduced to in the first episode, the camera sweeping round them all as if we were sitting in on an AA meeting. We have Italian Sgt Eva Vittoria, German Sebastian Berger, who the keen eyed will recognise as Jaqen H’ghar from Game of Thrones, the French DS Anne-Marie San, Irish Detective Tommy McConnel and of course America’s finest Detective First Grade, Carl Hickman; their mandate, to investigate crimes that cross international borders. Donald Sutherland is there as well, but other than spouting a few philosophical words to pigeons he’s just a name to draw you in. It’s William Fichtner as the Morphine addicted ex NYPD superstar who is, after two episodes, the big dog of the show. A great actor, he’s eerily adept at playing somewhat psychotic suits by now (Elysium), but Hickman hints at a role he can really chew the scenery with and boy is there some scenery to chew. It’s these locations which give the show its uniqueness from the pack of oh so clever, misunderstood and embittered detectives that litter our screens now. Thank you Scandinavia. These first two episodes were filmed on location in Paris, Nice and Prague and take us from one beautiful location to the next always returning to its home in The Hague.
With our collaborating officers travelling by train it’s a show with a distinctly European feel which is unlike anything you get from the likes of Criminal Minds, a show also created by the acclaimed and Emmy award winning Edward Allen Bernero. Crossing Lines rides high on the popularity of recent Scandinavian crime thrillers and their remakes, in fact it does very well at bridging the gap between them, but without this one trick up its sleeve it’s simply another crime by numbers show which doesn’t cross nearly enough lines as you want it to. It’s already been green lit for a second season, again exclusive to LoveFilm, and with the promise there and the addition of Carrie-Anne Moss to the cast it’s not hard to imagine this becoming a hit, especially via this format where there’s no need to slow the pace or drip feed clues.
It’s a show whereby the cast can run riot round Europe without a care for their carbon footprint or jurisdiction and here’s hoping that they do.
Crossing Lines is available now on Lovefilm.
Words by: Lauren Mullineaux