ITV looks like it’s hitting a home run with it’s new thriller Chasing Shadows. This drama is witty and sharp, with believable scenarios and characters, and is a refreshing change to the stereotypical crime show that seems to be the only type you can find still running on television. In the case of Chasing Shadows, the viewer feels like they’re getting a true look at what it’s actually like to be a part of a crime-solving team.
The unlikely hero of the piece is the slightly autistic DS Sean Stone (Reece Shearsmith) whose obsessive focus and limited people skills gets him removed from the Metropolitan Police and relocated to the significantly less respected Missing Persons Unit. He’s cold with his new co-workers, particularly his new partner Ruth Hattersley (Alex Kingston), causing him to work on cases in an isolated manner. In most shows like this, the viewers would witness either some sort of hijinks or cringey scenarios trying to add a light-hearted edge to the drama. But here, we instead see an honest look at the frustration both parties would feel in this situation.
As far as plot goes beyond that, I don’t want to give too much away. You see DS Stone and Hattersley working on finding a particular missing girl and the episode ends on an exciting, and believable, cliff-hanger.
Some of the most interesting parts were the insight the viewer gains into how missing persons are actually found, how detectives deduce what information is valuable, and how to make connections that lead to conclusions. If nothing else, Chasing Shadows provides a fascinating look into real detective work, versus the hyperbolic dramatisation most thrillers provide.
Chasing Shadows has its awkward moments; the unclear setting and plot line, trying to introduce characters in a natural way seem to be the only missteps the show has in its inaugural episode, but it is quickly forgotten with it’s sharp acting and unique plot line. It seems difficult to create a crime drama that isn’t a total cliché, but Chasing Shadows strikes a perfect balance of a familiar setting with a whole new twist and angle.
If you haven’t started watching it yet, please do. It may only have four stars for now (still an impressive feat for just one episode in), but Chasing Shadows is definitely on track to being the five star hit everyone is watching.