Somewhere in Denmark, Søren Sveistrup’s ears are burning. Sveistrup, the creator of hit Danish TV drama The Killing, might consider filing a case for plagiarism following the launch of BBC One’s new psychological crime drama In Darkness. It is impossible to avoid drawing parallels. In this BBC drama launched earlier in October, lead Claire Church (Anne-Marie Duff) comes back from retirement to fight one last case, leaving her love interest Norrie (Johnny Harris) in the lurch, consistently avoiding his long-distance calls. There are long shots of Claire’s world-weary eyes, she releases pent-up anxiety on long runs, costuming even includes a fine selection of knitwear.
Where In Darkness does diverge from crime-drama model established back in 2007 by The Killing is when it borrows from some other clichés of the genre. There are arty shots of inner-city urban stairwells, a blue-tinted filter is applied to almost every shot, and anything exciting happens at night. As for the dialogue, the script is run-of-the-mill and some lines feel a little hackneyed, clumsily tumbling out of the mouths of some really quite skilled actors. Duff does carry the drama, even if she is a little too glum sometimes, and Johnny Harris plays misguided DCI John Hind with some subtlety. Yet you constantly get the feeling that these actors are held back by the very trope-y nature of their roles. There is no longer anything unique about an ex-cop with skeletons in the closet.
Despite all this, In Darkness is a fun watch. Moments when the phycological aspect of the crime-drama come to the foreground are entertaining; certain shots ‘through Claire’s eyes’ are executed with nuance.
The broody background music and jerky camera shots make it jumpy at the right moments. It is easy to see how this show could have you hooked.
The model established by The Killing was highly successful for a reason. Even if there is nothing new about In Darkness, it is the sort of show you might stumble into watching when there is nothing else on iPlayer.