Delightfully quirky crime drama series Vexed follows the cases of two detectives, Kate and Jack, who seem to spend more time bickering than catching villains. In the opener Kate has just become Jack’s partner and the pair, both Detective Inspectors, are thrown in at the deep investigating a serial killer who seems to be targeting single women who all use the same loyalty card.
The case though is of complete secondary importance to that of the actual dynamic between Kate and Jack, right from the opening scenes (which feature an estate agent trying to persuade Kate to take on the lease of a flat which is a murder scene and still has the body in it) it is clear that this is no ordinary cop genre show. The dialogue is a major joy, very funny and as quick fire as a screwball comedy of the 1930’s.
Toby Stephens is his usual high quality self as Jack who clearly seems to have no real interest in the police force or anything much at all apart from the finer things in life. He clearly has independent income from somewhere, drives a vintage Merc, has his suits hand tailored and lives in a rather nice flat over looking the Thames. Lucy Punch’s Kate meanwhile is more down to Earth, is married (albeit shakily) and sees the force as a major career.
Vexed was a series with major potential, quite classic Avengers like in a way. You wouldn’t even known that Kate and Jack were coppers really, rather than meetings at the station the pair discuss business at a funky restaurant/bar which can only be entered by first going into a typical greasy spoon cafe.
Season two, which ran for six episodes, saw some changes not least in the departure of Lucy Punch and Rory Kinnear who were replaced by Miranda Raison as D.I. Georgina Dixon and Nick Dunning as her father Peter. This did mean a slight change in the dynamic of the series as well as the format moving from one investigation to a story of the week type situation.
UK / BBC Two – Greenlit Rights – Eleventh Hour / 9×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 August 2010 – 5 September 2012
Writer: Howard Overman / Music: Willie Dowling / Executive Producers: Simon Wilson (series 1), Chris Sussman (series 2) / Producer: Eve Gutierrez
Toby Stephens as DI Jack Armstrong
Lucy Punch as DI Kate Bishop (Series 1)
Rory Kinnear as Dan Bishop (Series 1)
Miranda Raison as D.I. Georgina Dixon (Series 2)
Nick Dunning as Peter Dixon, Georgina’s father (Series 2)
Ronny Jhutti as Naz Omar
Roger Griffiths as Tony
Patrick Baladi as Mark Armstrong (Series 2)