Monday, June 20, 2016

Waking the Dead

Trevor Eve as Peter Boyd.
Premise:  Detective Superintendent Peter Boyle (Trevor Eve) heads the Cold Case Squad of the London Metropolitan Police. His original team consists of: profiler (and Boyle's closest confident) Dr. Grace Foley; forensic pathologist Dr. Frankie Wharton; Detective Sergeant Spencer "Spence" Jordan; and Detective Constable Amelia "Mel" Silver. Early in the series, Boyle recounts to Grace the story of his son, who left home as a teenager and became involved in drugs. The boy is presumed dead, but his body has never been found. Like many of the families involved with the cold cases, Boyle maintains a sliver of hope that his son is still alive.

Running Time:  60 minutes (each case is presented as a two-part episode).

Status:  There have been 46 cases broadcast between 2000 and 2011. Waking the Dead is available on DVD in the U.S.

Production Notes:  Waking the Dead earned consistently high ratings in the UK and was awarded a 2004 International Emmy as Best Drama. It was cancelled after its ninth season because Trevor Eve decided to depart the series. Tara Fitzgerald, who played forensic pathologist Dr. Eve Lockhart on seasons 6-9, starred a spin-off series called The Body Farm in 2011. It only lasted one season.

Our Review:  Waking the Dead is an intense, dark, uneven series with a complex main character. Boyle pursues the cold cases relentlessly in his search for the truth. However, in doing so, he often berates his colleagues and comes across as downright unlikable. He sometimes keys in on a single suspect, seemingly convinced he has found the guilty party. And in one episode (season 3's "Multistorey"), Boyle appears to have considered withholding key evidence. However, in the end, his quest for justice leads him to do the right thing. Trevor Eve, who earlier starred in the excellent Heat of the Sun detective series, gives a fine performance as Boyle. However, your "enjoyment" of Waking the Dead will largely hinge how much time you want to spend with someone like Boyle. Despite some good episodes, we stopped watching after the third year.

Grade:  B-.

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