Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, October 05, 2002

Have you noticed how rampant, neo-liberal capitalism is corrupting murder? It used to be that one instance of slaughter was quite enough to base a good cop program on. Now, unless your bad guy has worked up six artfully-carved corpses he just can't get a gig.

Wire in the blood is Auntie's Friday night cops-and-robbers-with-high-production-values program.

Her detective pair are a blond female Detective Inspector and an intense male civilian profiler. Both sparkle with ambiguous sexuality and tease us witless with what they're going to do about it. Neither is the least bit interested in any crime that doesn't involve serial murder.

That's your capitalism, dripping in greed and oozing superfluity under every hedge.

There is still this problem for the authors; most murderers are boring before and after the act, and you can only do so much with the butchery itself. Serial murderers seem to be the most boring of all.

A once'll- do-me killer is probably acting out of anger or passion. You can do something with that.

Your serial killer is a plotter and planner. Think of Harold Shipman, the British world champion of over-prescription with extreme prejudice. Deadly boring. Just the standard National Health session of talk from Shipman would put you into a coma.

So it is harder to visualise these homicidal stutterers, but the directors of this program have a good try. Our male lead looks intense in a dead-pan. To boost the impression of intense thinking the directors have him spraying the white board with diagrams like Ros Kelly with fleas in her D-cups. It doesn't really work, but probably as close as you can get.

One thing you can extract from multiple homicides is a geometrical increase in opportunities to mislead the audience. False patterns, possible alternatives to the butler as perpetrator, truckloads of clues.

Last night's episode suckered us with a who dunnit suprise of exceptional quality.

Good shopping, Auntie.

There is one more episode to come. Friday night, October 11th, 8.30pm in the eastern States.