Warren Brown stepped seamlessly into his first lead role for this latest high-calibre BBC police drama.
Warren Brown is a Good Cop in bad circumstances
Within 20 minutes we had all the salient facts we needed to follow Good Cop John Paul Rocksavage on his road to hell... a young, valiant copper who sneaked in a quick Skypey chat with his sick father when he was on the beat, did his best to calm tensions in a scene of domestic tragedy, and protected young waitresses from a hoodlum on his day off...
But said hoodlum was Noel Finch, played by the ubiquitous Stephen Graham, an actor impossible to miss on the box at the moment, whether courting Sean Bean in Accused, or cohorting with Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade's End. And Finch avowed revenge, to hammer the next copper he came across, who happened to be Rocksavage's closest comrade.
Does Stephen Graham ever sleep? Here, the omnipresent actor plays Noel Finch, thug on a mission
The opening sequence, with its urban darting lights and every modern camera effect available, led me to believe we were going to hover somewhere between Line of Duty and the recent Christopher Eccleston serial Blackout. But, by the time Rocksavage was ruminating in hospital corridors, talking to a recently bereaved mother, it felt more like Wallander territory, particularly when he sat at his father's bedside, hearing about the inherent good in people.
Last time we saw Wallander, he, too, was feeling the guilt for the fate of his partner, but Wallander didn't have Rocksavage's six-pack and his youthful lack of self-control when faced with Finch again, at which point the young copper's waters soon got distinctly murkier.
Director Sam Miller had the confidence to keep the pace slow and stately in this debut episode, and let Warren Brown's troubled poker-face do the work as, in the face of deep grief, Rocksavage had to start thinking on his feet to prevent the walls of his own making from closing in.