TV week: Detectives try to hard to hide their sins

Two top name detective dramas fill the yawning gaps left by Happy Valley and The Night Manager

Anna Friel as Marcella

Anna Friel as Marcella

You want one London-based thriller from a credible writer with an impeccable cast that features a damaged police officer who may or may not be a bad guy in a dodgy marriage with a partner who is key to the plot then two come along at once.

These two new series fill the shoes previously worn by the two best terrestrial dramas of the year (or any other year) The Night Manager and Happy Valley (oh, and War And Peace) so there’s a lot to live up to.

Undercover (Sundays, BBC1) has Adrian Lester as the house husband who, back in the day when he was secretly police, fell for his target, married her and lived happily ever after keeping shtum after until he is blackmailed into reviving his old tricks on threat of exposure.

It comes from the pen of Peter Moffat who made legal drama Silk and features Sophie Okonedo as the foxy wife about to enter the Establishment henhouse.

Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester in Undercover (BBC)

Then, a touch of Scandi-noir hits the neon streets of London with damaged cop Marcella (ITV1) back at work trying to finish the unfinished business of the killer who got away last time around and has returned to her patch. A marriage break-up and stress-related blackouts don’t help Anna Friel’s cause, nor does that suspicious wash-off-the-evidence bath-time that bookmarked the first episode.

This comes from The Bridge creator Hans Rosenfeldt so that accounts for the dark overtones and the breathless blue heads in plastic bags.

A fine time then for the return of gormless but fun Plebs (ITV2) which sees three likely lads looking to nab a Gaul, tweak a nose and have some bawdy Carry On style capers in the heart of the Roman empire.

“I kicked a lion in the face,” cries Stylax (Joel Fry) triumphantly. That’s more like it.

All are available on catch-up services.

Giles BroadbentTV week: Detectives try to hard to hide their sins

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