The Chelsea Detective

Rating :   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Categorisation: Crime drama

Availability: Acorn

Plot: In this series of four stand-alone episodes, we are introduced to Detective Inspector Max Arnold of the Chelsea police. Max is recently separated from his wife, Astrid, and there are clear tensions between them that largely revolve around a custody dispute over an expensive coffee maker that Max believes is rightfully his. Max is living in a houseboat moored on the Thames where he plays Bach on his mini piano. Astrid lives in the rather lovely apartment that they used to share. By the end of the first episode, it’s clear that their relationship is far from resolved, an issue we’re bound to hear more about. In the first episode, Max and his colleague, DS Priya Shamsie, who has recently returned to work from parental leave, are looking into into the death of a man who is hit by a train. As the investigation progresses, they find that the high-class neighbourhood of Chelsea, with all its affluence, is not immune to dark acts of violence.

Filming and Setting: Chelsea is certainly one of London’s most beautiful districts, and this series takes full advantage of it. It’s not surprising that it is home to some of the wealthiest people in England. There are wonderful aerial shots, and we get to see elegant buildings and public spaces as Max rides about on his bicycle. 

Cast:  Adrian Scarborough plays the lead as Max. Scarborough has a depth of experience on screen and on stage, yet surprisingly he tends to play secondary characters. He is, nevertheless, a outstanding actor, whether he plays evil roles (for example, Raymond in Killing Eve) or whether he’s on the side of the good, as he is in this series. He is impressive playing the eccentric detective. Sonita Henry is also terrific as DS Priya Shamsie. She brings a vibrancy to the role and her expressive timing is perfect. She is also charmingly protective toward Max, as he is toward her. The chemistry in their partnership makes for a quality and engaging detective series.

Personal Comments: The Chelsea Detective is not the exciting type of crime series that has you on the edge of your seat as the bodies pile up. It’s more in the nature of Vera, a quality police drama with interesting and engaging characters who use skill and persuasion to get a result. All the characters have their own personal issues, the kind of concerns that happen in life. It is nevertheless refreshing to see a team of generally well-balanced people who are practising thoughtful and smart policing. While it’s got one or two more coincidences than it needs, the script writing is very good indeed. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s got successful people behind it – the first episode was written by Glen Laker (Vera, Prime Suspect – Tennison), and the executive producer is award-winning Peter Fincham. If it can keep it up in future episodes, it won’t surprise me if The Chelsea Detective becomes a long-lasting favourite. I’ll certainly be watching the rest of series.

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