Series 2 of British crime drama Murder Investigation Team uses a different format, loses a few beloved characters, and adds a few more. It still remains a top notch police procedural, though, and provides several hours of intelligent, engaging fun.
Series 2 has four episodes, instead of the previous series' eight, and each episode is now seventy minutes long, instead of fifty. One of the leads of the first series, DI Vivien Friend, is absent. The other two leads, Rosie McManus (Lindsey Coulson) and Trevor Hands (Michael McKell) return, along with a few of the cast from the previous series. New members of the team include investigators Jed Griffiths (Will Mellor), Eva Sharpe (Diane Parish) and Simon Tait (Abhin Galeya).
Like Series 1, not a lot of time is spent on the home lives of the characters, but there is a bit more attention to the personal relationships in the team itself. A lot of the tension this series is due to Eva being transferred to the MIT without Trevor's approval. He's now the head of the team and not entirely sure of himself, and so resents being forced to accept a talented newcomer who might overshadow him. Also, Trevor has recently gotten divorced, and has some repressed feelings for Rosie, and Jed is always on the make for whatever female he can spend a few minutes alone with. Eva is a dedicated detective who wants to move up, but also must deal with her ongoing divorce and custody battle. And Rosie, the moral center of the team, does the hard work of making everyone get along enough to do their job. The characters are all sharply drawn, and even without a lot of information about their personal lives, they are clearly distinguishable from one another, and deeply human. Their flaws and triumphs are on full display, and they are as likely to make a wrong assumption or mistake as anyone. They're not always nice or presentable, but this only makes them more relatable and compelling in the final accounting.
However, the focus is still on the crimes themselves, much more so than the personalities of the detectives, and the four murders presented here are as dark and gritty as any from Series 1. Rape, adultery, mental illness, jealousy, and killing for fun: all are explored here. Murder Investigation Team takes a deep look at the unseemly side of life, and appreciates all of its foibles. The crimes are tightly plotted and inventive, and paced so that the viewer's interest never flags. This is high quality crime drama, and without the melodramatics present in so many American examples of the genre.
Below is a list of episodes, along with descriptions supplied with the discs:
Realistic characters, terse and engaging plots, tight pacing, subtle humor, and some great guest stars such as Anthony Head and Danny Dyer make Murder Investigation Team - Series 2 a winner. Perhaps not quite as groundbreaking or compelling as Series 1, Series 2 is still going strong. Highly recommended.
Behind the Scenes Interview