A strange medical experiment in India, bodies being bumped off, but 2 cluey lads may yet save the day.
If New Blood is a buddy cop series then it isn’t apparent in the opening scenes of this new UK drama.
It begins in India with a prologue 6 years before the bulk of the series, with a bunch of disparate British backpackers taking fast-money as guinea pigs at Green Fern Medical Research Facility. It soon segues into one of them slashing a staff member, under some kind of dazed hallucination.
Six years later we pick up in the UK, where one of the six is now a corpse at a crime scene.
Eager young PC Rash Sayyad (Ben Tavassoli) is a diligent copper with designs on a detective career, showing Sherlock-like nous, and enough to impress his most senior ranks. But old-school detective Derek Sands (Mark Addy) isn’t enamoured by the young go-getter.
Then there is Stefan (Mark Strepan) a junior investigator at the Serious Fraud Office, who is undercover at the London Health Trust.
Meanwhile we catch up with another guinea pig, unhinged car wash worker Henry (Ian Bonar), who lives with his mother (Carolyn Pickles), and is obsessed with a duplicitous young woman online, who is reeling him into a larger conspiracy.
Writer Anthony Horowitz (Foyle’s War) keeps the characters compartmentalised in separate plots -normally a device reserved for US shows like Heroes– until Stefan and Rash meet by chance at a triathlon.
But it’s when old and new are brought together, as PC Rash is partnered with DS Sands, that the foundations for the opening episode begin to take hold and links to India are uncovered.
The overall effect is that New Blood leads you down a complex road map with multiple detours before hitting the accelerator.
The backdrop of urban inner London is matched by some gritty montages, rock soundtrack and snappy editing.
The performances are all sound, with Ben Tavassoli as the understated cop and Mark Strepan as the charismatic fraud investigator. There’s a definite feeling that time is running out for the individuals who agreed to medical experiments, and it will take both these lads to save the day.
Opening jigsaw pieces aside, I suspect this will be one that pays off the more it unfolds over its seven episodes.
New Blood premieres 8:30pm tonight on ABC.