In recent years Seven has cherry-picked short-run UK dramas some of which have been a great watch: Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hard Sun, Mrs. Biggs and more.
The latest is a 4 part 2017 thriller Bancroft to screen as double episodes across 2 weeks. Ripe for modern audiences, it propels two female actors into the lead roles.
Sarah Parrish (Monroe, Broadchurch, The Pillars of Earth, Mistresses) stars as Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft, investigating a gang over drug-related crimes led by a local mastermind.
Faye Marsay (The White Queen, Black Mirror) plays Katherine Stevens an ambitious young police officer assigned a file of cold cases to investigate by Superintendent Clifford Walker (Adrian Edmonson).
It emerges that both Bancroft and Walker have eyes on a promotion to replace their outgoing Detective Chief Superintendent (Art Mallik), creating something of a competition within the station.
But when Katherine decides to investigate the unsolved 27 year old murder of a local girl in her home -stabbed 18 times and bizarrely bitten – it is Bancroft whose back is up. It seems she was the young policewoman who discovered the slain body, but is now doing her level best to bury the case -just what is she hiding?
Katherine’s determination, aided by forensics expert Anya (Amara Karan), sees her finding holes in the original investigation as well as uncovering family members. It only leads to Bancroft bringing her enemies closer, by introducing Katherine to her son Joe (Adam Long). Writer Kate Brooke (Mr. Selfridge, The Ice Cream Girls) strategically intertwines the professional with the personal lives for our central characters, carefully upping the jeopardy.
The pairing of Parrish and Marsay as older / younger colleagues works well here, with Parrish commanding in her scenes, duplicitous at every step. Linus Roache (Priest, Law & Order, Vikings) also appears. The cast is uniformly strong, and there are touches of #metoo themes such as a male colleague propositioning Katherine in the workplace.
Bancroft is a cool customer of a drama that will appeal to those who liked Doctor Foster and Line of Duty, albeit without matching the brilliance of either. But I’m happy to admit that as soon as episode 1 was over I decided to dive into episode 2. You may well want to do the same.
Bancroft double episode 8:30pm Monday September 10 on Seven.