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Vigil

Strap yourself in for a big budget thriller around murder at sea, starring Suranne Jones.

You could be mistaken in watching opening scenes of Vigil for thinking you are watching a Hollywood blockbuster. What goes down is a money-on-the-screen moment, or possibly very convincing CGI.

Either way it’s an arresting statement… Vigil means business.

Produced by World Productions (Line of Duty, Bodyguard, The Pembrokeshire Murders), this 6 part drama takes place on a British submarine -not your typical small screen setting.

When a crew member is found dead on board the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil, police in Scotland are called in to investigate. With the sub unable to stop at sea, Detective Chief Inspector Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) is lowered from a helicopter and given just 3 days to solve what turns out to be murder.

But in a world of 140 men and just 8 women, she is barely tolerated. It doesn’t help that she’s largely seen as the enemy.

Yet Silva is no shrinking violet. She’s highly experienced and stands her ground with Commander Neil Newsome (Paterson Joseph) and Lieutenant Commander Mark Prentice (Adam James). On board she must be escorted at all times as she tries to question the crew. Such is the protocol by the ranking officers that she is even demeaned by staff as if she is not in the room.

At her most vulnerable moments Silva also has flashbacks to a turning point in her life…

Meanwhile her partner DS Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) is leading a similarly unwelcoming investigation on land in which she pursues a cover-up in the Royal Navy. Local environmentalists have intel which paint a much bigger conspiracy than one death…

No submarine tale is complete without moments of peril, jeopardy and brinkmanship. Writer Tom Edge may be delivering Agatha-Christie-at-sea, but it isn’t without its tense moments.

Thankfully Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Gentleman Jack) is masterful in her lead role as the inquisitive, determined cop. Is there any role she can’t do? In addition to Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie the cast includes Line of Duty favourite Martin Compston as Chief Petty Officer Craig Burke.

If I have any concerns, it is around the thick Scottish accents. This could be one to watch with subtitles.

Otherwise strap yourself in and get ready to dive.

Vigil Ep. 1 airs Monday on Binge / Foxtel on Demand, Ep 2. Tuesday then each Monday until 27th September.

5 Responses

  1. Suranne Jones is a familiar face for UK TV show fans, as is Martin Compston (Line of Duty) who is doing quite a few roles recently, I will have to check out the trailer to see whether he has his Scottish accent. The BBC do have excellent CGI though sometimes the story does not match the expectations created by the opening CGI sequence, but Vigil’s producers do have some good form so I will be looking forward to a reasonably high standard of entertainment.

    1. Update: Episode one was a bit of a surprise, but I cant mention why without spoilers, in my opinion the early screenplay did suffer to some degree from the BBC diversity edict, which appears compulsory now for their shows, I say this because this genre is unique being all about naval doctrine and procedure which was done much better in the French movie ‘The Wolf’s Call’ which was also about a nuclear armed submarine and averting disaster. Vigil’s writers including a highly debatable plot about a murder (and especially the reason given for the murder) inside a top secret nuclear armed Trident submarine where all crew are by necessity heavily vetted for suitability and selected from the best specialists available, does make a mockery of the Royal Navy and also a rather frightening hypothetical reality to contemplate about as well.

  2. Subs are a more common location for films/TV than surface vessels-the claustrophobic tension is a great automatic addition provided by being in a submerged tin can! Not many full series though (the above being a miniseries by US standards). apart from ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’ which was more sci fi fantasy stuff.

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