Annika Season 2 [9/10]

Season 1 of Annika startled me with its narrative device of the main character regularly speaking directly to the viewer, and it took me one and a half episodes to come to grips with the notion. I suspect that in many writers’/directors’/actors’ hands, musings, usually around a cultural or historical theme, and confessions would backfire badly, but in this case, the effect is stunning. Each episode of this procedural series is standalone, with the key Marine Homicide investigator solving a distinct murder, and somehow the chats-to-viewer mesh seamlessly with both the murder case and the evolving lives of the homicide crew. The script crackles with superb dialogue, Directorial control never falters, marrying action and investigation to scenes on and around Scottish waters. And, most important of all, Nicola Walker is brilliant in her portrayal of DI Annika Strandhed. As a bonus, the other bit characters are also portrayed wonderfully well; Jamie Sives is especially absorbing as DS Michael McAndrews, #2 in the unit and someone with longstanding linkages with Annika. Season 1 ended with a brilliant cliffhanger, a climax that spills over into the six episodes of Season 2 with satisfying cohesion, and Season 2 itself does not lack for a fine finale. Overall, Annika has proven to be a welcome surprise package.

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