REVIEW: Scott & Bailey’s strong female leads shine in on point drama
Scott & Bailey was the turn of home grown strong female leads to shine. Compared to the chilliness of recent Nordic Noir drama on our screens, even Manchester looked positively sunny as rays of sunshine were seen in the background of an outdoor scene.
In the series five premiere, Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) returns to the Syndicate 9 in Manchester after a year in London and is re-united with her friend and colleague Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp). Although Bailey’s return is warmly welcomed by her kind but slightly neglected friend, the rest of the force are not so equally enamoured. One of the team remarks quite carelessly but openly that “the bitch is back.”
Bailey is made acting Detective Inspector to lead the investigation into the murder of Michael Edgerton, who was killed in an alleyway in front of his girlfriend, Wendy. She tells the police that the killer took pictures on his phone to record his dying victim.
In a world of constant online connectivity, crimes can now be committed over cyberspace from behind a screen where distance is no barrier. This has added a whole new dimension to the art of policing and catching perpetrators. The police must now be tech savvy in order to catch these cyberspace criminals.
It transpires that someone is operating over the dark web and posting up possible targets for others to locate and kill. The video of a dying Michael was posted on the site for viewing for those with access. The crime is likened to an online game with the targets being real people. The police have to be one step ahead to locate the prospective targets before they are found by the ‘game players’ and eliminated. It’s not a new concept but it nevertheless is still an interesting one. The series opener’s crime was bang up to date with the ‘tech world’ in which we live.
It was also great to watch a strong female like Bailey flex her muscles as she took charge of the men under her command. Meanwhile, Scott faced domestic strife as her 15 year old daughter was arrested as a result of her teenaged boyfriend sending her nude and explicit images of himself to her phone. Her daughter was accused of distributing the images and taken into custody, which linked well with the overall tech theme of the episode.
There are no highly stylised scenes and there is no mood-inducing soundtrack in Scott & Bailey. Instead we have two women who are everyday people working hard to be successful at their jobs and struggling to manage domestic upheavals and personal relationships at home like everyone. The writers have fleshed out believable lead characters in this pairing. We like them and root for them to apprehend the wrongdoers and to have a job well done in the end. How they fare in the world of the dark web we will have to watch and see.