Salamander, TV review: BBC4 Flemish-language crime thriller is dull and clichéd

  • @MsEllenEJones

If you’re one of those who believes that the only thing separating a critically lauded TV crime thriller from a critically panned one is the subtitles, BBC4 has a surprise. Its new series, Flemish-language Salamander (Sat) was as dull and clichéd as anything ITV2 primetime has to offer.

In Brussels, a group of thieves break into a bank vault to steal the secrets of society’s most powerful. This plot is close to that of Sherlock’s series three finale, so we’ve been served with a ready-made point of damning comparison. Even without it, this scene would feel oddly slow-paced for a heist. Viewers are smart enough to work out what’s going on from a few well-chosen shots; we don’t need to see the whole thing unfold in real-time, especially not if it’s soundtracked by the music from an Eighties arcade game.

Things improved a little when Inspector Paul Geradi (Filip Peeters) got on the case. As well as the usual qualities of a maverick cop – is there any other kind? – Geradi combined a mop of snowy curls with a tie-less shirt and blue jeans.

He looked like the love-child of Jeremy Clarkson and Father Christmas – only, Clarkson would likely have disowned his putative son, on the basis of that 30mph car chase.