Suspects, TV review: Utterly compelling and completely self-contained

Channel 5's detective drama is unscripted, with the cast devising their own dialogue based on a detailed plot description

Amy Burns
Thursday 26 November 2015 00:07
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Damien Molony, Fay Ripley and Clare-Hope Ashitey star in 'Suspects'
Damien Molony, Fay Ripley and Clare-Hope Ashitey star in 'Suspects'

When it comes to detective dramas it can be incredibly hard to stand out from the crowd. But Channel 5's Suspects has found a novel way of doing just that. Shot in the style of a fly on-the-wall documentary, it is unscripted, with the cast devising their own dialogue based on a detailed plot description.

Opening the fourth series last night we found Fay Ripley and co investigating the disappearance of an Afghanistan veteran with PTSD. Without the gloss of the usual cop show, it was incredibly realistic and all the more harrowing for it. The grief of the soldier's father, completely stripped back, was more genuine for being less extreme.

Without the distractions of detectives' personal lives that have become so common in most police shows, this was utterly compelling and completely self-contained, meaning that the casual viewer didn't have to contend with complex back stories and unravelling subplots. Other detective dramas should take note.

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