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  • As a fan of British mystery series, I've become quite particular about what is worth my time. For example, Inspector Morse always makes the cut; Inspector Frost rarely does. Touching Evil so far exceeds the mark that I've bought the tapes. The acting is exceptional--not just Green, but the entire cast perform convincingly and with great subtlety.

    This superior cast handles a very tough script exceedingly well. Not only is the plot heavily detailed and nuanced, it's quite hard to watch from a moral point of view (and it must have been even harder to act it). This is absolutely not a criticism. This show deals with some of the ugliest realities of our time. The plot requires the viewer to learn about them. You cannot simply forget what you've seen at the end of the show. In my book, entertainment that also teaches and induces serious thought rises above the usual drivel and makes the discomfort induced by the topics justified.

    The look of the series complements the subject matter and the acting, creating a dense and quite specific atmosphere in each scene. Some shots (especially when you least expect it) are quite stunning and even beautiful.

    Highly and unreservedly recommended.
  • This was one of my favorite "Mystery!" series. This was something of a precursor to shows like "CSI" and "Without a Trace," and ten times better. Robson Greene is DI Dave Creegan, a workaholic who works in a fictional British unit called Organized Serial Crime (OSC). Creegan received a bullet in the head some time back, and was brought back to life through the miracle of medicine, now walking a tightrope on the edge of sanity as the semi-suicidal detective hunts down serial killers and other perps through his gift for thinking like they do. Creegan's partner, DI Susan Taylor, is a no-nonsense type whose method for solving cases is quite the opposite of Creegans. DC Mark Rivers, also a key player, is as far removed from Creegan as possible, a by-the-book detective who is just as content to wait for back-up as jump into the fire. There were some excellent shows, but the first season is by far the best, starting off with a perverted and villainous suspect portrayed by Ian McDiarmid, of "Star Wars" fame.

    Perhaps this show lacks some of the class that made earlier shows such as "Prime Suspect" such a treat, but the only thing on "Mystery!" to match it as of yet is probably the most recent American-produced Tony Hillerman adaptations.
  • I stumbled over this one on a Sunday afternoon during a top-ot-the-hour channel surf. Readjusting my American viewing apparatus to accept a cop drama that was cut at less than 10 edits a minute, this baby snared me hard. I drooled until I was able to catch the rest of the episodes, and I found myself moving through the day hungering to answer the phone, "D.I Creegan..."

    This show rocks in that the viewer is REQUIRED TO WORK to figure out the details of the backstory, relationships that existed before, and to hang onto a storyline that is not concerned with over-explaining; you need to keep up with the pace. This story is real and happening, transferring a realistic impression of copwork from the inside, tempered with just enough "X-Files" in their "Elite Special Ops Force (or whatever it's called)" to be convincing not in the fantastic/horrific, but in The REALITY. No passivity in attention here; snooze=loose.

    Think the complex, multi-episodicness of "The Prisoner" with the acting/directing savvy of "NYPD Blue" and the cinematic re-par-te of, say, John Sayles if he were to shoot contemporary London. (The EXT. - NIGHT's are a little too blue for me, but hell, I ain't the shooter...)

    "Touching" is pretty dang good, guv-nuh, as hard-boiled as you'll get across the Pond.
  • I actually saw part of this series while in London, and about a year later, PBS's Mystery! series picked it up (thank God) and was lucky enough to see all of the "Touching Evil" movies. While I only caught part of it in London, I was immediately compelled by what I saw -- gritty and dark storylines, pushed by characters that were convincing in that you really felt like they witnessed some of the most vicious aspects of human nature. The plots orbit around Robson Green's portrayal of cop Dave Creegan and his serial crime investigation unit as they barrel through London, tracking down serial killers. It's easy enough to say he's the archetypal anti-hero -- he's just gone back on the job from a near-death gunshot wound to the head (he's got a little scar), his family life's gone down the crapper (wife and kids left him), and he really is married to his work. But he's the anti-anti-hero; a Dirty Harry who's a real person. He struggles with his personal life as he tries to be emotionally supportive of his ex-wife's new life (what a concept, eh?), and you can see the pain on his face as he watches his small children with first-hand knowledge of the real evil out in the world. All the "Touching Evil" movies are well-done; each story is unique in its serial killer's modus operandi -- all very macabre. The moody filming adds to the bleakness. The deadpan cold moodiness is very similar to that "X-Files" ennui, and its gritty perspective of policework is very "Prime Suspect". The characters are all believable -- serious, professional, and very real. No ex-Playmates or pretty-boy faces, just compelling acting against some pretty grisly storylines.
  • The other commenter was correct in saying that it's not a show for the kiddies, and yes, I don't know how PBS managed to broadcast it without the FCC stomping their heads in, but it's a fantastic show, so hurrah for them!

    And as for the comparison to "Prime Suspect," it's apples and oranges. "Touching Evil" is more stylized and less procedural. The title is apt, as its focus is less on the evil itself or the process of combating it, and more on the damage it does to those who touch and are touched by it. The protagonists grow harder, more detached, more despairing, and more absorbed by the horrors their occupation revolves around, and the grief of the victims is almost palpable.

    If it suffers from the occasional bout of unrealism, I didn't notice. I was too absorbed by the atmosphere and the pathos. It's superbly done and well worth watching. The acting is stupendous, the characters intriguing, and the production brilliant. It's one of the finest crime dramas I've ever seen.
  • I watched this series when it was first out in 1997 (god that long ago, I just realised I was quite young when I got hooked on Touching Evil no wonder my mum didn't really approve!) and I still think it's a bloody good series.

    Personally, I was disappointed by Series 3, which they probably shouldn't have made but the first two series are so good, I just try to forget they sunk a little with the last series! What Touching Evil has, is a great mixture of entertaining and surprising story lines, humour and broken, life like characters (anti-heroes are always more interesting to watch). It revels in the darkness of human nature, without sensualising it, though it deals with all sorts of hard issues they never depress enough to make you stop watching, in fact this thriller had me on the edge of my seat for two seasons.

    Robson Green has a nice mix of Lethal Weapon madness and pure genius with Creegan and humour (which I think is what he does best) doesn't ever make his character less believable if fact the opposite. He's an odd ball. But Creegan's been through a lot (being brought back from death after a gun shot to the head) and he doesn't do anything he's told by his superiors…Oh and he's always right! Green is backed up nicely by Nicola Walker and Shaun Dingwall, both of which work very well with Creegan's humour and darkness, from the beginning they are a very interesting and likable team and easy to watch. Green's Creegan does dominate the first series (nothing wrong with that) but I must admit I did prefer it when by the second series Walker and Dingwall also got some meatier bits too! I'm not saying this is an easy watch, because it's not Harry Potter. But Touching Evil still remains a clever, energetic and fast paced drama, with rounded, emotionally loaded characters.

    Just make sure you have a cushion to hide behind, 'cos sometimes it's a little gory!

    Recommended! But I've deducted a point for Season 3... Really you can do without it!
  • OK - Having just finished watching the second episode in the new run, I think I'm justified in saying that this has to be the best series yet. I had absolutely no idea which way the episode was going to go (a common trait with this series), and although you begin to piece things together, you never actually know how they're gonna get to the conclusion, that is assuming that there will be a nice conclusion, and that everyone will get there in one piece.

    It's a show which isn't afraid of pulling the punches (stabbings, shootings or any other kind of dispatch method available to a crazed killer), but a strong stomach is required for some parts. However, it is a show which is very intelligent in its storylines, and the characters have enough depth to them to make you wonder how the writers managed to do this alongside a storyline. Plus the realism is enough to send you screaming for the teddybear you've had since you were a baby (I know it's around here somewhere....)
  • jmatsu19 February 2000
    Touching Evil is a remarkable mystery mini series. One of the best I've seen. It is gripping and compelling. The main character, Kreegan, is complex, enigmatic and sympathetic. The mini series is composed of 5 seemingly disparate episodes that somehow come together at the end in a way that is unique and satisfying.

    It made me eager to see the next installment: Touching Evil 2, which was a disappointment.
  • I heard about this series in a commentary by John Leonard on the "CBS Sunday Morning" show. I don't recall if he compared it to the "Prime Suspect" series of a few years ago but I certainly would. This series kept you glued to your seat. You learn as the detectives do. The psychological drama is reminiscent of Hitchcock, ie."The Man Who Knew To Much".The intricacies of the relationships among the characters is fantastic - and I don't mean it was like a soap opera. It is shows like this that are the reason I keep my television. I'm not knocking shows such as "N.Y.P.D. Blue" or "Law and Order" as they are usually well written and acted. But you know from the start what is usually going to happen, and you don't need to be watching all the time - listening will usually do fine. With "Touching Evil" you really need to watch. To glance away to talk with someone or respond to some other distraction may mean losing the whole nuance of a segment. So those of you out there that may have missed it the first time around, be assured that PBS will run it again. My suggestion is that you make sure you are not going to be distracted for any reason, sit down and let your mind go to work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are 3 episodes in Series 1 of Touching Evil. The first is called "The Lost Boys" starring Robson Green, Nicola Bryant and Michael Feast. The special guest star was Ian McDiarmid(Emperor Palatine) from the Star War's movies. Mr. McDiarmid has that evil look and yet an innocent, "Why are you persecuting me?" look on his face. With tenacity, DI David Creegan(Robson Green) faces McDiarmid and in the end decides there is no other way to stop him, but to kill him. Creegan stalks into Ronald Hink's house(McDiarmid) and finds him dead with his head on his desk, apparently of a suicide. But was it suicide or murder? This question is left unanswered until a later episode.

    There are 3 series in this series. I recommend this one for gritty, tense stories and wonderful acting. My only question, "Why did DCI Enwright(Michael Feast), knowing that Creegan was mentally ill, bring him back to the squad?
  • This sequel to Touching Evil was a disappointment. It was good seeing the actors reprising their roles. All did a fine job with what they'd been given--and all the characters seemed to have meaty personal conflicts to deal with--but the basic plot line was as poor as the initial series had been excellent. The plot felt hastily thrown together and contrived, as if the goal was simply to create crises and personal trauma. What made it frustrating for me was in order to get the characters in the conflicts, they had to behave illogically or stupidly. They couldn't follow basic police procedure, because then there would be no conflict. It was as if the whole series had been dumbed down. It felt like it had been transformed into a typical American tv detective series, where the main character is built up--every week he undergoes some challenge (physical or emotional), so that he can overcome it and show himself to be a heroic figure. This was shame because the first series had been so exceptional. In the original, the characters followed procedure, they made intelligent choices, but still ran into conflicts.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Robson Green is Mr.Ubiquitous on BBC TV. This is his second series about chasing down serial killers. He's always intense, always smart, but far from perfect. So is his female partner (Nicola Walker). The lack of perfection is what makes the show have it's high drama, as well as it's exasperations. In practically every show someone dies because they screw up and don't follow proper police procedure, or common sense. Still the characters are well drawn, and the writing is intelligent, until we get to the usual Psycho babble about serial killers' motivation.

    ***spoiler***

    This lack of perfection shows up clearly in 2 shows (which usually dove-tail with each other) in which he hesitates to kill a serial killer, who is holding a knife to his victim's throat, and watches - frozen - as he kills her and then allows himself to be disarmed by him, before the reinforcements arrive. As it turns out his junior partner had also earlier, and more egregiously, let the man escape, equally frozen.

    So what happens at the end of the show? Same scene, different killer, and their female partner is the victim. So our hero shoots him, right? No, he stands there and listens to her blather on about how this killer won't kill her, because she sees into his heart. Do real Cops really ever forget their boundaries this badly? Not to worry, junior partner shoots the killer in the back, and then has to put up with the abuse of the female detective for saving her life!

    In the next show we see junior partner formally absolved of the killing of the murderer. Come on police don't have to explain why they kill bad guys who are holding a knife to the throat of a cop, do they? Not even in the U.K. But the female partner never forgives him, never thanks him for saving her life, just let's him know by her silent anger that he's screwed up. Instead of being righteously angry at her, he takes it upon himself to prove he's worthy by acting like a loose cannon for the rest of the show. He catches a killer, beats him up, and then goes ballistic when he's released. Not to worry though, our brilliant cops are going to keep an eye on him and his next intended victim, who I might add has been told he's killed 4-5 people and ignores the evidence in order to pay attention to her woman's intuition that he's innocent, but they let him, and her, slip out of surveillance. It gets worse, but I won't spoil any of the fun. One thing about this show it sure brings out the "screaming at the TV" behavior in me!

    Enjoy! Scream a lot!
  • blanche-22 July 2013
    "Touching Evil" is such a wonderful series, but sometimes it's difficult to watch. It's dark, gritty, atmospheric, sometimes sad, and sometimes heartbreaking. Bottom line: it's fantastic.

    The series stars heartthrob Robson Green, a quirky, intense, sexy actor who, in his role as Dave Creegan. Creegan is a divorced man with two beautiful little girls; his wife is involved with someone else. Previous to the series, he was shot and had a near death experience, which has affected him deeply as well as leaving him with a physical scar.

    When the series begins, he comes to work with the Organised & Serial Crime Unit, where he's teamed with Susan Taylor (Nicola Walker), an attractive, down to earth woman who realizes early on that Creegan is no typical detective. He works to get into the mind of the killer to figure out his next move.

    The various episodes have dealt with child kidnapping, euthanasia, murders resulting from a web game, a serial killer who communicates with a reporter, and PTSD. At one point, Creegan realizes that he must take desperate measures to protect his ex-wife and his family.

    Really excellent series, with absolutely no glamor, sometimes bizarrely photographed, dealing with Britain's underside. Highly recommended for the strong performances of all the actors, the charisma of Green, and the powerful stories.
  • I must admit that I do enjoy watching this series. However, I also intermittently feel a need to yell critiques at the screen. Recurring themes include: why do Brit men incessantly whine, moan, cry, and whimper? And a host of things we universally rant about in horror movies, don't go in there, don't say that, hey! don't sleep with your client, ward, co-worker, relative, boss, etc. etc. Also, guns don't actually work like that, no human logic can explain your relationship behaviors, only really stupid or dead detectives think and act like you! I think Brits revel in rule breaking in all their TV and movie scripts. Rule breaking to the absolute point of absurdity. I also believe that they believe strong men yell at everyone and everything and that caring men cry and blubber to express the majority of feelings. I hate and love this series. A. Jay Smith
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This British police drama follows the exploits of the fictional Organised & Serial Crime Unit (OSC); an elite unit that investigates serious crime across England. The unit is led by Commander Stephen Enwright but our protagonist is D.C.I. Dave Creegan, an officer who has been affected by being shot and almost killed in an event prior to the series. Working under him are D.I. Susan Taylor and D.C. Mark Rivers; there are other members of the team but they are minor characters.

    Over the course of three series we get eight two-part stories that see Creegan and his team investigating a number of cases, some of them are quite disturbing. These include the kidnapping of a number of young boys, a spate of unnatural deaths in a hospital and a killer haunted by things that he saw in Bosnia during the war there. Too often in series like this when one story is over the events ate forgotten about but interestingly while each story features a new case events that happened before continue to have major consequences for the characters.

    The main cast does an impressive job. Robson Green is on fine form as Creegan; it is clear that he can do far more than play the light-relief character like he did in 'Soldier Soldier'… of course since this he has continued to impress. Nicola Walker and Shaun Dingwall are also really impressive as Taylor and Rivers respectively. The stories were all pretty gripping and provided some shocks and some quite disturbing moments. The only thing that really bothered me about the series was that the officers of the OSC routinely carried side arms but no explanation was given as to why; given that outside specialist firearms units British police don't carry guns it made little sense. This wasn't enough to spoil the series though. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of fairly gritty police drama.
  • =G=5 December 2004
    "Touching Evil (1997-98) is a Brit TV series about a special unit of detectives who take on the really tough crimes. Robson Green leads the way as an intense and determined workaholic cop with personal issues who will do anything to ferret out his quarry. Unfortunately mediocre, this series substitutes convolution for complexity and melodrama for psychodrama, drags out the suspenseful moments, doddles through the not-so-suspenseful moments, and never really digs into the minds or the guts of its protags. Obvious and contrived and lacking the edge of "Wire in the Blood", the personality of "Cracker", the realism of "Prime Suspect", or the complexity of "Foyle's War", this series is more sizzle than steak. Entertaining but not all it tries to be, "Touching Evil" smells a bit too much like a pretentious and simple minded Hollywood soap opera. (B-)
  • This is probably the worst of all those shown on the PBS Mystery series. On a different channel it might be acceptable but this show is definitely R-rated and not what I have come to expect on public TV. The show is well acted but the story lines are weak and there are lots of loopholes. I watched two of the three stories in the series and did not bother with the third. Compared to Prime Suspect this just does not make the grade. Compared to Frost it just does not leave you feeling good. The branch of the police it claims to represent (Organized and Serial Crimes unit) apparently does not exist and I would have to believe that is it because it is not needed: Britain many not be as peaceful as it was a generation ago but the murder rate and vicious crime rate is still way below the States. Do not let any children under the age of 16 watch this series.
  • I have just seen the first ever episode and that one was okay, decent crime with good acting from both leads and supports, good lines and a believable story. Something which could happen any day to any of us still makes the best story for crime, I think.

    Especially Ian McDiarmid as the mysterious Professor Hinks was a fine piece of casting.

    Unfortunately, there was one thing which really distracted me and pulled me out of the story for a moment. The story led us also to Stuttgart, Germany. There was a scene on a cemetery. And there they were: Irish crosses. On a German cemetery? I don't think so. I'm not even sure, they are allowed here, as I have never seen any here. And then the street in the suburbs of Stuttgart. The houses looked so distinctively English, it couldn't have been more obvious with Rule Britannia painted onto the windows! Houses like those you will never find in Germany. The old lady living there was also not really German. Maybe once, a long time ago, but you heard a big accent. She sounded as if she hadn't spoken German for along time. So, Mr Producer, next time, please either go to Germany or set the story somewhere else. Don't take your countrymen for so stupid not to notice, okay? Oh yes, the Brandenburg Gate at Stuttgart airport was equally lovely. Why should a building from Berlin be on a huge picture in Stuttgart? Doesn't make any sense, really.

    Apart from that, the beginning of the series was good and I hope the remaining episodes will be as good or better - as long as they stay in Britain!