8 November 2008 | nturner
A Must See British Crime Series
If you are a favorite of British crime dramas, the Second Sight series are a "must see." They star Clive Owen who has become more well-known to US audiences from his roles in the exciting and thoughtful science fiction shocker Children of Men and in the action mystery Inside Man which I found to be thoroughly entertaining. Owen, at first, appears to be very rough hewn, but he has the ability to express a tough vulnerability (an oxymoron?) that makes him perfect for the role of DCI Ross Tanner in the Second Sight series.
Tanner is not a very likable man. He's a drunk, a womanizer, a neglectful father, and a tough boss, but he is very good at his job - thus he is the head of a police unit that investigates high-profile crimes - mostly homicides. Tanner begins to have some problems with his vision and finds that he has contracted a rare disease known as acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (AZOOR). The symptoms are blurred vision, blind spots, and flashes of light. In many cases, full vision returns after a period of time. Tanner - being the introspective, shut off man that he is - decides to hide his condition with the hope that his normal vision will return.
The flashes of light are used to dramatic effect in the series by taking on flashes of images that appear to Tanner which often help him to solve the crimes. This technique is overdone, but it serves to give us insight into the mind of this brilliant detective.
The first series concerns just one crime which is the complex tale of the murder of a young man. In this first series, Tanner accepts the help of a female detective in his unit who perceives the vision problem. He and the detective also have a sexual relationship. It is through this relationship and his strained relationship with his son that we get some insight into the more human side of the man.
In the first episode of the second series, Tanner's relationship with his paramour comes to an end. The second series comprises three different crimes and also offers us a further look into the human side of Tanner. All three are neatly tied together by Tanner's developing condition, and each crime offers exposes different aspects of the British personality and society. Especially notable in Kingdom of the Blind is a chilling performance by veteran actor, Peter Vaughan who his more often seen in lighter roles.
British television drama has a special way of portraying the women and men of the police forces who must deal with the criminal element. Second Sight certainly ranks near the top of those dramas.