15 November 2016 | blanche-2
fun and irreverent, it's a shame this series didn't continue
"Vexed" was a promising series that ran for two seasons in England. It starred Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch in the first season and Stephens and Miranda Raison in the second. It's a derivative series, about plainclothes detectives solving murders. One nice non-derivative thing is there's no romance. Stephens' first partner is married, and his second barely puts up with him. So there is a lot of repartee.
The first three episodes were outrageously written, with someone looking at an apartment as a possible rental after stepping over the dead body in the room. In the second season, there were still some great moments but it was toned down.
In part, this was because Lucy Punch left the show and was replaced by Miranda Raison. Punch is a more interesting type than Raison, who is certainly beautiful and a fine actress. Punch is more comedic, with long blond hair of no particular style, a tall frame that is normally informally dressed, and a unique speaking voice. She and Stephens were a scream together.
Also, Punch's character had a more interesting private life than Raison's. Convinced at one point that her husband is cheating on her, she reacts in a way that sends him to the hospital and puts him on crutches.
The Stephens character is a sort of overblown DeNozzo from NCIS - he only thinks of sex, swaggers around, is a misogynist, and it all hides a lot of hurt. And some of his comments are too much. When he suspects a woman's late husband might be gay, he asks her, "Did he have a particularly strong reaction when Princess Diana died?"
I've read some complaints on this board about Stephens. I think he is very good and handles the comedy well. I have seen him do other things, and he is a wonderful and versatile actor. How bad can the son of Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens be, after all? He is a successful stage actor as well as a film and TV actor. And he's handsome to boot.
I enjoyed both seasons, though I know a lot of people were disappointed in season 2. Season 1 was edgy and funnier; season 2 was a little calmer, but still good.