Grace (ITV/BritBox)

I’ve got very mixed feelings about Grace, which has been running on ITV on Sunday nights, and is available on BritBox without adverts if you’re a subscriber.

On the one hand, it stars John Simm, who is always a very watchable actor. It’s set in Brighton, which makes a change. The series is based on the novels by Peter James, which I’ve never knowingly read but which seem to be very popular. There have been 18 of them!

On the other hand, the show is a very by-the-numbers procedural, apart from the one thing that might set it apart, which the producers seem to have downplayed to make the show more standard. More on this below. Then there’s the unforgivable use of the hoary old trope of the dead/missing wife. Roy Grace’s wife is 10 years gone, and of course he’s obsessed/haunted etc., and apparently unable to move on with his life. *thunk*

ITV seem lukewarm on the show. Sure, it has a prime Sunday night slot, but at this time of year; and Season 2, so-called, comes a year after Season 1, which in the UK at least consisted of just the one episode. Wikipedia has it as two (ooh), but the second was shown on the 24 April this year, not last year, which was when the first episode appeared. Call episode 1 a pilot, and what we’re watching is Season 1 proper, which is still only going to be 4 episodes, making 5 in total.

All of the novels have the word dead in the title, and the TV show follows the same styling. But this conceit is fairly pointless, and the titles don’t seem to bear much relation to the episode contents.

The one wrinkle this show has is that Roy Grace sometimes takes items belonging to murder victims and consults a psychic. This is a background rumble to a lack of respect for him from his superiors, and sometimes shouted questions from fictional journalists, but it doesn’t seem to lift the show enough out of the ordinary. The producers have definitely shied away from making this a show about a detective who solves crimes by consulting a psychic.

John Simm remains watchable, but while the show is competent, it doesn’t zing. Also, if there were that many murders in Brighton, I think we’d know about it.

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