With the second just starting to air on Channel 4, I thought I’d review the first season of No Offence, after binging my way through it this week. Get Channel 4 box sets ready, you are going to want to watch this one. Here we go!
Honestly, this show ticks off so many yes-boxes for me, I’m annoyed that I forgot to watch it sooner. Female-led: check. Gritty crime drama: check. City-based: check. Sound good so far? Well, add comedy to that as well, and it’s basically a perfect show, in my opinion.
Written by Paul Abbott (Shameless), the police procedural follows three detectives, DI Vivienne Deering (Joanna Scanlan), DC Dinah Kowalska (Elaine Cassidy) and DS Joy Freers (Alexandra Roach) and their colleagues, as they work cases via a Manchester station.
In a similar style to Babylon, Channel 4’s London-based crime drama centred around the Metropolitan Police and their PR team (which if you haven’t watched, you really should), it successfully mixes the grim events of a detective show with outrageous and satirical comedy. Horrific moments, like carrying around an almost-dead body, or a suspect getting run over in the middle of a pursuit are often punctuated by Scanlan’s perfect comedic timing of Deering’s filthy one-liners and insults. A couple of memorable favourites; “If he comes ’round and twats the pair of us, we won’t know which story anyone’s telling” and “I don’t care what they say, sometimes you’re really nearly worth every penny”.
Diversity on many levels also plays a huge part in the series. Disability and race are just two of the subjects that are dealt with, respectfully and with understanding. But, like in episode two, which features an investigation into the murder of a Muslim girl, it’s also realistic and open-minded and even uses humour to make comments on public opinion.
Another aspect I really enjoyed about the series was how the crime stories were structured. Multiple minor crimes are dealt with by the officers each episode, while the detectives focus on a serial killer case. Similar to shows such as Sherlock, which have an over-arching villain for each whole series, No Offence follows the investigation into a string of killings of down syndrome girls over the course of the entire series. How the detectives handle that investigation and how it plays out by the end, in particular, is gripping and potentially more rewarding for binge-viewing. Whether that will be how the next series is built up, I’ll have to wait and see, but before that, there will definitely be some repercussions from the events of the finale to deal with.
Back to the characters, I think this is also the first show in general, let alone police procedural, I’ve watched where a team of female professionals take centre stage, while their male colleagues are almost fooling around on the sidelines. Besides Abbott’s genius writing, the women in No Offence make the show. If you watch it for nothing else, watch it to see these ladies in action, because they really kill it.