There’s something about police shows set in Manchester England that make for remarkable television. The latest in the line up, No Offence, Series 1 is being released on DVD by Acorn Media August 7 2017.
While there have been police shows with female leads before, somehow this one is different. Perhaps because of the nature of the characters, or the quality of the acting, but whatever the reason the three in this case are some of the most memorable characters to grace a police procedural with their presence.
Detective Inspector (DI) Vivenne Deering (Joanna Scanlan), Detective Constable (DC) Dinah Kowalska (Elaine Cassidy), and Detective Sergeant (DS) Joy Freers (Alexandra Roach) are each in their own right memorable. Maybe its because the three women, especially DI Deering, act and talk exactly like their male counterparts in other shows. (Anyone who has seen the British version of Life On Mars will be sure to notice her resemblance to another infamous Manchester based detective, DCI Gene Hunt.)
However, while all the characters are amazing, (there are male characters, headed by Will Mellor as DC Spike Tanner) from the uniformed PCs to the forensic and psychological staff who now play such important roles in police procedurals, this show wouldn’t work so well if it wasn’t for its compelling story lines.
While each of the eight episodes has its own self-contained plot line, the series also follows the teams’ continuing investigation into a rather nasty ongoing case. There’s a serial killer stalking the streets of Manchester targeting young women with Down syndrome. Initially, with only two young women found, the police don’t make the connection. However, when a third person is reported missing and subsequently turns up dead, they realize what’s going on.
However, unlike other television police series No Offence’s writers are capable of not only creating a realistic ongoing investigation, they also create the reality of the day to day job of working officers. Even while they’re chasing down leads concerning the serial killer, they’re also solving other cases.
These cases not only flesh out the series to make it more believable, but they also help viewers to know and appreciate all the characters. We see them interacting with each other and members of Manchester’s incredibly diverse community – a community which includes everyone from neo-Nazis to devout Muslims.
This of course makes for some interesting dynamics out on the street, all of which are handled with great tact and quite a bit of humour by the actors and writers. One of the best bits is hearing a white supremacist having to admit to receiving sexual favours from a Black crossdresser in order to give himself an alibi for what looks to be a hate crime against a Muslim woman.
If you like your police procedurals well acted, amazingly scripted, and more than a little bit irreverent, than No Offence, Series 1 is the show for you. It is without a doubt, head and shoulder above anything else you’ll see on DVD these days. While the three disc set is short on special features, a meet the cast and crew video and a few deleted scenes, that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from buying this series.
(Originally posted at Blogcritics.org as DVD Review: No Offence Series 1 - British Police Procedural
Richard Marcus is the author of two commissioned works published by Ulysses Press, editor in the books section of Blogcritics.org and contributor at Qantara.de. He has been writing since 2005 and his work has appeared in publications all over the world including the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.