DVD Review: DCI Banks Series 3 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Jamie Mercer 16.09.2017

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DCI Banks Season 3 (UK Rating: 15)

Slow, plodding, cumbersome, deliberate, and ponder-some. These are all words that could be used to describe British police procedurals since Spooks and Life on Mars. DCI Banks, though, has been around the block long enough to get some momentum and the characters are already clearly defined. This should be a series hitting its stride in its third season, but how does it fare?

Stephen Tompkinson, best remembered for his role as unethical exaggerator Damien Day in Drop the Dead Donkey, plays DCI Alan Banks - a glum Yorkshire detective with demons, of the alcoholic variety, policing in a dreary Yorkshire setting that tries so hard to be like the Danish backdrops of Wallander or The Killing that it seriously affects one's hyyge. Britain should celebrate what it can offer as a setting, not try and emulate elsewhere, and Yorkshire, especially, has some beautiful settings that feel ill-utilised.

Stilted dialogue and massively obvious foreshadowing make this an easy and very undemanding watch. After a busy week at work, it certainly won't keep you up at night wondering what is going to happen next, but it is also unlikely to enthuse you either as to where the show is going, which is why two series later, the show was cancelled by ITV.

This series looks at a number of issues over its three two-part episodes. The first story - Wednesday's Child - looks at the abduction of 11-year-old Kyle Heath who is taken from his home by two people claiming to be social workers. The second story - Piece of My Heart - sees Banks and co. examine the death of a journalist whose demise is linked to that of a guitarist who died in the 1980s. Finally, Bad Boy explores the death of a club DJ who is shot in the head after being driven off the road.

There's nothing standout about DCI Banks; the setting is beige, the plots are beige, and the characters are - by and large - a certain shade of beige. Banks has nothing going for him other than being a basic, blokey bloke; likeable enough, but has nothing especially character-defining.

Rated 5 out of 10


DCI Banks is an undemanding watch. It's not taxing, it won't excite you, but if viewers go in with the right mindset and level of expectations then it also won't necessarily disappoint you. The down and out alcoholic detective route has been very well trodden in the past, but what DCI Banks perhaps unwittingly does best is show what everyday policing probably looks like. It can be slow, it can be cumbersome, and it probably does go on a bit longer than it needed to.

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