'Criminal Record's Double Episode Premiere Doubles The Calls For Help

Peter Capaldi as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty doing shady things in an alley in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Peter Capaldi as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Apple TV+

Dirty cops, a murder mystery, a dogged detective willing to buck the system: these are things we’ve seen many times before. What truly sets Apple TV+’s new series Criminal Record apart is the cast. I mean, how can you not want to watch a show starring Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) as a veteran detective with a dark side and Cush Jumbo (The Beast Must Die) as the plucky detective willing to risk her career to bring him down? 

In the two-episode premiere, we are immediately thrown into this London-based story. Capaldi’s grizzled (bitter?) DCI Daniel Hegarty is working off-duty on a security detail. He’s driving a limo for a tipsy couple who want to hear all his war stories. “It’s a young man’s game. Doesn’t matter how fit you are, criminals are always 18,” he tells them as he drives by a young woman going to a pay phone (they still exist!) and making a desperate phone call to emergency services. “I need police,” she says.

Jumbo’s Detective Sergeant June Lenker is recently promoted and juggling not just her career but also a mom who is constantly calling her to look up the license plate numbers (the most recent suspicious van was a grocery delivery service), a son on the brink of adolescence (“Mom, a time and a place,” he says when June tries to hug him.) and a husband who thinks she might be seeking out trouble. June is assigned to investigate the emergency domestic violence call that came in the previous night. The caller, who refuses to give her name, says her boyfriend is trying to kill her and then makes a shocking statement. “He had a girlfriend a long time ago... he stabbed her many, many times with the same knife he put in me, and now she’s dead... there’s a man in prison doing 24 years for killing her.” The caller hangs up before she reveals her name or any more information.

June does some digging and finds the case she thinks the anonymous caller was talking about: Errol Mathis (Tom Moutchi), serving 24 years for killing Adelaide Burrows. Upon hearing it’s a case Hegarty worked on, her boss suggests June not set up a face-to-face meeting. (Does June listen to that advice? Of course not!) Under the guise of delivering some witness statements, June seeks out Hegarty, who refers to Mathis as “a poor man’s OJ,” and immediately dismisses June’s concerns. “You are aware that he confessed? The whole nine yards, as they say,” he tells her.

Cush Jumbo as Detective Sergeant June Lenker at her desk in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Cush Jumbo as Detective Sergeant June Lenker in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Apple TV+

The crime itself is horrific. Adelaide’s six-year-old son Patrick heard all the sounds of his mother being murdered through the wall. But Hegarty, as the saying goes, doth protest too much and also claims that he doesn’t want to embarrass June, that this whole thing sounds like a prank, and that next time she should do as she is told and send an email. Hegarty is an unsavory combination of patronizing, sexist, and racist. Soon, June learns what happens when she gets on Hegarty’s bad side. She is locked out of her computer log-in and learns her conduct is being investigated. 

It’s billed as a routine and random check, but June knows better. “It’s a message. He’s sending me a message,” she tells her colleague DC Chloe Summers (Dionne Brown). June seeks attorney Sonya Singh (Aysha Kala), hired by Errol’s mother, Doris Mathis (Cathy Tyson). Sonya found her own expert who says the teeth marks on Adelaide did not match Errol’s. She tells June that Hegarty and his cronies call themselves “The 62s,” but no one knows why. As June seeks out information on Adelaide’s son Patrick, who is now a teenager living in a halfway home after being charged with possession when he was 12, Hegarty is going around to all his old buddies, telling them to keep their mouths shut and get rid of any lingering evidence. “We need to cover our backs,” he says. We don’t know what Hegarty and his buddies did and why they wanted to pin the crime on Errol Matthis, but we know it isn’t good. 

The emergency services woman calls June to say she has a woman named Maria DeSousa on the line. She thinks it’s the same woman who called before. Maria’s life is in immediate danger. Her boyfriend is banging down the bathroom door to get to her. June races to get to Maria but doesn’t make it in time, and Maria is found dead on the sidewalk, having been thrown from the ninth floor of the apartment building.

Maisie Ayres as Lisa helps Rasaq Kukoyi as Patrick Burrowes get ready in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Maisie Ayres as Lisa and Rasaq Kukoyi as Patrick Burrowes in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Apple TV+

The second episode kicks off with June not waiting for backup and entering the apartment building. She confronts Maria’s assailant, and he attacks and strangles her, landing June in the hospital. June thinks the anonymous caller and the deceased Maria DeSousa are one and the same. But before she can investigate any connection, Hegarty takes over the case and again dismisses June with patronizing comments. “Two calls, same women. That’s your hypothesis. That’s very, very neat... you see what you want to see. We all do it.” He tries to assure her that they are both on the same side, but frankly, that’s very doubtful.

June gets into trouble for all the vehicle searches she’s been doing for her mother with no known case number attached. June goes to see Errol’s mother, Doris, who is unhappy to see yet another cop and thinks Hegarty and his crew sent June. “I’m not new to this. My bullshit radar is better than most. . . if you think you can come up here trying to pin some fresh trouble on my Errol,” she tells her. 

Sonya discovers that Errol went to St. Joseph’s Academy with Clive Silcox, the man arrested for Maria’s murder. This strengthens June’s suspicions that Clive killed Adelaide Burrows. June goes to see a woman who knew Clive in 2018. The terrified woman won’t leave with June because her mom is also in the home. June calls for backup, which is six minutes away. Suddenly, the house is on fire, so June, barely recovered from her previous assault, goes in. She rescues the woman and her mother and stops Clive from committing suicide.

PPeter Capaldi as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty half in. the shadows like a good evil person in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Peter Capaldi as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty in 'Criminal Record' Season 1

Apple TV+

Despite her bravery, June is thrown off the case since she was explicitly told it wasn’t her case anymore. But Chloe gives her access to Maria’s pathology report. Hegarty comes to talk to her. “Two phone calls, two women,” Hegarty says. “Two phone calls, one woman,” June replies. She wants a forensic analysis of the two phone calls to prove they are the same woman. Hegarty, ever the charmer, gives June a lecture on unconscious bias. June gets her chance to interview Clive Silcox (Andrew Brooke), but it doesn’t matter. Forensic analysis has come back that the calls came from two different women. “There’s nothing to tie Clive Silccox to this old murder,” her boss tells her. 

June is devastated and is in the bathroom stifling screams when Chloe tells her that there’s a rumor going around that Hegarty knew from the beginning that the two callers were different women and sat on the report because he wanted to humiliate June. “He played me. It was a trap, and I walked right into it. He thinks knock me down so hard I won’t get back up again. No, no, not me,” June says before vowing to find the original caller.

The two-episode premiere set up so many questions. The hazy, disjointed flashback scenes are trying to tell us something, but we aren’t sure what. It’s implied that Hegarty is living with someone with a drinking problem, but who? Why does he need a second job? Does he owe money to someone? Why was he so desperate to convict Errol Matthis for the crime? What exactly happened all those years ago? What was Errol’s relationship with Adelaide’s son? Why is Eroll still trying to contact him from prison? We have six more episodes to find out.

Amy Amatangelo headshot

When Amy Amatangelo was little, her parents limited the amount of TV she could watch. You can see how well that worked out. 

In addition to Telly Visions, her work can currently be found in Paste Magazine, Emmy Magazine, and the LA Times. She also is the Treasurer of the Television Critics Association. Amy liked the ending of Lost and credits the original 90210 for her life-long devotion to teen dramas. She stays up at night wondering what happened between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi and really thinks Carrie Bradshaw needs to join match.com so she can meet a new guy. Follow her at @AmyTVGal.

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