Crime dramas are a dime a dozen in the world of British entertainment, full of familiar tropes and formulas that make it fairly easy to predict what's going to happen even if you're not super familiar with the genre. Happily, this does not appear to be the case Apple TV+'s upcoming series Criminal Record, a drama that aims to explore big questions and institutional issues through the lens of two detectives in a professional tug-of-war over a historic case.
The seires stars Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) as Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Hegarty and Cush Jumbo (The Good Fight) as Detective Sergeant June Lenker, two police detectives at very different stages in their careers. When an anonymous emergency call from a panicked woman reignites questions about an old murder case, the two will find themselves inexorably at odds over whether the man convicted of the crime may have been innocent after all.
"The case was investigated fairly," Hegarty insists in the trailer. But June is doubtful, and the clip certainly frames Capaldi's character — a veteran detective with a rather brooding presence --- as a man who may have something to hide. (Or at least seems a bit...let's just call it flexible in his policing methods.)
The conflict between Hagerty and Lenker raises generational questions of legacy, institutional change, and systemic failures within policing, as June's more youthful determination to shake up the established systems, and better serve the diverse populations of the London in which they live clashes with Hagerty's old school approach to closing cases.
"We got our man," Hagerty declares at one point in the trailer. "No, you got a confession," Lenker disagrees. Which of them is right?
Here's the series synopsis.
Criminal Record,” is a powerful new London crime thriller starring Academy Award winner Peter Capaldi and Cush Jumbo. An anonymous phone call draws two brilliant detectives into a confrontation over an old murder case — one a young woman in the early stages of her career, the other a well-connected man determined to protect his legacy. The series touches on issues of race, institutional failure and the quest to find common ground in a polarized Britain.
Alongside Capaldi and Jumbo, the series also stars Charlie Creed-Miles (World on Fire), Dionne Brown (Queenie), Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack), Stephen Campbell Moore (The Confessions of Frannie Langton), Zoë Wanamaker (Shadow and Bone), Rasaq Kukoyi (Andor), Maisie Ayres (Silent Witness), Aysha Kala (The Undeclared War), Cathy Tyson (Boiling Point) and Tom Moutchi (Mood).
The eight-episode series is written by Paul Rutman, who previously developed the long-running Vera series, and is directed by BAFTA Award winner Jim Loach (Save Me Too) and Shaun James Grant (The Devil's Hour). It is produced for Apple TV+ by Tod Productions and STV Studios and executive produced by Elain Collins (Shetland), along with Rutland, Capaldi, and Jumbo.
Criminal Record will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 12, 2024, with the first two episodes, followed by new installments weekly through February 23.