Explosive Crime Drama 'Trigger Point' is Saved by McClure's Standout Performance

Vicky McClure as Lana Washington in 'Trigger Point' Season 1

Vicky McClure as Lana Washington in 'Trigger Point' Season 1

©HTM Television & All3Media International

Streaming platforms have a way of making everything old new again. Look no further than people discovering Suits and Sex and the City on Netflix. Or the fact that those who weren’t even born when Friends premiered now binge-watch the show on Max. Trigger Point, the 2022 British series about a series of bomb attacks in London, first came to the US via Peacock, where it didn’t attract that much of an audience. Now, the first season of the series has moved to BritBox, where it will likely find more stateside success. There’s something to be said for a television series being on a streaming platform that preaches to the already converted. 

Produced by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty), the series follows ex-military operative Lana Washington (Vicky McClure), who is now part of the Metropolitan Police bomb disposal squad. Lana, whose resting state is high stress, is adjusting to life back home. Her best friend, Joel “Nut” Nutkins (Adrian Lester), heads up the bomb squad while always alleviating the tense situations they find themselves in with his caustic sense of humor. “I’m getting too old for this sh*t,” Nut says, repeating the iconic Lethal Weapon quote.

Lana also has a police detective boyfriend, Thom (Mark Stanley), who doesn’t know how to truly support her; a troubled brother, Billy (Ewan Mitchell), who makes increasingly bad life choices; a new friend, Karl (Warren Brown), who wants to be more than a friend, and a squad of people who look to her for support.

Vicky McClure as Lana Washington in 'Trigger Point' Season 1

Vicky McClure as Lana Washington in 'Trigger Point' Season 1

HTM Television & All3Media International

The pilot episode kicks off with the bombing of an apartment building. And just when Lana and Nut think they’ve diffused the situation, another crisis emerges. That pretty much sums up the entire series as Lana, who is known as an EXPO (explosives officer), must hunt down bomb after bomb after bomb. Who is behind these attacks and why is the thrust of the six-episode first season. Is it muslim terrorist? A disgruntled member of their squad? Someone with a political agenda? The series offers up plenty of red herrings as it heads towards its first season finale. 

Despite the red herrings, most viewers are likely to spot the culprit pretty early on in the series. I found myself racing to get to the season finale just to confirm that my guess was correct. Spoiler alert: it was. That made the climax of the series a bit disappointing since there was no real shock value to it. 

Although the overall mystery of the series was a bit too predictable, the show proves early on that it’s not a series afraid to kill off characters, even ones you may think are safe. A lot of bad things happen to the bomb squad. They may be experts in their field but they aren’t always successful. Tragedies happen. Multiple tragedies. The third episode is hearthbreaking and stressful. The fourth episode, which also involves a fairly predictable plot twist, is even more heartbreaking and stressful. 

Lana suffers in the six episodes — a lot. “My job is to keep people safe, and I haven’t been able to,” she laments. It gets to the point where, in the words of the great Taylor Swift, perhaps she should begin to wonder if, in fact, it’s her — she’s the problem. Maybe Lana should consider a career change — a nice job making floral arrangements or teaching yoga? Because that woman needs less anxiety and tragedy in her life.

The toll this kind of work takes on people is explored. They are haunted by “demons wanting to come out and play.” One character references the fact that EOD, the abbreviation for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, actually stands for “everyone divorced.” How they adjust to life back home after fighting in a war is also given a deeper look. 

The script is often full of cliched dialogue. “Grief is a terrible reminder of the depth of our love,” one character tells Lana. What saves the series are the strong performances. Even if you have a strong suspicion of how the story may play out, you will be invested enough in the characters to want to see what happens. McClure pulls viewers right into the high-stakes drama with her lived-in performances. Although the plot twists surrounding Lana might not always be believable, she is,, thanks to McClure. Mitchell is also fantastic as a man who doesn’t understand where his bad choices have led him until it’s too late. 

The second season of the series began airing in England in January and will eventually make its way to BritBox. I’m still kind of hoping that maybe in the sophomore season, Lana has a job at Starbucks where her biggest stress is getting people’s latte orders right, but somehow, I don’t think that will be the case.

All six episodes of Trigger Point Season 1 are streaming on BritBox.

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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