Review: No Offence (Series 2, Episodes 1 & 2)

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Breakneck

The perfect blend between drama and comedy makes it like No Offence has never been away.

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Howlingly unrelenting like a police siren, Channel 4’s female-led cop show, No Offence, explodes back onto our screens to add some life into January.

Outspoken and unapologetic, No Offence is pure ecstasy, a melting point of brilliantly thought-up characters and fierce storytelling. In an oversaturated market, it kicks down the barrier between drama and comedy with the brute force of witty yet thought-provoking dialogue. This isn’t the gradually soul-destroying monotony of Silent Witness, or the headf*ck that is recent Sherlock; it rests itself in the middle, reaching out to people wanting revolutionary drama without the migraine.

Viv Deering (Joanna Scanlan) is back on the job after the death of her husband, but she’s immediately thrown in the deep end, caught between warring Manchester families who are bereaved and angry. Far away from the quite-literally explosive opening to the new series, the prickling tension of Western-style standoffs between these snarling, terrifying war-lords pitch this show as the best cop drama on TV right now. Viv interjects the sharp tension with witty remarks that has you not quite sure if you should be laughing or deadly silent.

The new big bad is the venomous, cut-throat widow of the Attah crime family, played brilliantly by Rakie Ayola. The stuff of nightmares, the only worth advisory isn’t some belligerent detective in a suit, but the equally ballsy Viv and her protégées. Dinah (Elaine Cassidy) and Joy (Alexandra Roach) are the antithesis of each other; while Dinah springs into action faster than a bullet, going rogue during a city-scale riot, Joy comes into her own provoking her suspects from the other side of a desk. Both suffer setbacks in Episode 2, but unlike the first series, they learn to stand together for support.

As for Viv – she’s still the eye of the storm. Though she’s fair and instantly admirable, she’s also to be feared. After the chaos of this two-parter, she declares war, furiously insisting “We’re gonna swallow Nora Attah up like an earthquake.” Her second sparring partner comes into the form of the team’s stoic new boss Christine, played by usually-comedic actress Sarah Solemani. Viv informs her that the powers-that-be have nicknamed her ‘Nuremberg’, “because it’s always a trial with you.”

With punch after punch of gripping twists, No Offence doesn’t let you catch your breath for even a second. Though it’s unlikely the rest of the series can keep up with the pace of these stunning openers, it has set up some strong arcs to play out across the next seven weeks. With the utterly pretentious and fanciful Sherlock spending too long chasing its shadow, No Offence strides confidently into January to sit on the throne of drama; and woe betide whoever tries to contest it.

No Offence continues next Wednesday on Channel 4. The first series is available to catch up on via All4.

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Editor of The Edge. Previously Culture Editor (2016-17). Sporadic writer for the Wessex Scene, DJ on Surge, known photobomber of SUSUtv's videos. Bad habits include Netflix, not doing my work and drinking too much tea.

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