Though the tone of this rushed season finale hits a slightly bum note, No Offence continues to draw on its strengths – electric dialogue and strong women.
No Offence‘s season finale is an exhausting affair. As with the rest of the season, it batters viewers with twist after twist and intensely high stakes, but as it comes to a close, you’re left questioning whether it’s worth the stress it exerts on your racing heart. Despite this, there are many things that continue to make No Offence stand out from an oversaturated market of crime thrillers – most notably, ballsy acting, electric dialogue, and a core of strong women.
The episode kicks off with Manchester’s most overworked detectives divided. As Dinah (Elaine Cassidy) fumes that Viv (Joanna Scanlan) has put her pseudo-daughter’s sister in the firing line by turning her double agent, the once-meek Joy (Alexandra Roach) resolves that they can’t go on like this. Constant secret-keeping and underhand tactics have finally come between the fearless trio, and it looks set to destroy them.
The final move to take down the snarling Attah crime family quickly takes a disastrous turn, throwing all their lives in danger. Rakie Ayola’s Nora Attah continues to be the best villain on the screen right now, a complex, sympathetic character who is also completely terrifying. She’s the perfect nemesis for Viv’s hard-edged approach to policing, though the oddly respectful relationship between the pair of them is fascinating to watch. With the needed takedown of the family in the episode’s closing moments, Nora Attah will be sadly missed in future series.
Another surprising strength of the episode comes from Claudia Adshead’s portrayal of Donna Calvert. Caught in the middle of Viv and Nora’s war, quite literally, Adshead shows strength and sensitivity in her role. Her portrayal is impressive, and ballsy enough to match Scanlan and co. Will Mellor’s largely forgotten copper Spike gets an opportunity to shine in the traumatic showdown, and probably leaves the series the most scarred – he’s one to watch when/if No Offence returns.
No Offence‘s problem lies with its unrelenting plot; it ramps the drama up to 2000% from what was already breakneck speed. The constant curveballs detract from the overall tone of what has been a very strong series, with not enough time or gravity given to huge bombshells (again, quite literally). Humour is sparse as tensions reach breaking point, though there are a few light laughs as Viv and Spike, handcuffed to a radiator, attempt to attract the attention of a nearby homeless man. Extending the plot into a further episode could have helped No Offence rival their previous stunning finale, an hour of television that alone should win awards.
Ultimately, this series of No Offence has been an outstanding affair, with Paul Abbott’s unique mix of drama and comedy carefully executed by an incredibly strong cast. Fingers crossed for a third outing, quicker than Series 2 took to appear; there are so many more stories for Viv and co to tell.
No Offence‘s final episode aired on Wednesday, Channel 4 at 9pm. You can re-watch Series 1 and 2 via All4.