So here is a bit of a gem.
Suspects is an original British drama hiding out in plain sight. At first episode it seemed both claustrophobically filmed and lackadaisical. I say that because everything is shot seemingly very up close and personal as if we were watching a home movie of the action made large.
Lackadaisical because the pace and dialogue at first appear as slow, almost casual. The speech is clipped, lilting and sporadic. Fay Ripley’s accent almost sounds sarcastic at first. I realise this is because we are so unused to hearing Northern accents on screen.
The action and screenplay of the 1st episode is dramatic, depressing and intense. Depressing only in terms of the story line which is the wearily over familiar one of a missing small child. I was initially averse to watching yet another such story being that it is never usually a happy tale. However i was slowly drawn in and dallied therein, due to the excellent acting and atmosphere.
Then a small but invisible bell rang in the back of my head. I read about Suspects and what is unusual about it is that the dialogue is entirely improvised. Yep. That explains the initially slightly odd feel to everything. The home movie feel crossed with a pinch of voyeur.
The lovely long lengths of silence. Then short, clipped sentences. They are all au naturel. It feels like a breath of fresh air has crept in from the cold outside like a zephyr breeze. Somebody cranked open the dusty stiff old wooden sash window of ridiculous speech. We can feel the cold air on the back of our neck and it’s refreshing.
There is light and space and room to breath between the words. They are real as is the way they are spoken.
Perhaps I should have mentioned that Fay Ripley is the eponymous Police Detective, with her small crew who obviously encounter and painstakingly solve crimes.
The setting is sparse, the generic Police station office, the claustrophobic and radiantly lit, from our viewpoint, interview room. Due to the lights and tripod high camera with its pinhole red light.
Considering that the dialogue is completely improvised, you really wouldn’t guess and i found myself examining the speech in fine detail and being really impressed. At the same time thinking that we are all so familiar with Detective dramas now perhaps we already know some of this, subconsciously, by heart.
Next week the Police investigate the death of some young clubbers. I think I am a fan of Suspects now. It is certainly fresh and different. If not in the story lines, with the characters , the acting and the admirably excellent extemporising.