Prey-review of first episode-some spoilers- ITV Channel or Channel # 103 on Virgin Media TV Mondays @ 9pm in the UK


So Prey is inadvertently amusing.  It is like a spoof show of every Detective drama on the BBC.  Prey also contains just about every actor/ actress that has ever appeared in a BBC Police drama.  In the same roles.

Except for the welcome sight of the officially lesbian Police sergeant from the rather good series about a group of lesbian friends set in Glasgow.  Which i obviously can’t remember the name of.

Point is, the gay Police Sergeant in that drama was one of my favourite characters: tough, fit and given as always, to jogging around cool urban locations and walkways and so on.  However in Prey they have given her awful hair and she is the hero’s wife who is not long for this world.

We know this fact already due to the overkill if you will pardon the pun, of TV trailers for Prey and previews which have already advised us that the ever-running down the road hero Detective has been accused of murdering his wife.

The opening scene of Prey has been taken from the titular scene in Line Of duty 2 in which the Detective is first shown upside down, hanging from his seat belt in an overturned Police van.  The other actors from Police drama such as the hero’s close friend at work is also from Line of Duty 2 and has pretty much the same role.

The Police Inspector in charge, sneering and nasty one minute, ensconced in a white forensics suit and near weeping next, is the same slightly mysterious and suspect head of the Detective Unit in The Tunnel, the British remake of The Bridge 1.

So, back track to x amount of time,  i think it was 3 days earlier before the upturned Police van in which our hero Detective is dangling…

There is a particularly gruesome find (when are they any other) of a body deep in a field in what appears to be a moor in Yorkshire which turns out to be a missing gangster from back in the day.  Well it was either him or an associate I am afraid my attention was wandering .  As in wondering whether i had the patience to stick with this in seriousness or whether i might watch Prey in some kind of half amusement and accept its spoof-like nature.

Anyway, of course this gangster was a very bad man and he was so back in the day that all and i mean all of the files on him are unaccountably stored on just two lonely floppy discs.  Our hero has to get an old computer tower down from the loft to access the disc.  Just the sort of thing you keep in your loft.

In between all this we are bored with the original beginning of how hero Detective goes out for a drink with his best/ bezzie mate Copper, they get drunk, his mate falls over and breaks his right wrist.  Remember this.

Whilst the Detective is waiting with his mate as he lies on a hospital bed (just for a broken wrist which seems a bit unlikely in casualty) the mate waxes less then lyrically about his life, whether he could cope with having children.  Boringly on and on.  However we have to pay attention since this scene is obviously there for a reason.

 Suffice to say,  the dopey looking best mate of the Detective is the same guy from Line Of Duty Two.  Without giving away Line of Duty 2 for those who haven’t seen it, for those who have, like me: this meant that i immediately suspect  (best) bezzie mate of being the mysterious new lover mentioned by the Detective’s ex-wife.

Of course she is the ex-wife this being a Police drama and marriage and Police work seem to have become mutually forever exclusive and incompatible.

Unfortunately after this declaration from his ex-wife of a new love in her life, the Detective gets angry, shouts and unwisely punches the wall and makes a hole.  You would think this an unlikely happening in most brick walls however i have seen the evidence that it can  most certainly happen in a lesser type partition wall.

So all this, the shouting and the hole in the wall already is being ticked off mentally by the viewer as inevitable black marks versus the Detective when poor ex-wife (and used to be glamorous gay sergeant from another drama) is brutally murdered.

The murder happens so quickly in the time it takes the Detective to talk to an extremely sinisterly spoken apparition in the form of a witness to the aforementioned gangster’s disappearance.  The Detective meets this wispily long haired sibilantly speaking man in a pub.  He is a famous British actor who always plays the same role.  Of a sinisterly scary man.  With long and wispy hair.

The man signed a statement saying the gangster had left the country and now says that he is not so so sure.  Then the wispily haired man unaccountably threatens the Detective’s family.  At which point the Detective gets very cross and freaked out and leaves the pub.

 The Detective appears to go straight to his ex-wife’s house.  Letting himself in with his key and has a wander around.

Bad news.  The Detective’s wife is on the floor with a large, very large kitchen knife sticking out of her stomach in almost theatrical fashion.  She is still alive and tries to pull the knife out.  As you do.
” No, no!”
 says the Detective and they both grapple with the knife.  Oops.  Fingerprints on the knife now to add to the hole in the wall.  The wall which is thin enough then for the neighbours to have heard the shouting.
(from their previous argument)

We already know the Detective is well and truly screwed.   To make things worse, there is a tiny hand just visible lying on the bottom of the stairs.

In spite of all this tragedy, i still couldn’t take this tableau seriously. Then, having not seen this further awful sight on the stairs, the Detective stumbles out of the house, down a little hillock and into a giant puddle or inexplicable small lake outside the house and brokenly weeps whilst prostate within the water.

Flash forward onto the crime scene that is now the Detective’s house and the nasty head of the Police Unit lady boss is standing staring fixedly at ex-wife on the floor looking weepy.
“She did it!”  i exclaimed to myself rather ridiculously probably.  But hey, it is that kind of show.  Ridiculous.

So all these unfortunate black marks stack up against the Detective and in the shake of a rat’s tail the stone faced Detective in charge of the case decides him guilty of murder.  On the basis of the fingerprints on the knife, the hole in the wall and, as she declares, just knowing that:
 “He did it!”.

Shouting his head off, after weeping impressively in a shocked way and lunging towards the Detective in her questioning of him, doesn’t really help our hero’s case:
I didn’t do it!
“Its OK,” the Detective in charge of his case purrs solicitously,,
“I understand, You felt them slipping away..”
“You had to annihilate them, didn’t you?”

Well no actually, but still, off the Detective goes to prison but into the prison van first.  Unfortunately for him,, the prisoner opposite him in the van somehow miraculously knows who the Detective is and his crime and has a Biro pen. stuffed up his jumper.

Next thing you know, after growling his recognition and knowledge of the Detective’s crime, the other prisoner  stabs the Detective in the chest with the Biro!  “Arrrggggh!”

All hell breaks loose, they fight, the prison van goes over, the Detective saves the lives of both the prisoner and the driver and then stumbles away down the road.  All bloody like with a giant Biro sticking out of his chest!

At first i thought this enormous item sticking out of the Detective’s chest that you see the other prisoner slowly slipping out from the inside of his sleeve was a shank.  Having learnt this form my phase of watching prison documentaries.  (however the prisoner hadn’t been to prison yet)

 Then i reasoned that this object was some part of the prison van.  But no, neither.  It was a bloody Biro.  For some reason i find this funny or maybe it is just the sight of the Detective, wandering around with a Biro sticking out of his chest.  Call me cruel.

So the detective is so damn good at running away from his own Police force whilst being accused of murder its like he took a training course.

Before you can say Jack Robinson, the Detective has hidden cleverly on the corner of a Council estate stairwell ( i forget how he got in) wrenched the gargantuan Biro from his chest, forced his way into an elderly man’s flat and bandaged his big hole in his chest with kitchen towel and electric “gaffer’s tape”.

Then the Detective is off and running again, in a new set of clothes handily nicked from a clothes line on the balcony outside the council flat.  In his incognito pink hooded top he is back to the pub where he met the wispily long haired man and questions the landlord as to where he can find that man. Or his associate.

So off the Detective goes to find the mysterious house at the end of the road, near the lamp-post with the giant dog’s head statue outside.  (don’t ask me)  Inside he finds the house empty and takes the time to phone his remaining son and then the head of the Police Unit, but wait, who is that coming through the door with an object which he proceeds to break up on the cupboard?  With his right hand?

It is too dark to see…

Fisticuffs ensue and the Detective finds himself fighting with a man with a cast on his hand, his left hand.   Oops.

I think i will leave it there.  I have already told too much.  Prey might well improve but for now it is more than faintly ridiculous for me.  It remains a  spoof.  A spoof of each and every Detective drama on the BBC.  Perhaps because it is on ITV?

I probably would have ditched on Prey except for the acting skills of the main Detective and a few others  At least it bowls along fairly merrily and i haven’t felt the urge to check the time to see how much longer it has to go, several times.

Since my patience is wearing wafer thin and time seems to have stood still or at the very least has become over-elastically (and uncomfortably) elongated, as it has when i was watching the second episode of Hinterland.

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