Sunday, 3 October 2010

Inspector George Gently: Gently Evil - review


Inspector George Gently is back, and I recorded the first episode of the new series, Gently Evil, catching up with it last night. Martin Shaw is again the gruff cop with a heart, and his irksome sidekick, Bacchus, is played very well by Lee Ingleby. The series is based on the late Alan Hunter's novels, and written by Peter Flannery.

In this episode, a youngish woman is found battered to death at her home. Her ex husband is a suspect, and her rather odd brother is too. And what about her daughter, who seems both precocious and naive? The story takes an unexpected turn, moving into the realm of child abduction, and a mystery about a young girl's death a year earlier.

The story moved along well, and there was also some worthwhile discussion about the nature of evil. The series is set in 1966, and the atmosphere was pretty well done, though did people really talkl about the mentally ill being 'sectioned' back then? I'm not sure.

The relationship between the cops is very well done, and Bacchus's hapless love life is an interesting plot strand. An attractive lawyer with a conscience (yes, they do exist) featured, and I suspect she may well return in future shows. Definitely worth watching.

9 comments:

GeraniumCat said...

Blast, I missed this, shall have to hope it turns up again soon. Bacchus is one of my favourite TV cops (I can't imagine why, he really is irritating, but I fell for him from the start).

I think people in that line of work (or with family who had been) did talk about "sectioning" back then - my secondhand association (through my husband's job) goes back to the beginning of the 70s and I can remember the word being used then. I'm usually horribly pedantic about anachronisms, so it's rather nice to be able to say that I don't think this is one!

Martin Edwards said...

I'm sure it will be on again soon, GC!
I agree about Bacchus. Intriguing.
I wonder if 'sectioning' predates the 1983 Mental Health Act. Perhaps it does, though presumably the section numbers were different!

Kerrie said...

I hope this gets to Oz. I enjoyed the earlier ones that we saw and I like Martin Shaw's portrayal (better than his Dalgleish one)

QuartPot said...

The OED defines one use of the verb "to section" as:
To cause (a person) to be compulsorily detained in a mental hospital in accordance with the provisions of the relevant section of the Mental Health Act of 1983 or (formerly) that of 1959.

Although their first written example of this usage postdates the 1983 Act, and the earliest newspaper use of "sectioned" in this sense I can find is 1980 (in The Times), I am sure it would in have been current in speech well before that - as GeraniumCat's memories of the early 1970s confirm. But I do have a slight doubt that it would been current as early as 1966...
I was impressed by this episode. The discussion of evil that you mentioned was thought provoking and the resolution of the story almost unbearably sad - near Wallander standard. Powerful stuff!

GeraniumCat said...

Had a conversation about sectioning with my other half, who pointed out that we moved to Scotland (which always liked to do things differently) in the early 70s, and he thinks that he first heard the term only after we moved. So it may have generalised to England after the '83 Act. He reminded me that people used to talk about being "committed" in the old days, and we then went on to wonder whether a writer might choose to use "sectioned" rather than "committed" because no one would know what the latter meant these days.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Kerrie, I hope so too.

Martin Edwards said...

QuartPot, thanks and good to hear from you.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi GC, a friend with some expertise thinks that the term used in the 60s was 'certified' rather than 'sectioned'. My knowledge is not that of an expert, but I only came across 'sectioned' in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

What book, exactly, is the episode Gently Evil based on?