DCI Banks' latest two-parter, Strange Affair, concluded unexpectedly yesterday. I say "unexpectedly", because for twenty minutes it seemed perfectly clear in which direction the story was heading, and the dialogue felt equally predictable. Yet, all of a sudden, the narrative motored off in a new direction, and I found myself enjoying it very much indeed.
This owes much, of course, to the strength of the plot in Peter Robinson's book on which the adaptation was based. But there was also fine work from a strong cast in which Stephen Tompkinson was at his most anguished and Caroline Catz at her spikiest, while Keith Barron was excellent as Banks's dad. In the end, the story posed a moral dilemma which I'd really not seen coming, and this device worked very well. Importantly, it didn't feel contrived.
Another pleasing feature, for me, of this episode was an element of nostalgia, in that I recognised a couple of locations. After I left law college, I spent a couple of years working in Leeds, a time when money was, to put it mildly, in short supply. I left Yorkshire to work in Liverpool, but I remain a great fan of the White Rose county, and DCI Banks makes good use of the Yorkshire setting, even though it is, admittedly, slightly less dramatic that that of, say, Lewis or Vera.
DCI Banks is, I think,starting to develop into a very good series, and it's reassuring to know that, because Peter Robinson has been so prolific and consistent over the years, there are plenty of story-lines to come. I look forward to the next instalment.