Vexed Series Two Episode 1 Review

New series. New partner. Can ‘Vexed’ bring anything different to the crime genre?

Jack is back and with a new case to solve, will he get on with his new partner? Will he ever go to the police station like a normal detective? Is his car ever going to start-up first time?

The ever affable Toby Stephens is back in a role in which, while perhaps not his best, he is still very likable despite some of his more archaic attitudes as the suave D.I. Jack Armstrong. Very much a maverick cop (or lazy depending on how you look at it), Jack Armstrong prefers to work alone, hates paperwork (or any work in general really) and adores his old Mercedes. All aspects of his character firmly nod to his idea that police work should be based on gut instinct and even his leather jacket and sexy swagger all hark back to police dramas gone by.

His new partner, D.I. Georgina Dixon (played by the talented Miranda Raison) is the epitome of a by the book, fresh-faced, educated copper. Her methods come from textbooks and courses with a bit of lateral thinking thrown in. Her knowledge of many subjects comes in very handy but her inexperience shows through, even causing her to be overtly delighted in the face of arresting a killer that she gets quite flustered. Jack and Georgina are the typical opposites that you get in most crime shows but both have neat twists to their personalities to keep you interested. At first I sighed inwardly, worried that it would be the long worn coupling of education versus gut instinct policing but it was great to see that Georgina soon became accustomed to her new partners quirks and he to hers, making her a little less uptight and him a tad more understanding – even chivalrous by the end of the episode.

Called upon to investigate the murder of Carl, a car salesman, found dead in the boot of a flashy car on the site where he worked, Jack and Georgina were straight on the case. Who was the killer to be then – The timid fiancé? The friendly faced father? The sexually aggressive car saleswoman? The jealous ex boyfriend of his fiancé? With a mixture of legwork and luck the pair got to work on the case with surprising results.

There were some great moments in this show and the injection of comedy into the perhaps over-populated world of crime drama is just enough to perk things up nicely making it feel fresh and funny. This episode wasn’t perhaps as amusing as the first series but with a new partner I suppose we may have to wait for the couple to settle into their roles in order for the natural comedy to come across. As in the previous series, Jack is the main catalyst of humour with this episode seeing him preyed upon by a predatory car saleswoman. His biggest concern was that if he did sleep with her, would he have to buy the car afterwards? This actually made me laugh out loud and his creeped-out expression when interviewing a suspect who had Botox was truly entertaining.

I like the characters and, despite my worries about the chemistry between Jack and his new partner not living up to that of him and D.I. Kate Bishop (Lucy Punch), I need not be concerned as the show looks like it is settling into a good groove. With crime drama being the most captivating on television at the moment, Vexed is a nice little palate cleanser from the grimy, harsh world of some other shows and a breath of fresh air in the genre.