We Recommend: Inside Men
New from BBC One tonight, it’s Inside Men, a four-part mini-series about guys who work in a counting house with lots of beige and no blackbirds, and end up struggling to resist the temptation in front of them. Another bunch of lads wandering into crime? Is this the Beeb’s long-awaited answer to Sky’s Mad Dogs?
Well, with the exception of the exotic locations, A-list cast and quirky homicidal dwarves, it’s a bit like Mad Dogs. But very much a BBC spin on the concept, heavy on kitchen sink grit, and shots that empathise the grim reality of the characters' lives, such as a sequence early in the episode in which Chris sorts his recycling. (It's better than it sounds.)
And, more fundamentally, it’s very much a recession era crime drama. The claustrophobia is all over the screen, our heroes are bogged down in their lives, whipped out of control and finally end up making bad decisions. It’s a very slow set-up, and it doesn’t try and distract you with witty banter, but if you stick with it, you’ll want the next episode badly by the end.
The three lead guys are strong, each of their domestic situations distinct enough to stop the introductions being too samey, and Steven Mackintosh is particularly good as John, imbuing his character with a lot of pent up frustration. Spooks fans might also be happy to hear that Nicola Walker (aka Ruth) is involved, though she doesn’t have a huge amount to do in the opening week.
Anyway. This was the first quarter of the story, and there’s still room for it all to go wrong in the last three, but this looks like a gripping way to spend a few hours.
Inside Men is on BBC One tonight at 9PM, and then can be found here on iPlayer. More info on the BBC official site.