Series Review: “Collateral” (mild spoilers)

* D

Collateral is a Netflix/BBC four part miniseries crime drama about the police investigation of the London murder of an illegal immigrant pizza deliveryman. There is little good to say about this series. The quality of the production is reasonable. The acting, though bland, is serviceable. Probably the best thing about it is that it’s short, but even in 4 hours, there is a lot of filler. I won’t spoil the ending, though I found it unsatisfying.

The police detective on the case, a woman who is, for no apparent plot relevant reason, 6 months pregnant, which doesn’t stop her from staying up all night while working the case, is dogged, but very unlikable. Her big character development is that she was a pole vaulter famous for having had a brutal wipe out in a televised event, a fact that again has no plot relevance.

It turns out the victim is an Iraqi who was smuggled to Britain by an Englishman (white man bad!) along with his two sisters, one of whom is pregnant. He was shot with ammunition used by the English military. The series is not a mystery, as we learn what happened before the detective does.

There are two side plots that are a complete waste of time. The first revolves around a Jeremy Corbin clone Labour party minister whose ex wife, played by Billie “Rose” Piper, is the one who ordered the pizza. This entire plot line is otherwise irrelevant to the murder, and none of the characters in it are likeable.

The second side plot is about a female priest who’s in a lesbian relationship with a Vietnamese illegal immigrant who was unknowingly sponsored for a student visa she wasn’t eligible for by the Labour party minister and happened to witness the murder. The priest later has a non-consequential encounter with the manager of the pizzeria, who does play a part in the main plot.

This series is full of tropes: a female protagonist who can do it all (have a baby and be a super cop); a one-dimensional black guy as a side kick; and not one but two villains who are both white guys. These are forgivable if the story and the characters are good, but that was not the case here. The MI5 agents (the UK equivalent of the FBI) are interesting, but their entire operation is destroyed when the detective blunders into it like a bull in a china shop. How this series achieved a 6.7 rating on IMDB is beyond me.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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