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With 'Bang,' Acorn Presents a Strong Cop Drama – in English and Welsh
October 15, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 3 comments
 

In its relentless search for foreign TV series that most Americans probably haven’t seen, Acorn has come up with another winner in the Welsh cop show Bang.

The first eight-episode season becomes available Monday on the streaming service.

Bang, which got a load of U.K. awards nominations, is a 2017 series that’s half in English and half in Welsh with English subtitles. While the actors speak English perfectly well, there are moments when their accents make the subtitled parts of the show easier to follow.

That’s at most an occasional minor distraction. The show itself is a well-paced, engaging story with an inventive premise involving, what else, flawed cops.

The central figure, Sam Jenkins (Jacob Ifan), isn’t a cop. He’s a withdrawn and rather meek young fellow whose father was gunned down in front of his eyes when he was 7 or 8 years old.

The killer was never found and Sam clearly never recovered. He works a low-end job, commuting to work on a bicycle. Otherwise, he loses himself in the care of his seriously ill grandmother, who has all the feistiness Sam lacks.

Sam’s sister Gina (Catrin Stewart) is a local constable with a burning ambition to become a detective. So when a businessman in the small town of Port Talbot is murdered, Gina goes the extra mile to get herself involved in the investigation.

She already has a bit of a departmental in, because she’s secretly sleeping with Carl Roberts (Gareth Jewell), the department’s lead detective. As we all know, and Gina on some level probably knows, that sort of relationship comes with an enormous potential downside.

Gina also isn’t a favorite of Police Chief Layla Davies (Suzanne Packer), and she doesn’t always get a lot of support from her long-time cop partner Luke Lloyd (Jack Parry-Jones).

We like Gina. We also understand why some see her as pushy.

What’s most interesting as we join the story, in any case, is that a series of seemingly small events pushes Sam into a position where he becomes a person of interest in several crimes.

This eventually puts Gina and Sam, who have always been close and have the further bond of their father’s death, on opposite sides of several serious investigations.

Other characters, good and bad, also gradually become involved, setting up a situation where it’s inevitable that Gina and Sam will face some sort of showdown.

Gina makes a few bad decisions. Sam makes more. And no, it would not be surprising if their current dramas eventually tie back to their father’s murder.

Visually, Bang has a noticeable resemblance to other small-town coastal series like Broadchurch. Among the actors, Stewart stands out, showing Gina’s frustrations alongside her blind spots. She’s still a woman in a man’s world, and she’s also a cop who at some point may have to balance family against the interests of the community she’s sworn to protect.

Bang’s strong suits also include not tipping its hand on where all this could end up. Presumably not happily for everyone.

 
 
 
 
 
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3 Comments
 
 
Scott
Maybe more like Wallendar, the UK version. Haven’t seen the Swedish version but I love the Nordic TV series I see on NF. Nordic noir I hear it called. My impression of Wales from seeing these series is cold and damp.
Oct 16, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Scott
Maybe more like Wallendar, the UK version. Haven’t seen the Swedish version but I love the Nordic TV series I see on NF. Nordic noir I hear it called. My impression of Wales from seeing these series is cold and damp.
Oct 16, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Scott
Maybe more like Wallendar, the UK version. Haven’t seen the Swedish version but I love the Nordic TV series I see on NF. Nordic noir I hear it called. My impression of Wales from seeing these series is cold and damp.
Oct 16, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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