Part two, 15-11 – The Killing Times


The next instalment…

Yesterday we began our countdown of what we think are the best crime dramas of the year. We had some British and Irish entries to kick things off, as well as a series from Iceland.

So what does today hold?

15. Candy
(Disney+ in the UK)

Adaptations of true crimes are now de rigueur around the world and incredibly popular. In this five-part series, Jessica Biel stars as Candy Montgomery, a suburban mum living in Wylie, Texas and it proved to be one of the best in this subgenre of the year. It’s sun-bleached 1980, and Candy is the centre of her community – at church, at choir, laughing, giggling, in a stable marriage with a couple of young children. Candy’s sunny life is juxtaposed expertly with neighbour Betty Gore, who struggles with motherhood and is in a loveless marriage with her distant husband. When Candy starts a calculated affair with Betty’s husband (spreadsheets, the lot), the seemingly perfect community begins to fall apart, culminating with Betty being bludgeoned to death in her own home. Yes, we get to see Candy’s fall from grace (Biel is simply terrific in the lead role), but this is also a pitch-perfect examination of spousal expectations, mores and entrapment in a community with its own very set ways.

READ MORE: OUR SERIES REVIEW OF CANDY

14. True Colours
(Acorn TV in the UK)

A fascinating and compelling trawl through the scorched Outback, this Australian series starred Aboriginal actress Rarriwuy Hick in the lead role and put indigenous Australian life at its front and centre. Hick plays detective Toni Alma, sent back to her home community to investigate the suspicious death of a young woman. This secondment isn’t as easy as it seems – Toni’s uncle is the local community officer, she’s still viewed with suspicion by many of her family and former friends, her ex is sent back with her to partner on the case AND her brother soon becomes a prime suspect in the case. As Toni tries to heal old wounds and finally find her own place in both worlds, we’re given a peek into the sacred traditions and culture – spiritual and structural – of the indigenous community True Colours portrays. It’s this dimension that gives it a leg-up over many of its contemporaries.

READ MORE: OUR REVIEW OF TRUE COLOURS

13 Deadwind (Karppi) (Series 3)
(Netflix in the UK)

For two series, Deadwind (or Karppi in its native Finnish), took on the Nordic Noir baton from the likes of The Bridge to fine effect. In its final third series, there’s time for one last case for Sofia Karppi (Pihla Viitala) and Sakari Nurmi (Lauri Tilkanen). This on-off pairing comes back together to investigate a string of ceremonial and brutal serial killer murders. As they look for clues and process suspects, we see Sofia’s stepdaughter Henna involved in a new subplot, and her son, Emil, in danger. With the investigation at a crucial point, Sofia even finds a link to her long-missing husband. So we not only get to see a case being solved, but also Sofia tying up some loose ends when it comes to her family life. You can’t say fairer than that.

READ MORE: ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF KARPPI

12. Y Golau
(S4C in the UK)

Another year, another hit from Wales. The brilliant Joanna Scanlan takes the lead role of Sharon – a middle-aged mum who is still coming to terms with the disappearance and supposed death of her 15-year-old daughter, Ela, 18 years before. The man doing time for this crime – and has indeed admitted to killing her – is Joe Pritchard, played by Iwan Rheon (a global star thanks to Game Of Thrones). Despite being found guilty of the crime, Joe has no memory of what happened and is about to be released from jail. Sent back to her home town to cover the story is go-getting journalist Cat Donato (the always excellent Alexandra Roach), and she acts as the stick that stirs – Sharon, Joe and Cat soon come to terms with the past as well as find ways to move forward in the future. This is especially true for Sharon, who struggles to know when to let Ela go. It’s a fabulously well-acted and keenly observed story, and heartbreaking in places.

READ MORE: ALL OUR REVIEW OF Y GOLAU

11. Slow Horses (Series 1 and 2)
(Apple+ TV in the UK)

A dazzling cast that includes Oscar-winning Gary Oldman, Olivia Cooke, Jonathan Pryce, Samuel West, Saskia Reeves and Kristin Scott Thomas come together to bring Mick Herron’s celebrated Slough House novels to life. Oldman is the perfect choice to play irascible, infuriating Jackson Lamb – the head of a group of misfit espionage operatives too incompetent to hold down a job in plush mainstream offices. Instead, they all work at Slough House, with Lamb mostly found drinking whiskey, chain-smoking and telling people to fuck off from his top-floor office. When one of his crew is brutally murdered while investigating a lead, Lamb reluctantly – and against his better judgement – delves into the case. Oldman is characteristically brilliant in the lead role, and there are funny lines in among all the skullduggery and intrigue.

READ MORE: OUR REVIEWS OF SLOW HORSES

READ MORE: THE KILLING TIMES TOP 20 CRIME DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2022: PART ONE, 20-16

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