If you’re wondering what Touching Evil and Life on Mars (my other DVD review) have in common, it’s that they’re both British police dramas. You see, that’s what Acorn Media specializes in: British crime shows. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, I rather love it. But if it’s tone you’re looking at, Touching Evil is the polar opposite of Life on Mars. The latter is a rather lighthearted series that focuses on the protagonist, while Touching Evil is actually a fairly gritty, and much darker look at the criminals. It’s a British version of Criminal Minds, in a sense.
The plot is some of the tightest stuff I’ve seen. It’s exponentially more gripping than the procedural dramas it was a precursor to, though possibly this extended development is a result of the longer episodes (each episode runs close to 100 minutes). However, the episodes still never run slack, and are filled with such tension that I found myself anxiously tapping my foot even through the more mellow parts of the episode. It’s absolutely great. Even after one episode, you know it’s a winner.
Robson Green portrays the protagonist DCI Creegan, who is subtly fascinating. He’s solid when it comes to solving the cases, but he’s a maverick who goes against authority when it fails to support his righteousness. You root for him in his irrationality, and when he pays off it makes it all the much better. Nicola Walker, as his partner DI Taylor, is less fascinating, and doesn’t really serve much of a purpose at all.
The show, for having been made in the mid-90s, doesn’t show age at all, really. Sure, some of the technology might seem a bit outdated (and when the occasional mullet pops up, there’s always a groan), but for the most part, it could have been aired last year and I would have thought it was a brand-new show. It’s a must-watch for any detective/crime fan — something I didn’t even know I was until I saw this series.
As for the DVD box set itself, it’s really just the three season sets packaged together with a slipcase. There’s nothing particularly exceptional about the packaging itself; like my copy of Life on Mars, it was flimsy enough to have been dented up in the mail, but that’s easily forgivable once you consider the wealth of content in the case. It’s 800 minutes of television, and it’s all good.
The series, which was released on DVD July 6, can be purchased on Amazon for $55.49. Order it here. I was surprised how much I liked this series, and I’m sure you will too.