A Couple Forensic Mysteries

I recently saw a couple of procedurals, each with their own twist on the form. Both are really quite good.

Traces
The main, and impressive, aspect of this 6-parter is the naturalistic dialogue of the specialists and the police. Other characters are more in keeping with a dramatic mystery, but when the experts talk, it feels real rather than forced or contrived. Led by the young but rising Molly Windsor as a very damaged survivor, we follow three crimes that influence one another. With Laura Fraser (The Loch), Jennifer Spence (Bletchley Circle: San Francisco), Martin Compston (The Aftermath),  and Vincent Regan (Lockout) in some of the primary roles to keep it moving, the story manages a range of characters and complications. It also provides a nice forensics course and openings for a following season without feeling like they haven’t wrapped up what they needed to in the first. With the great Val McDermid providing the initial idea and guidance to show creator and writer Amelia Bullmore, the quality is built-in.

Traces Poster

Pembrokeshire Murders
I don’t usually like true-crime based mysteries. They far too often come off as crude re-enactments or thin recountings of fact. This three-parter, however, just comes across as any BBC well-told mystery. The structure is a bit rushed as its main audience already knows the outcomes, but it is all done in very dramatic (as in original fiction style) ways so that even those of us who don’t know about these murders stay riveted on the discoveries and results. Luke Evans (Blitz) is the center of the story, though he’s surrounded by a solid cast.

 

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