George Gently

Wooo woooo! I just found George Gently‘s coming (came?) back for 2011. I also found out that there was a 2010 season! Too bad Netflix doesn’t have it yet 🙁

Here’s the first Netflix review I (remember having) ever wrote. I was that impressed by the show. Hope I can share that enthusiasm. For some reason Netflix removed all the apostrophes in the review.

George Gently’s an older DI at the Yard who thought he was ready to retire after his wife was murdered because of his crusade against corruption in the force, but a fresh lead on the trail of the man he suspects is behind the murder of his wife brings him back into the game, this time in Northumberland. He’s assisted in his investigation by John Bacchus, a young, ambitious, and brash inspector who, from past bitter experience, Gently sees exhibits all the earmarks of becoming corrupt. So, after the case is resolved, Gently decides to stay on in Northumberland and take the youngster in hand. Thus the first episode sets the stage … after that, each episode deals with a new case.

Yes, the cases are interesting, and the setting is verisimilar, but the appeal of the series for me lies first and foremost in the relationship between Gently and Bacchus. Bacchus is, from the beginning, an unsympathetic character: for no readily apparent reason, he’s unsatisfied with his marriage, and perhaps unconsciously sabotaging it; he’s willing to do whatever it takes — beatings, planting evidence, accepting bribes — to close a case; and his general opinions on race and gender issues reflect those of the times in an unflattering manner. Yet, you can’t help but get the feeling that there’s something salvageable under those youthful excesses. Gently does an excellent job of mentoring Bacchus in a show-and-not-tell manner, but it’s unclear if Bacchus is taking in the messages Gently’s trying to get across or if he’s simply humoring him.

The two episodes of season three are the best of the series. In the first, Bacchus and Gently come to loggerheads over a case involving a child, and in the second, we see concrete hints that Bacchus is becoming a better man. I’d love to see more in this series, but this was a great stopping point. Always leave them wanting more, right?