- January 28, 2022
One of my pandemic addictions is British crime dramas. Initially, I found the limited series format of most of these dramas off putting. I generally like series that have multiple seasons that I can spend weeks binging but I gave one of these dramas a go because I found the premise captivating and now I am hooked. Paranoid is one of the series I dove head first into and could not stop thinking about for weeks afterward.
Based on a investigative team in the fictional town of Woodmere in the UK, Paranoid, on its surface, is a limited series about the murder of a local doctor that goes international when ties to a German pharmaceutical company. As the investigation proceeds, the team narrows their list of suspects to a young man with mental health issues.
As they tighten their focus on the young man, he is suddenly killed and the team has to go back to the drawing board. This happens time and again. The team identifies a suspect only to have the suspect found dead. All the while an unknown person is feeding the team information that is either leading them towards the real killer or leading them astray. The tension builds as the team meets dead end after dead end.
Written by Bill Gallagher, Paranoid is smart, well-paced and unexpected. It is not formulaic yet it is familiar in a comfortable way. The collection of personalities that make up the team is unique and relatable and they have been cast perfectly. Indira Varma, as Nina Suresh, and Dino Fetscher, as Alec Wayfield, in particular are stellar. I’ll not give away the villian in this story but both the acting and the story for this character are brilliant.
There is a different sensibility with British dramas. The cast look like people you might actually know, and they look like their age. There is less superficial polish and more deep character work. There are fewer hotshot detectives and more team work. All in, British crime dramas are just smarter and more enjoyable.
Don’t take my word for it, tune into Netflix now to watch Paranoid. Don’t think of it as a limited series, think of it as an epic crime thriller movie with regular snack breaks!
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