Much like any Mercurio-connected project, this six-part drama by debut TV writer Daniel Brierly is the latest weekly event for the British telly-watching public. And it’s an absolute firecracker.
Vicky McClure and Adrian Lester as Wash and Joel. Photo: ITV
McClure takes the lead here, playing the bomb-disposal Explosives Officer (or 'Expo') Lana ‘Wash’ Washington. She coolly arrives at the potential bomb site in the middle of a summer heatwave, with stylish sunglasses and that televisual look of knowing what’s what. She’s mates with her Expo partner Joel (Adrian Lester), with whom she served a tour in Afghanistan.
They park up at a London housing estate, where a bomb has been reported in one of the flats. Wash and Joel get suited – not as heavily protected as Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, but still wearing helmets bigger than their heads. They’re joyful and cordial before going in: it’s just another day at the office.
The most surprising aspect of Trigger Point is its gripping quietness. It ripples with a kind of augmented realism as the proper procedures are taken: creating an exclusion zone for residents, setting up the officials involved, waiting in vans. And because the bombmakers are only visible through their handiwork, there’s a spectral emptiness in the places where Wash and Joel search. It’s an extremely precise process – one foot wrong, and that foot will be blown up along with the rest of you.
Caution is key and, as the title suggests, anything can be a trigger. Despite the slowness running against the time-sensitive nature of the job, it adds to the Hitchcockian suspense; extending to stimulating cliffhangers before every ad break.
Dramas like these occasionally emphasise the plot so much that characters become afterthoughts. But owing to Brierly’s deliberate deceleration, episode one leaves a decent amount of room for the characters to breathe, joke around, and mention problems at home. Despite the threats posed in this episode, some scenes play like a funny buddy comedy – a very underrated quality in this type of series.
But it’s those riskier moments where Trigger Point and its characters come alive. In an interview with McClure, she describes being given the freedom to improvise certain lines of dialogue – it’s clear which ones, and they immeasurably rocket the rumbling fear and tension in those scenes. McClure is hardly new to these thrilling scenarios, delivering a naturalistic and nerve-shredding performance that rivals her Line of Duty protagonist.
Episode one is a remarkable, surprising, and explosive introduction to the Expo team, and the rest of the series promises to be even better.
Trigger Point airs on Sunday 23 January at 9pm on ITV.
|What||Trigger Point, ITV, episode 1 review|
23 Jan 22 – 23 Jan 23, ON ITV
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