Review: Paranoid

Paranoid is an 8 part mini-series from Britain’s iTV, Netflix and RED Production Company. It’s a mystery and a thriller wrapped in a big story about pharmaceuticals. It’s currently available on Netflix U.S.

Robert Glenister, Lesley Sharp, Neil Stuke, Indira Varma, and Dino Fetscher in Paranoid
Robert Glenister, Lesley Sharp, Dino Fetscher, Indira Varma, and Neil Stuke in Paranoid

With a great cast of cops and bad guys, a plot full of twists, revelations and dangers, and stunning cinematography, this series will keep you interested to the very end.

Indira Varma plays Nina Suresh, the detective who is mainly in charge of things. She was great at her job, but drove me crazy as one of those adolescent grown women who have a messed up love life. She did a great job in the role, but I’m so tired of capable, competent women who act like 16 year-old girls where men are concerned. Really, that trope has to go.

Dino Fetscher in Paranoid

Dino Fetscher plays Alec, Nina’s partner. Like everyone involved in this case, there are complications because Alec’s mother Monica (Polly Walker) is involved with a psychiatrist named Crowley (Michael Maloney) who is deeply implicated in the case.

Robert Glenister in Paranoid

Robert Glenister plays the cop Bobby Day. Bobby does a lot of the foot work to solve the case. He goes to Germany, he takes the prescriptions drugs that are part of the case, and he falls for a woman who has a lot of answers.

Lesley Sharp in Paranoid

Lesley Sharp plays Lucy, the woman Bobby gets involved with. She isn’t a cop. She gardens, runs a small shop, goes to Quaker meetings. She’s gentle and kind. She knows a lot of things that help the police. The camera loves her – the way she’s lit, the way she’s framed – kindness radiates off her. You just want to crawl through the screen and be held on her lap to make all your worries go away. And the way she smiles at Bobby, you’d think she’d found the most wonderful man in England.

The lighting and the framing were spectacular for everyone in Paranoid. It is a joy to simply look at the people and the settings. It wasn’t dark and gritty like a lot of suspense mysteries.

Christiane Paul and Dominik Tiefenthaler in Paranoid
Christiane Paul and Dominik Tiefenthaler play German cops.

The case involves “hands across the water” with the German police. Linda (Christiane Paul) and Walti (Dominik Tiefenthaler) are the two German police officers who work with the English police to try to figure out how the plot plays out in Germany.

The series begins when a rural English doctor is killed on a playground by a man in a hoodie. Lucy sees it happen. The crime at first is pinned on a mentally ill man. When the man apparently jumps to his death, his brother Henry (William Ash) begins his own investigation into drugs and psychiatrists.

A ghost detective played by – big spoiler – Kevin Doyle sends the police notes that lead them to believe that the mentally ill man wasn’t the killer after all, but a victim. From there the story expands to include drug trials, murders, deaths, corporate greed and a cover up.

This big sprawling story needs a big cast. A few other players I haven’t mentioned yet include Danny Huston, Anjli Mohindra, Nikol Kollars and numerous others.

Paranoid was created by Bill Gallagher and used all male directors.  I do want to mention the wonderful cinematographers: Dirk Nel and Sean Van Hales.

In many ways this series reminded me of No Second Chance. It was told in a straightforward way, with new clues and new information adding layers to the mystery as the episodes moved along. It was nothing like the densely confusing Marcella, another recent English mystery.

If you love a good mystery, give Paranoid a try.

Watch the trailer for Paranoid

6 thoughts on “Review: Paranoid”

  1. Thank you for the recommendation. I am going to watch it now. I love RED and also Lesley Sharpe. (I hate RED for the “killing of Kate” in Last Tango in Halifax, which I blame them for. But I also love RED for its interesting programming. They are on probation, LOL. I do think Nicola Schindler is insensitive to the fans of Last Tango in Halifax, even though I generally admire her.)

  2. Not sure about the negative mention of Marcella which I enjoyed. A friend recommended Marcella River and Paranoid and I am now half-way through River. The first two are very good.

  3. Was this written by scientologists? They compare illicit drugs to psychotropics and imply all psychiatric illness can be cured without medication.

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