Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Annika, season 1, a police show with charm

Nicola Walker in Annika

Annika stars Nicola Walker as a marine homicide cop in a role she originated as part of a radio series. It was remade for TV, set in Scotland, and has been renewed for a second season.

Annika stars Nicola Walker, which means it was high on my wish list of things to see. It hasn’t been easy for someone in the U.S. to watch. Airing first in the UK, then on to smaller streamers, then to PBS only for subscribers. But, hurrah, it recently played on PBS as part of their Masterpiece series, free to all. If you go to pbs.org, you should be able to see it.

Nicola Walker and Silvie Furneaux in Annika
Annika with her daughter Morgan at their new home on the River Clyde.

As a protagonist, DI Annika Strandhed (Nicola Walker) is definitely on the unusual side. She’s of Norwegian heritage – a single mother with a 15 year old daughter, Morgan (Silvie Furneaux). She breaks the fourth wall constantly, mostly to discuss her literary connections between the current murder investigation and a Norse myth, or a play by Ibsen, or something Shakespeare wrote. Her relationships and her worries over her daughter also get shared in these chatty exchanges from Annika.

The police work is the usual kind of thing, but Nicola Walker is so charming and so oddly literary in her discussions with the eye of the camera that the overall effect is downright enchanting.

Jamie Sives, Nicola Walker, Katie Leung, and Ukweli Roach in Annika
The Marine Homicide Unit in full force

The series begins by introducing Annika as the newly appointed head of the Marine Homicide Unit. She meets her team. DS Michael McAndrews (Jamie Sives) applied for the leadership job and thought he deserved it more than she did. These two knew each other from their days training to be police officers and have some past history.

DC Blair Ferguson (Katie Leung) is the young tech guru on the team. Brand new officer DS Tyrone Clarke (Ukweli Roach) is out to prove himself.

There’s a new murder on or in the water in every episode. This team goes to work by boat. Water figures in everything they do. There’s always danger facing them from water or explosions or guns or kidnappings.

Annika has a short lived romance with her daughter Morgan’s therapist. Morgan is out of therapy when Annika starts to catch on to the fact that Morgan is involved with Blair Ferguson’s younger sister. She acts approving of Morgan’s choice of a female interest, but she’s not great at silent acceptance. I expect this to be explored more in season 2. There’s a huge twist of a cliffhanger in the last seconds of the season that may be explored in season 2 as well.

The series was created by Nick Walker from his radio series. Directors were Philip John and Fiona Walton. Kudos to everyone who managed to create this series in the midst of a pandemic, in the winter, in Scotland, on the water. Quite an achievement.

The series was worth the wait. Nicola Walker is definitely one of the best things ever put in front of a camera and I cannot wait to see more of this in season 2.

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2 responses to “Annika, season 1, a police show with charm”

  1. it was great to see Ms. Walker in a role in which she seems relatively happy – in River, Collateral, Last Tango in Halifax, The Split, Unforgotten, all fantastic series, her characters seem generally unhappy or sad. and i love the breaking the 4th wall she does. this was a fantastic series (caught it when it was first released in the states). i’d have come back for the second series even without the cliffhanger (which caught me COMPLETELY by surprise).

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