Review: No Offence, season 2

Elaine Cassidy in No Offence

No Offence, season 2, carries on with the same group of hardworking Manchester police we met in season 1. Joanna Scanlan as DI Vivienne Deering runs the place with somewhat unorthodox panache. The overarching crimes of the season involve young children stolen from the child welfare system and put to work in illegal ways.

I loved how female the cast of No Offence was in season 1, with many of the lead characters played by women. In season 2, even more women join the cast as cops, gang leaders, and other characters.

Joanna Scanlan in No Offence
Experience wins, every time.

Joanna Scanlan leads the pack with the same enthusiasm as season 1. In the beginning of season 2, she has some fake grief to do regarding her husband’s death. But before long she and everyone else are chasing after this season’s top bad guys. Joanna Scanlan isn’t afraid to do anything physical for a laugh – like walk ankle deep through a mucky pig pen in her favorite heels.

There are many laughs in No Offence. Great quips from the cops and funny situations help lighten the seriousness of the action.

Rakie Ayola in No Offence
An unflappable gang boss.

Rakie Ayola plays gang leader Nora Attah. She is cool and calm no matter what. The first episode begins at the funeral of her son. A bomb goes off as her other son Manni (Zackary Momoh) goes to the front to speak about his brother. By the time the 7 episodes of season 2 play out, these two are in and out of police hands and implicated in assorted crimes including kidnapping, murder, and rape. Chasing them down with all the assorted subplots that swirl around them is the focus of this season.

Many of the subplots involve missing children. DC Spike Tanner (Will Mellor) gets particularly involved with a teenage tough named Kim (Zak Sutcliffe). We learn a lot of Spike’s backstory as he deals with this kid. Kim was lost in the foster system before coming under the influence of the Attah gang. Zak Sutcliffe gives a fantastic performance as the angry and hurt young teen with nothing to lose.

Elaine Cassidy in No Offence
DC Dinah Kowalska might not follow all the rules. Or any of the rules.

DC Dinah Kowalska (Elaine Cassidy) is an impulsive, emotional police officer who thinks the ends justify the means. Last season she took a pregnant teen into her home to live with her and her mother and daughter. That young woman, Cathy (Charlie May-Clark), lives with her older sister Donna (Claudia Adshead) this season. This presents a problem to Dinah and to Cathy, because Donna is mixed up with the Attahs.

Donna plays a crucial role in how the season resolves, just as Cathy did last season. Nice touch from the writers bringing what seems like a peripheral character to the forefront near the end in both seasons. Sisters, too.

You might also enjoy Elaine Cassidy in the Irish drama Acceptable Risk.

Alexandra Roach in No Offence
Every team needs a straight arrow. DS Joy Freers is it.

DS Joy Freers (Alexandra Roach) completes the female triumvirate at the head of this Manchester nick. She’s a puzzle. Often meek, but capable of brilliant insight and bravado when she needs it. Her intelligence is her greatest contribution to the crime solving. She enters into a romance with another officer in season 2. That doesn’t go well for her.

Sarah Solemani in No Offence
DCI Christine Lickberg is the boss. Maybe.

There’s a new administrator above Vivienne Deering this season: DCI Christine Lickberg (Sarah Solemani). She does her best to keep her officers under control but before the end of the season, Vivienne has convinced her that experience tops education. She learns to pay attention to what her officers are telling her and helps them with what they need.

There are several other important officers, chief among them is Miller (Paul Ritter), the forensics man. He figures everything out.

I also want to mention a couple of smaller players I particularly enjoyed. Ivana Basic played a doctor in an abortion clinic. She’s a favorite because of her role in Happy Valley. Another character who came in for only one episode but made a big impression was Amira Ghazalla as a traveling cutter. She did clitorectomies. PC Tegan Thompson (Saira Choudhry) went undercover as a woman seeking a circumcision to catch her in the act. It was a close call for Tegan – that scalpel got VERY close to its target before the other officers rushed in for the arrest.

No Offence can be coarse and foul mouthed. It’s definitely funny on occasion. Mostly it’s telling the story of a group of dedicated police officers who do their best every day to bring down the bad guys. The plotting is intricate and includes many characters and threads. The threads wind tighter and tighter together as the 7 episodes built to a climax and the end of the season.

Season 3 is already in the works. You can see seasons 1 and 2 on Acorn TV.

Paul Abbott created and wrote No Offence with a team of all men in the writing room. Women directors in season 2 included Catherine Morshead, Sarah O’Gorman, and Samira Radsi.

Have you seen season 2 of No Offence? What did you think of it? How do you like Vivienne Deering’s leadership style?

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