Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Preceded by an edition of the celebrity version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? featuring Zoe Lucker (Footballer Wives) - for The Caron Keating Foundation - and John Suchet for a charity called for Dementia (1), The Fixer returned yesterday evening on ITV1 for its awaited series 2.

The opener of an intense two-parter was the most-watched programme during the hour, interesting 3.83m viewers ( The Fixer beats a rerun of real-life documentary series Traffic Cops on BBC One ( Last year the premiere of the show produced by Kudos (Spooks, Hustle) for ITV, and distributed by BBC Worldwide, made an impressive 6.2m.

Ex-special forces John Mercer, played by Andrew Buchan (Party Animals, Cranford, and soon Garrow's Law), is an assassin for the government. His job: to kill criminals the law cannot apprehend. He receives his orders for the mysterious, cynical and almost thuggish Lenny Douglas (the great Scottish actor Peter Mullan) and teams reluctantly with disgraced ex-copper Rose Chamberlin (Tamzin Outhwaite) and former petty thief Calum McKenzie (Jody Latham, far better actor than Hell's Kitchen candidate) - who shares a flat with him in a housing estate (Aylesbury Estate, in the South East of London).

This unlikely partnership (imagine the employees of Wernham Hogg in The Office played straight) comes back for six new episodes of the best Brit show of the moment, a dark, hyper-realistic spy/crime drama with a social sub-text - Ken Loach meets the obscure side of The Equalizer, the series with Edward Woodward. Actually The Fixer, created by Ben Richards, is reminiscent of another "Woodwardian" classic: Callan (1967-1972) (2), the uncompromising spy show. And Calum is an obvious tribute to the character of Lonely, played by Russell Hunter.

« You're police or what? » asks a young lady in distress. « Not the kind you've ever met », answers Mercer, who targets a ruthless street gang trafficking drugs but also children. And this time it's more than personal, as the situation reminds him of his own tragedy when he "sanctioned" his uncle and his aunt for because the former abused of John's sister Jess (Liz White, revealed by Life on Mars) without any intervention of the latter. « Kids should just be happy, shouldn't they? They should be safe and they should be secure ».

Rose is the Femme fatale turned mother figure of a dysfunctional family where Lenny provides the snark, Callum the comic relief and John the action, in the shadow of their respective personal tragedies. Phil Davis and Rob Jarvis guest starred in this episode written by Ben Richards and directed by Sam Miller.

« Calum, not only are you not the organ grinder, you're not even the monkey, not even the bell the monkey jingles. You're just a flea under its collar. So do not tell me what I can and cannot do, OK? » (Lenny)

Interview of Andrew Buchan:

See also:

(1) - Please read

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