Monday, 5 July 2010


[22.07 - French Time] ITV1's Identity is another British answer to the tiresome overdose of US network police procedurals after the terrible Luther on BBC One two months ago. And this is Keeley Hawes's first post-Ashes to Ashes drama series.

Identity, a six-part detective drama, is about a London elite police unit formed to combat the explosion of identity-related crimes. The Identity Unit's founder and boss is DSI Martha Lawson (Hawes). Lawson is forced to hire DI John Bloom (Aidan Gillen), an irreverent and secretive former undercover cop.

In the premiere they investigate the case of an ex-Iraq serviceman framed from an hit and run he didn't commit and apparently the man is victim of a methodical identity fraud. Like Luther's lead, Identity's male star was in The Wire - the Everest of originality according to some elitist TV buffs. Like Idris Elba, Aidan Gillen is a maverick cop with a shadowy side but at least DI Bloom can behave and doesn't break things.

This series created by Ed Whitmore (Waking the Dead) is an attempt to follow the wake of CBS's crime franchises CSI or Criminal Minds but with the visual feel of Kudos's Spooks. Of course the fact that Keeley Hawes was herself a "Spook" before meeting Gene Hunt in purgatory and the double life of John Bloom strengthen the impression that DSI Lawson will have a meeting in Freemasons'Hall. So you can't confuse Hawes's character with Alex Drake.

Credit must be given to producer Lachlan MacKinnon, Australian director Brendan Maher and Swedish director of photography Jan Jonaeus for filming in London, with all the constraints that this choice can imply - particularly in these days of budget cuts. But the premiere is another average cop drama and the characters, with the exception of Bloom at the end, are nothing more than their jobs. Better than Luther, though.

Identity is an ITV Studios production for ITV1.

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