Friday, 24 February 2012


The 3 X 60-minute second series of Kidnap and Ransom started yesterday night. Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) stars as international hostage negociator Dominic King in this ITV1 drama thriller from his prodco Projector Pictures and created by Patrick Harbinson (24, Law and Order, ER).

Written by Harbinson and directed by Andy Wilson, the first three-part series (aired in January 2011) was a very effective, well-researched and riveting TV equivalent of a good Frederick Forsyth novel. Eve played brilliantly a top professional facing doubts in his job and his personal life, and confronting the most dangerous adversary, the intelligent and invisible Alexander Willard (John Hannah at his best).

« Thank you for doing this.
- Don't thank me, thank the insurance company. »

Series two opens with Dominic King on a lake dumping what could be a body. Flashback two weeks earlier, King is in Srinagar (in Indian Kashmir) for the release of a British Asian family. But police arrives during the handover, the kidnappers board a tourist bus and take the passengers hostage. Dominic tries to negociate their freedom while his business partner Angela Beddoes (Helen Baxendale) must defend his position against the Foreign Secretary (Owen Teale) and Dominic's ex-wife and senior FO civil servant Sophie (Natasha Little). The identity of one of the Brit passengers could cause extra problems and the local officer in charge is rapidly joined by the special forces of the National Security Guard.

The biggest mystery of this premiere is why the drama is sponsored by Aviva and not by a mobile phone company. Trevor Eve seems like he's delivering a considerable amount of his lines to a cell phone in this fast-paced new installment written by Michael Crompton (Silent Witness). Very regrettably, Kidnap and Ransom wins in action what it loses in complexity and originality. The South African location doubles amazingly as Kashmir although with a side effect: Kidnap tends to resemble Strike Back: Project Dawn, also filmed there, minus the antics of Scott and Stonebridge. South African actor David Dennis, who plays Hiresh Mehta, was also in Strike Back.

For now this new series of Kidnap and Ransom looks like a rehash of previous on-screen hostage situations with their clichés, and Dom King as the Steve McGarrett of expert negociators (« I know you wanna go and shoot them because it's how you do things in Kashmir. ») Let's hope for the sake of our interest that the "body bag" contains his ex-wife, his associate, or - better - the Foreign Secretary. The cinematography by Mike Spragg and the score by Philip Miller (with a theme by Christian Henson) are superb.

Series 2 of Kidnap and Ransom is directed by David Drury (Ashes to Ashes) and produced by Trevor Hopkins (Strike Back: Project Dawn). Trevor Eve and Rachel Gesua are executive producers.

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