Harrowing? Quite the opposite

harrowI’m delighted to see the new season of Aussie crime drama ‘Harrow’ back on the Alibi channel on Tuesday nights (starting last night, for anyone who hadn’t spotted it).¬†For some reason the critics regularly slate this series, but I got hooked on season one and thought it was much better than they suggest.

On the surface it’s light-hearted crime-solving froth, with lots of personal relationships (ex-wives, daughters who get themselves into trouble, colleagues who date one another) and a standard format of one dead body per episode, plus an over-arching story arc. But it’s that arc that keeps things interesting, because it’s surprisingly dark. Dark enough to almost count as noir, and certainly dark enough to stop the whole series becoming whimsical.

On top of that there’s great chemistry between the various main characters including Harrow himself (a police pathologist played rather well by Ioan Gruffudd), his gay understudy, a gruff detective, and their female boss. Personally I could do with less of the gloopy stuff – Harrow’s on-off relationship with his ex-wife is getting tedious and his daughter is just a liability – and some of the mannerisms. You could start a drinking game with the number of times Harrow tilts his head to one side, for instance. And the plot throws in occasional clunkers, like last night’s Implausible Moment of the Week when the police burst in, armed and apparently without a warrant, at just the right time…

But overall this is a decent crime drama with reasonably inventive plots, some solid, likeable characters, an unusually dark undercurrent, and some wonderful one-liners. Look out for it on Alibi if you haven’t tried it yet.