The coppers in the new crime drama Paranoid (ITV, Thursdays, 9pm) are a bit of a rum lot.
They have so many neuroses, it’s a wonder they get any detecting done when a GP and mum-of-one- gets brutally stabbed in a playground full of kids.
Detectives Nina Suresh (Indira Varma), Bobby Day (Robert Glenister) and Alec Wayfield (Dino Fetscher) put aside their break-up problems, anxiety attacks and mother issues to one side in an attempt to find the killer, but this is one of those cop shows where everything – from a carefully arranged typewriter to a shifty psychiatrist – is imbued with such significance that you quickly get lost.
There are cliches abound here, from the stalker’s-eye-view through the bushes as the cops go a-questioning, to the anonymous messages recieved through the post from a mysterious helper.
There’s also the obligatory go alone to a dark house in the middle of the night sequence, which ends with the completely non-shocking discovery of a body in a swimming pool.
The only new thing about this, is that the swimming pool was in Dusseldorf, far away from the murder scene in rural Cheshire – I will never view the playground at Tatton Park in the same way again, by the way.
And so things are set up for the next seven – yes, seven – episodes.
The only thing is that the coppers are awful. Varma’s Suresh particularly comes over as a whiny, spoilt child, while there seems to be no explanation for Day’s anxiety other than ‘modern life’: “Why are people so quick to hate? Life’s got claws, it didn’t used to have claws.”
Meanwhile, as eyewitness Lucy Cannonbury, Lesley Sharp revives the slow talking and even slower blinking technique she used in the – actually really good – ITV psychodrama Afterlife, and Michael Maloney does his slightly suspicious, professional-man-gone-to-seed turn we saw recently in the BBC’s River.
It’s ITV’s latest bid to find another hit to rival Broadchurch, but given even the second series of that little gem couldn’t match the first, Paranoid has a fight on its hands.
A fight it seems to be losing.