If you don’t have a subscription to BritBox, you should get one, now. Their comedies are a hoot, but it is their lineup of crime shows that made me a big fan. The British are far more ingenious when it comes to murder mysteries.
River is a British six-part crime drama written and created by Abi Morgan. It stars Stellan Skarsgard, Nicola Walker, Adeel Akhtar, Lesley Manville, Georgina Rich, Turlough Convery, Sorcha Cusack, and Steve Nicolson. It premiered in 2015, but you can still catch it on BritBox. The series revolves around Detective Inspector John River (Stellan Skarsgard) who is suffering from the loss of his partner.
The series begins with River and his partner Stevie (Nicola Walker) discussing food and the search for a killer. It isn’t until the end of episode one that we realize that Rivers is able to see the dead, and the murder that he is trying to solve is Stevie’s. Everyone who works with River thinks he has lost his mind. His boss has ordered him to get a psychiatric evaluation with Dr. Fallows (Georgina Rich), which Rivers does begrudgingly. Rivers is assigned a new partner, DS Ira King (Adeel Akhtar) who isn’t quite sure if River is a raving lunatic because he is constantly catching River talking to himself.
River has to deal with Stevie’s brother Jimmy (Steve Nicolson), who we learn was put in jail because of Stevie’s testimony. It appears that Stevie’s entire family is involved in criminal activity. Did someone in the family commission the assassination of Stevie because she was an honest cop? After River pursues a potential suspect who accidently falls to his death, the suspect’s pregnant girlfriend convinces River that her boyfriend was innocent.
I don’t want to give away too much information about this series, but Ira learns that Stevie had a second phone and that she was meeting a witness on the night that she was murdered. River and Ira are also working on a missing person case, and a suspicious workplace accident.
Stellan Skarsgard is the glue that holds the series together. We feel his frustration and pain…and his loneliness. He was in love with Stevie. He won’t rest until he finds out who killed her and why. Although Stevie is in constant contact with River, she is holding back on the needed clues to find her killer. The reason why is a shocker and I admit that I did not see this coming.
The whole idea of a police officer communicating with the dead to solve cases isn’t as looney as it sounds. There are many police officers that have that heightened sense of instinct/ psychic abilities that enables them to solve crimes by getting into mind of the victim or the killer. Having a series where the lead character can speak to the dead was real to me. I am psychic/medium, and I took the Philadelphia Police Recruiting Test back in the late 70’s and passed with a high score. Due to family obligations (a small child that I was raising on my own) and a vision in which I saw myself getting ambushed and shot while serving as a police officer, I backed out of the job of a lifetime. But I am certain that I would have eventually worked my way up to homicide detective because of my ability to see and hear the dead.
If you don’t have BritBox, you can watch the series on Netflix, but if I were you, I would get BritBox. The British do a meticulous job of crime thrillers, and they have plenty featured on BritBox.