Criminal Record 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
When we first meet Peter Capaldi as DCI Daniel Hegarty in the Apple TV+ eight-parter Criminal Record, two thoughts may swivel through the average TV-watching skull. 1) How has this man, with that frightening face, never played a police officer before? And 2) given said gloomy gaze, how did Capaldi ever clinch the family-friendly Doctor Who gig?
Just as we’re trying to parse what each minute rearrangement of Capaldi’s features could portend, we meet DS June Lenker, played by Cush Jumbo, who’s just as ruthlessly dogged about her policework but, unlike DCI Hegarty, is fighting an uphill battle against race, gender and age discrimination to do it.
When an anonymous 911 call from a domestic-violence victim alleges the police locked up the wrong man for murder a decade ago, DS Lenker drags the case in from the cold and becomes hellbent on finding the truth. But doing so puts her in the direct firing line of the well-connected DCI Hegarty, who put the man in question away and sees his Met legacy tilting in the balance.
DS Lenker faces a barrage of microagressions as well as mounting departmental pressures. She’s put front and centre in a press conference to convey the Met’s “technicolour diversity” and is only put on the domestic violence phone call in the first place because a superior says the case needs “a woman’s touch”.
By the time various personal complaints emerge against Lenker at work, it’s all starting to feel like a Met-wide conspiracy backed by DCI Hegarty and his slippery group of old-guard chums.
A lot is made about the Herculean transformation actors can make for roles – with the full gamut of prosthetics, de-aging software and accent work of varying successes at their fingertips to help the process along – but here Capaldi has reshaped himself with the most basic of actorly means: that face.
DCI Hegarty takes the predatory menace of Capaldi’s career-defining turn as The Thick of It spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, but strips it of the whip-smart one-liners and the frothing fury. It leaves only a reserved and frightening presence we are constantly left trying to decipher.
“We are marching to the same drum, right?” Hegarty at one point asks DS Lenker during their game of cat and mouse. Yet it becomes insidiously apparent that is not so, that they are operating in vastly different police forces only masquerading as one entity.
Cush Jumbo is a powerhouse here, with a performance complex enough to be career-making. While Capaldi’s Hegarty is largely making shady phone calls or conducting understated interrogations in badly-lit police rooms, Jumbo’s Lenker is constantly running towards whatever everyone else is sprinting away from. She leaps into a box lift to be beaten to within an inch of her life by a perp, then later dives into a burning building in search of him.
Dreadful thing after dreadful thing befalls Lenker and she brushes much of it off with an exasperated half-smiling sigh. But when we’re alone with her in brief, raw moments, she doesn’t let the gravity of it all evade her.
Both performances are layered with enough ambiguity and doubt to keep you flip-flopping on how the cold-case mystery could unravel. But that question is quickly ceded to the sheer electricity of Jumbo and Capaldi as adversaries, whose every exchange comprises a verbal dance of thinly veiled hostility and barbed oneupmanship. Their scenes sizzle.
If Criminal Record is a three-hander, then London is the third performer and puts in a tour de force shift to meet Jumbo and Capaldi’s efforts. Each scene is believably embedded in the British capital, which is beautifully shot even as it captures humdrum moments that quickly turn to horror.
Telling a story of the Met’s contradictions and the difficult job its officers are doing in a deeply flawed system, this is the perfect show to convey the force as we now know it.
As an official report last year found, it is a place of institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia, with public confidence at a devastating low. The landmark report found a bullying culture, dispirited officers and “baked in” discrimination, all of which is evident in Criminal Record’s eight episodes.
Yet the show still does not lose sight of the immensely challenging job these officers face, even more so given that the miscreants can lurk among their own ranks. Capaldi’s DCI Hegarty embodies all these contradictions himself: he clearly isn’t the hero of the piece as he might have been in police procedurals of yore, but he isn’t plainly the villain either.