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Leeds police constable Jo Gillespie is devastated when her husband, undercover officer Ryan, is killed in suspicious circumstances. As she battles to stay strong for the benefit of daughter Melly and stepson Hal, Jo is urged by her bosses, DCI Will Hepburn and Chief Constable Carolyn Jarecki, to leave it to her fellow officers to find the killer. But when the murder inquiry starts to uncover some dangerous secrets about Ryan, Jo's faith in the police family of which she has been a part for so long is severely tested. No longer sure who to trust, Jo embarks on her own investigation with the help of friend and colleague Jack Clark, but as they close in on the identity of Ryan's killer, Jo's hunt for the truth will put her own life in danger.
This three part ITV drama fed off the recent major news story here about an undercover cop infiltrating a criminal gang over a period of years to the extent of getting involved romantically and having children with one of the associated females.
This series took it many steps further, having the undercover cop killed and then focusing on the dead man's widow, played by Sheridan Smith, a fellow police officer who decides to investigate her husband's unexplained death which occurred just before the police bust the gang he's been painstakingly planted to uncover. The plot has many layers, with almost everyone against her, including the murdered officer's sullen ex-wife and rebellious teenage son, the black woman with whom he's lately gotten involved and fathered a daughter, her husband's loyal (to him) mother, not to mention a plethora of so-called colleagues, some better-intentioned than others, especially as things develop.
Smith's affair with Matthew McNulty and its exposure courtesy of someone bugging Smith's home and car, the young gang member being framed for the murder, whose teenage girlfriend has mysteriously disappeared and the senior D.I. who attends the funeral only to vaguely threaten Smith and her children are all there in the mix, although I personally felt that every fifteen minutes or so a new suspect came into view only to be dismissed until practically the only one left turned out to be the insider who did the deed.
Putting aside my disbelief about Smith's one-woman crusade for the truth and the clichéd characterisation of the good and bad cops on view, I still enjoyed the unfolding of the storyline. The acting was okay not helped by a certain over-familiarity with several of the leading actors, Smith, McNulty and Dougie Henshall in particular. That said, the mystery of the murder was tidily wrapped up in the end and the show fulfilled its brief as a satisfactory TV cop drama, without being good enough to make me think much about the wider issues arising from police undercover operations in general.
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