Paradox is BBC One’s latest cop drama with a twist, starring Tamzin Outhwaite (Hotel Babylon, Eastenders), Tuesday nights at 9.00. DI Rebecca Flint (Outhwaite) is teamed up with Dr. Christian King (played by Emun Elliott), a space scientist. He mysteriously receives a set of images at his laboratory that appear to have been sent from the near future. The images seem to depict some impending disaster. After that a race then ensues as Flint and her team try to piece the seemingly random images together. They must prevent it from happening.
A five part series, Paradox plays a twist on the usual cop drama series. It borrows elements from other science fiction titles like Minority Report, and Crime Traveller. In addition it adds a countdown clock to give a bit of a 24 feel to proceedings. Set in and around Manchester, the detective team is bolstered by DS Ben Holt (Mark Bonnar) who is the resident sceptic, and DC Callum Gada (Chiké Okonkwo). The opening episode gives hints that Flint and Holt have had some form of personal releationship. It also sets up some sexual tension between her and Dr. King. He is portrayed as aloof, arrogant, and with a heavy air of mystery, as if he’s always hiding something from the detectives.
Episode One was slightly hampered with some clunky dialogue as it tried to set up and introduce all the major cast. However I found it really enjoyable overall. Once the plot really got under way, sufficient tension was introduced to keep you hooked. Each story is built around a set of about eight images, that are mysteriously downloaded by computers at King‘s laboratory. This is at a time that coincides with major solar flare activity, that his institution are investigating.
The images all seem quite random at first and will remind older viewers of Ask The Family in their strange framing. After that each one is deciphered and cleverly dropped in to events as the drama plays out. Slowly, the team realise that there is going to be a major train disaster, and desperately try and prevent it. Surprisingly, they fail, and are left standing watching as a huge explosion rips the train apart killing 74 people. This leaves them pondering if they can change events at all. Additionally they ask themselves just why the images had been sent in the first place.
Causing A Paradox
Last night’s second episode however, saw them succeed in saving a young boy’s life, and also one of the detectives. His dead future image had initially been hidden from Flint‘s team by King and his shady bosses. So as to avoid influencing the team’s investigative methods, or so it initially seemed. Dr. King still seems full of mystery, and continues to hint that he knows more than he’s letting on. This is something I’m sure is going to unfold further as the show progresses. Where are the images coming from? Why is Dr. King receiving them? Could they be from God? Are the team’s investigations themselves causing a paradox?
So, all in all, a quite promising start. Paradox continues on BBC One, and BBC HD next tuesday at 9.00. Also you can catch up with the first two episodes at BBC iPlayer – available until December 29th.
Memory Hole (Update: 2020)
Updating this article in the year 2020, I find this BBC series has disappeared down some form of memory hole. Although it did get a DVD release back in the day, that is now unavailable. In addition, searching YouTube for clips only brings up one result in English.