Vigil: Review of the British miniseries

Photo from the series Vigil (c) BBC

In the British thriller series Vigil, Detective Chief Inspector Amy Silva investigates a murder case on a nuclear submarine for six episodes and takes us into a world full of secrets, lies and betrayal. A season review.

Why is ?

The corpse of the sonar officer Burke, who was mysteriously killed, is discovered on the submarine HMS Vigil, which is armed with nuclear weapons. Since the boat is based in Scotland, the Royal Navy is required to notify the Scottish Police Service. The agency then sends its best investigator, DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Amy Silva, to investigate the case on board the submarine. She quickly finds out that Burke was murdered, but the Vigil is on a delicate mission and must not appear under any circumstances. Even before Silva has properly started her investigation, she finds herself trapped in a web of lies and secrets. And one of them could mean not just yours, but the end for the entire team.

Navy CIS meets Wallander?

If Britain is particularly known for one type of crime thriller, it is the cozy crime sub-genre. Who does not know them, the highly intelligent investigators who investigate tricky murder cases in the country as police officers, pastors or private investigators? And while the way Inspector Barnaby, Grantchester, Agatha Raisin – and whatever they’re called – is still popular in solving their cases with finesse, Vigil is very different. The idea comes from George Aza-Selinger, the company’s Head of Development World Productions In scotland. Selinger earned his spurs with hit series like Wallander and Ripper Street. Now he developed with “Vigil“An idea that in the first two parts still feels like a successful mix of a typical Swedish thriller and a case by the US NCIS team.

With episode three at the latest, however, it becomes clear that the inclined viewer sees much more flickering across the screen than a simple crime-of-the-week. Rather, a rousing thriller unfolds in a claustrophobic scenario with believable and multi-dimensional characters. Hardly anyone on the vigil is what he or she seems to pretend, every crew member guards his or her dirty little secrets that they try to hide from DCI Silva. So the policewoman digs through a tangle of threads of relationships and missteps until she finally comes across a solid conspiracy that is politically highly explosive and could cost everyone on the vigil their lives.

The story is reminiscent of the novels of Tom Clancy, even if the staging is typically British in a positive sense. You look in vain for liters of blood, hectic cuts and the like. Instead, the camera focuses on the characters, their motifs and experiences. Between all the understandable small and big lies, a traitor is also up to mischief, whose activities become more dangerous and more direct from one consequence to the next, great.

Vigil: Death on the High Seas – Season 1 (DVD)

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