Nancy Devlin leads a complicated life. In The Level, a contemporary British mystery series on AcornTV, nothing is easy for Inspector Devlin. She’s investigating a complex murder case where her personal life is interwoven with the victim, suspects, and even some of the investigators. It makes for a good story. The Level TV series does not venture far from the traditional police procedural template, but it’s entertaining with a good dose of suspense and intrigue.
As episode one begins, DS Devlin, an inspector for the National Crime Division, is awarded a medal for “outstanding bravery in the line of duty.” Then, hearing that her mother will remain hospital bound for some time, she turns to a colleague for solace – and sex. They are interrupted by a phone call; Nancy goes to meet a man in secret, but, during their conversation, he is killed and she is wounded. She keeps her injury a secret and is assigned to the team working the murder case. It’s in a different jurisdiction though, Brighton, where Devlin grew up. Turns out she knows most of the people involved in the case, and things get more complicated from there.
That’s all in the first 15 minutes. The Level is story where you need to pay attention. Watching with a critical eye, though, leads to minor disappointment. It’s one of those crime dramas that takes a few shortcuts with plausibility, but fortunately it’s not excessive, like in No Second Chance. The writers also throw in a couple of red herrings to keep us guessing, which is a good thing, but the twists are fairly predictable.
Karla Crome has the lead role as Nancy Devlin. Her NCD partner, O’Dowd, is played by Rob James-Collier, though Downton Abbey fans will forever know him as Thomas. Devlin is assigned a Brighton cop, Gunner (Noel Clarke), to work with. Tensions arise between the three and shift around during the series. Loyalties between any of the 10 or so main characters are a moving target.
The Level TV series has six 45-minute episodes on AcornTV. They were released at the rate of one per week – frustrating binge watchers – but all episodes are available now. The show first aired on Britain’s ITV. So far, there has been no official word about The Level season 2. Let’s hope it happens.