Vexed 2.1

TV episode review: Vexed (series 2, episode 1), directed by Ian Fitzgibbon

When I saw “Vexed” in the TV listings recently, I thought it was a re-run, and the info-button didn’t say it was new, so I put it at the back of my mind and forgot all about it. Then I went on the BBC iPlayer for something else, and was met by the words “Series 2”. Heeeeey! Why did no one tell me that before?! It’s true – the quirky murder mystery show is back after a two-year hiatus. Huzzah!

I don’t remember how the previous series ended, but DI Jack Armstrong (Toby Stephens) has got a new partner – again. Turns out to be DI Georgina Dixon (Miranda Raison). He likes old cars going at a moderate pace, she likes modern cars driven like she’s in a car chase and is very business-minded.

Along with Jack, restauranteur Tony (Roger Griffiths) and lab geek Naz (Ronny Jhutti) are also back. As are, of course, the murder victims. In the first episode, it’s a car salesman found in the boot of a used car. The new partners try to suss out who dunnit, while at the same time trying to dodge ruthlessly flirty car sellers (Eleanor Matsuura), botoxed ladies (Emma Davies), talkative bosses (Richard Lumsden) and disgruntled dads (Christopher Fulford).

Also starring Mark Huberman, Macauley Keeper and Amy Kirwan.

I really enjoyed the first three-part series of Vexed and hoped it would come back, but there didn’t seem to be any word of it, so eventually I thought it was just a one-off and didn’t think much of it. Imagine the joy when I discovered it was back – and in twice as many episodes!

The first episode of series two, though, is slightly disappointing. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, and the humour is still there, but it doesn’t feel quite as … bonkers. The preview for episode two seems more like it, though, so hopefully it picks up.

Miranda Raison has replaced Lucy Punch (who was busy on another project) as Jack’s partner, and she’s an entirely different character. She’s driven, work-focused, smarter than most and a great investigator. She also knows a thing or two about cars and doesn’t have a beard. She also doesn’t seem to have a partner at home that she keeps causing horrendous injuries to by accident, but it’ll be interesting to find out more about her.

Jack is his old self, if perhaps somewhat more reserved than I remember him. His reactions to the sex-pushy car seller are priceless, and instead of saying “helloooooo nurse!” he’s rather trying to run the other way. Unexpected, and funny.

Then there’s the whole issue of “yay, Toby Stephens is back on the telly!” which is always a plus. Dang it, sir, you look splendid.

The first episode of series two of Vexed has left me a little undecided, but at the time of writing, I’ve only seen episode one, and there’s another two to go before I’m up to date. It’s good, but is it as good as last time? We’ll wait and see.

4 out of 5 bells.

The next episode (2.4) is on BBC Two this Wednesday at 21:00/9pm. Catch up on the first three episodes on BBC iPlayer.

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