Before we even get to The Shadow Line, can we talk about how the BBC has just been KILLING IT this year? Let’s put it this way, if the BBC was a character on Game of Thrones, its name would be Television Slayer. First there was Luther in which Idris Elba plays a tortured cop who loves playing cat and mouse. What? That sounds almost as good as it actually is, which is GREAT. Then there was the Sherlock Holmes reboot starring Benedict Cumberbatch (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! Our generation’s Colton Burpo) and Martin Freeman. My only question about the BBC’s reboot of Sherlock Holmes is why the BBC thought it was acceptable to only make three episodes? Because that is not acceptable at all. More episodes please. This is America. Both of those shows are very incredible and they are both very available on DVD so get with the programmes. (Get it? England.) Now, let’s talk about The Shadow Line, which is basically England’s answer to The Wire.


I have only watched three out of the five episodes that have aired so far, so please NO SPOILORRIES, but man oh man, this is a very very good TV show! I’m going to give you a brief description of it, which, to be honest, kind of does reveal some minor plot points that might be more enjoyable to discover on your own if you want to just go for it, in which case you should really stop reading this and just go for it, but if you want a little more convincing then I will tell you a little bit about what the show is about without giving too much away and you can make your own decision as long as that decision is definitely to start watching this show. It opens with a murder (oooooh) of a high-ranking crime boss. Uh oh! No one knows whodunnit! The police don’t know, but also the criminals don’t know. Now there is a power vacuum in the underworld and you know how those can be, don’t you, Marlo? Meanwhile, the police detective assigned to the case, Jonah Gabriel (which, very good police detective name!) has amnesia because he HAS A BULLET STUCK IN HIS HEAD from something that happened that may or may not have been DIRTY POLICE WORK but he genuinely doesn’t remember and now he is a good guy but maybe he isn’t oh man?! The murdered crime boss had a nephew who was working in his organization and is a criminal but also a very spooky psychopath played by Rafe Spall, who clearly took his inspiration for the character from Heath Ledger’s Joker, which you might think is kind of rip-off except REMEMBER HOW GOOD HEATH LEDGER’S JOKER WAS?! The new head of the crime syndicate is this mild-mannered guy who just wants out and whose wife has early on-set Alzheimer’s and all he wants is one final score so that he can take care of his wife. And finally there is a third party, who after three episodes in we still do not know who he is or what he wants, but he wears a bowler and a topcoat and carries an umbrella and is always very calm and polite and reassuring which somehow makes him THE CREEPIEST ONE YET? If you’re not convinced yet, you are broken. Go to hospital you are broken.

I’m not sure exactly how to tell you HOW to watch this show, because obviously you should never illegally download anything because it is illegal and wrong and I’ve never done it in my life and I have definitely not done it in order to watch the first three episodes of this show and I’m definitely not currently downloading the fourth and fifth episode because I’m a good person and not a criminal, but you’ll figure it out. Use The Secret! Put it out into the Universe that you want to watch The Shadow Line. Because trust me, YOU DO.

Comments (56)
  1. BBC: Balways Be…uh, closing.

  2. Time to talk to some people who know how to torrent or whatever it is people do.

    Can we talk a little bit about Chiwetel Ejiofor and how awesome he is? First his name is amazing, second (and I know lots of people hate David Mamet movies) Redbelt was great in large part because of Chiwetel Ejiofor.

  3. Wonderful shows, yes; however, let’s take a moment to remember those we have lost:

  4. To be fair, Gabe, each Sherlock episode was 90 minutes long. Though I would’ve loved more of them (the last one really leaves you wanting more), 270 minutes of television is a comparable length to most first seasons of any series in any premium channel.

  5. As with anything that has Christopher Eccelston in it, I will pretend that this is an episode of Doctor Who with the ninth doctor going deep undercover for some reason. (Maybe, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a Cyberman?)

    Also, second Doctor Who reference of the day, FLW? This is what happens when I go cold turkey off of gifs.

  6. When I finished watching the Wire I thought to myself, “Other countries make tv shows… I bet there are OTHER Wires out there!” But then I tried googling it and everything just led me back to Coronation Street which while simply excellent, is no HBO’s The Wire.

    Anylorry, I’m super excited to watch this and scroll back through dialogue several times when I can’t figure out the accent!

    • I was going to say nobody make any Lorry jokes, or else you’ll get called out for being Gabe v6.7 or whatever. but that one actually made me smile.
      jolly good showing. a round of upvotes my good barkeep.

  7. I didn’t even know they had African-Americans in Britain.

  8. I’ve been downloading these every week and haven’t made time to watch them. Quit making me feel bad, Gabe.

  9. If you come at the President, you best not miss.

  10. Ha, spoilorries. Good one.

  11. Luther Series 2 airs on June 14th! WHY AH YUH DEWWING THIIS, AHHHLISSSSSSS??

  12. I just rewatched Sherlock! Thanks whoever at the BBC decided to put everything on Netflix. Moriarty is the best, can we just agree on that?

  13. I just rewatched Sherlock! Thanks whoever at the BBC decided to put everything on Netflix. Moriarty is the best, can we just agree on that?

  14. I work at the house that publishes Sherlock Holmes in my country, so I hear the name “Sherlock” a lot during my work days and am always disappointed when Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have nothing to do with whatever is being said.


  15. I am gonna be so pissed when Briadru4 watches this because it’s British when I’ve been harassing her to watch The Wire for 3 years.

  16. The show Vexed that was on in 3 parts after Sherlock finished was also amazing and hilarious, written by Howard “Misfits” Overman (or whatever his name is in case i got it wrong)

  17. In other “BBC is crushing it lately” news:


    • Could you be more right? Netflix kept telling me to watch it, and finally I did the other night, all 7 episodes till three in the morning…only to find out, nothing is wrapped up. The internets rewarded me with the knowledge that there is a second season filming…I am so happy.

      Also, sitting here waiting to download WHO, I find out that CE is in a new series. Of course he is my favorite Doctor and now I have a new show to tide me over to the second half of WHO…

      And Sherlock, with Tim from the Office…

      BBC, if you would connect my TV to you here in America, I would gladly pay the license fee…

      • I’d direct you to BBC America…but let’s be honest, they’re just a shadow of the real thing. Even if they did air “Life on Mars” a few years ago, these days it’s all “Top Gear” sprinkled with episodes of “Antiques Roadshow.” Nope.

  18. After watching the first five episodes of this, I have discovered that british assassins use the hit and run as their preferred method of elimination. Followed by garrote, followed by a hand held blow torch or light bulb. No guns!

    • I was in England for study-abroad like 10 years ago, so perhaps this has changed, but it’s my understanding that the Brits HATE them some guns.

      (I am pretty sure they call them no-rries.)

      Like, this dude (sorry, “chap”) was chatting with us in a pub, and he was like, “So, in America, people actually OWN guns? But … you know they KILL people, right?”

      I imagine that depicting gun violence in England would be like if there were an American show where the gang’s weapons of choice were really small tactical nukes.

  19. thanks gabe… that show is super good

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