CHASING SHADOWS (2014) IS A MINI SERIES COP DRAMA STARRING REECE SHEARSMITH, ALEX KINGSTON, AND NOEL CLARKE. EACH OF THE TWO EPISODES IS AN HOUR AND A HALF (SHOWN IN TWO 45-MINUTE HALVES), TOTALING THREE HOURS. YOU CAN GET IT ON ACORN.TV OR AMAZON ON-DEMAND.
Alex Kingston is back with the shadows, but this time instead of counting them, she’s chasing them, alongside fellow Doctor Who star Noel Clarke. In Chasing Shadows, Sean Stone (Shearsmith) is a good homicide detective, but his lack of social skills and inability to lie make him a PR liability for the police department, so they dump him on Missing Persons as their new liaison with the police. But when DCI Carl Pryor (Clarke) complains that Stone isn’t playing well with others, the police force is ready to dump Stone entirely. It’s up to Stone’s new civilian partner Ruth (Kingston) to prove that Stone is capable of working with a partner in order to save his job and by extension the abductees that Stone is trying to track down.
Every hot modern cop show made in the last decade has been modeled after Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. The obvious one doesn’t try to hide that fact: Sherlock‘s title character is called a “functioning sociopath” (also known as a psychopath, meaning he doesn’t have empathy capabilities). There is an assistant–Watson–and a long suffering police chief–LeStrade. Then look at Monk. The title character has OCD, which keeps him from functioning in society but allows him the insight to solve crimes. There is an assistant–Sharona, and later Natalie–and police officers Leland Stottlemeyer and Randy Disher (whose names were chosen as a nod to LeStrade). Even House is a Sherlock Holmes copy, and that’s not even a cop drama. Chasing Shadows is the next Sherlock homage on the list. You’ve got Sean Stone who, Reece Shearsmith says in an interview, is somewhere on the autistic spectrum. His focus on work makes him come off as intense and rude. However, refreshingly, his lack of social skills does not give him special powers the way it does Sherlock or Monk. He fails to remember a license plate, so he’s not particularly good at numbers or memory, and while he can sometimes sense people are lying, he is frequently wrong. He doesn’t pick up on any behavioral clues–oh, he touched his ear, therefore he’s lying–the way Sherlock or Monk might.
I was a little disappointed in the writing at first. You can feel that there is a rhythm–this is the part where someone says something cheeky, this is the part where somebody gets snippy–but the cheeky stuff isn’t cheeky enough, the snippy stuff not snippy enough. The real endearing relationships are not between Ruth and Sean or Ruth and Carl, but instead between Ruth and her son, and Sean and his housekeeper. It’s too bad that in so short a series we couldn’t see these relationships bud to their full potential, though certainly they get meatier as the show goes on. The characters are a little pale in characterization, but you do get a better sense of Sean at home when you find that he’s locked himself in the airing cupboard because he’s upset or that he’s surprisingly able to connect to his housekeeper’s young daughter when she is left with him for a few hours. The highlight of the show is episode 1 part 2 when Sean, Ruth, and Carl finally start to work as a team.
I’ll warn you if you do decide to take this on: It ends on a cliffhanger and there’s been no announcement as to whether there will be another season.