‘Black Work’ Episode 2 review: Sheridan Smith remains emotionally charged

Posted Filed under

The second part of ITV’s Black Work picks up where we left off last week, with Jo Gillespie (Sheridan Smith) laying on the floor after being clobbered around the back of the head.

Gillespie manages to pull herself up off the floor (physically, because mentally she’s still right down there) and chase after potential husband/cop killer Michael Parry.

Eventually Parry is hauled in to the cop shop, which disappointingly doesn’t really match with the design of the rest of the show. There may well be police questioning suites that look like they belong on the Starship Enterprise but they don’t work well here, and are really distracting.

Black Work 1 2 SHERIDAN SMITH as Jo Gillespie

Red strip lighting aside, the cast are all back on form. Andrew Knott does a particularly good angst ridden cop and Sheridan Smith remains as emotionally charged as in Episode 1, with her paranoia and distrust growing by the minute. When Gillespie meets up with DC Jack Clark in the plain sight of the local shopping centre, you can feel her heart creeping out of her skin, and she knows there’s nowhere safe.

Life back at home is no bowl of cherries either. Step-son Hal has decided to move back in with his biological mother, who, for some reason that we’re not currently privy to, wasn’t suitable to look after him in the first place. If only he would just sit down and listen to Jo, rather than be so rash. Hal is being egged on by his grandmother who feels that a woman’s place is in the home… Oh come on, love; if this woman doesn’t get out the home, who will ever find Ryan’s killer?

With the arrest of Parry for the murder of Ryan, the body is released and the funeral goes ahead, where a mystery man turns up and then tries to do a runner, but not before Jo collars him. He’s Tom Piper and warns Jo off from getting further involved in something that could harm her and her family. (Tom is played by the always brilliant Phil Davis, who does a lovely line in evil.)

Black Work 1 2 PHIL DAVIS as Tom Piper

Undeterred by Piper’s ‘advice’ Jo manages to track down where he lives (she’s a very resourceful constable) and stalks out his house – only to discover that he’s clearing out of town, along with the help of DC Lee Miekel. They’re up to no good that’s for sure – but what is it exactly?

Following an unapproved chat with Parry, which sees Jo being sent off duty, Jo manages to track down the local coffee van where all the recently arrested ‘gang’ used to work through. When Jo is meeting van owner Zoe Nash, DCS Hepburn calls to tell her that Parry has been found dead in his cell, and simultaneously Jo finds out how much she didn’t know about her husband when she meets Zoe’s daughter, and learns that Ryan was the father.

What else will Jo discover and with Parry out of the picture, who was really responsible for Ryan’s murder? There’s definitely something corrupt going on and with the question of ‘how well do we really know anyone?’ hanging over Black Work, who will the real goodies and baddies turn out to be?


Aired at 9pm on Sunday 28 June 2015 on ITV.

> Order Black Work on DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know below…

> Follow Sarah Lewis on Twitter.