‘New Blood’ review: Episode 3 concludes a strong opening story

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The third episode of BBC One’s New Blood picks up where we left off last week, with Stefan and Rash hot-footing it after suspect Henry.

There’s a nice moment of humour when, having finally caught him, they have to take a moment to get their breath back before arresting him.

Henry is the obvious suspect, which in TV terms means that he’s innocent of course – and as Rash and Stefan investigate (against the instructions of Rash’s superiors in the force, who are content that they have their man) they uncover a pharmaceutical company deliberately exposing a competitor’s secrets via the murders of three people and the framing of Henry.

It’s such a well-thought out plan, carefully orchestrated, subtle and ingenious… which is why it’s just that bit jarring when the villains suddenly start resorting to ludicrously heavy-handed tactics.  An exploding trolley blowing out an entire hotel room.  Submachine guns firing along hotel corridors.  Presumably the guns were brought just in case the bomb didn’t work…?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a thrilling action sequence, and ends with Stefan and Rash leaping off the hotel roof into a convenient (but scarily small) swimming pool half a dozen storeys below.  It’s directed and cut with great pace and excitement, but unfortunately it feels just a little like the story doesn’t quite know how to play out, and so decides to make the villains reveal themselves in this hugely OTT fashion.

New Blood 1 3 Bruce Lockwood (HENRY PETTIGREW)

The final resolution of the story is a little woolly too.  One drugs company is in disgrace and another is removing a dodgy product from the market – but given that the only reliable witness has just been killed in a burst of machine gun fire; and that any incriminating documents have been shredded; and that only Rash and Stefan (one ex-policeman and one ex-SFO officer posing as a policeman) have heard the witness’s story…

Given all that, and at the risk of sounding rather dull and boring, what about some evidence?  It seems improbable to put it mildly, that the Metropolitan Police (in Rash’s case) and the Serious Fraud Office (in Stefan’s) happily take their word for it; and are somehow able to pursue an investigation without any proof.

New Blood 1 3

Where the series goes from here, I’m not sure.  Rash and Stefan are last seen heading off to look at a flat – but unless there are a lot of cases where police and fraud investigations overlap it’s not easy to see how the show will work.

On the other hand, Mark Bonnar’s shady government adviser is still in position, so is his niece (Kimberly Nixon) in her role as unwilling ‘spy’ inside the SFO.  For that matter, the two all-but anonymous female assassins who have been carrying out Ruhn Laboratories’ killing spree, get out of this episode scot free.  So maybe the story isn’t really over yet.

Either way, hopefully the remaining four episodes will delivery on the promise of what has been (the odd moan or two notwithstanding) a very strong opening story.

Aired at 9pm on Thursday 23 June 2016 on BBC One.

> Order Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

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