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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey


Detective Inspector Colette Cunningham is excellent as what she does. She’s cut-throat, funny, and knows how to get what she needs. In fact, life is pretty smooth sailing.

Except – in true ITV drama fashion – not for long. For at the start of Redemption, the channel’s newest cop show, the Liverpudlian Colette (Paula Malcomson) gets a call from a Dublin policeman, who tells her that her estranged daughter Kate has died.

It turns out that Kate has been living her life as a nurse called Stacey Lockley for the last 20 years after leaving home at the age of 17. And this is where the action starts. Colette now finds herself the legal guardian of two teenage grandchildren that she has never met, Cara and Liam, and must join the Dublin Central police service for the foreseeable future.

As she settles into her new life, and starts to dig further into the circumstances around her daughter’s death, things appear to be much muddier than she originally thought and she finds herself meddling in the lives of some dangerous individuals.

It’s hard not to be hooked by the series of unfortunate events that are being thrown at Colette, even within the first 20 minutes of the first episode. But while Redemption finds its spark in various moments throughout the show (and features a stellar cameo from Derry Girls’ own Siobhán McSweeney as Colette’s boss Jane), it fails to offer a fresh take on the already popular tropes of crime drama.

It’s tense, there’s some strong performances (especially Abby Fitz as Colette’s grieving granddaughter, Cara), and there’s even a few laughs here and there – but the drama doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel.

The show’s format is one that’s been used time and time again: Colette is the cold and snarky police officer with a turbulent family life, who finds herself toe to toe with a dangerous drug gang or larger threat. Remind you of anything? Happy Valley, Vigil, and Line of Duty are just some examples that spring to mind.

Redemption thus has a lot to prove. The onus is really on Malcomson to draw the viewer in and offset any sense of crime drama fatigue, and Deadwood and Ray Donovan star proves herself to be a strong centre.

Malcomson makes a strong mark as the show’s lead, showcasing Cunningham’s cutthroat nature – as well as her grief – particularly in the show’s opening, where she switches between the two seamlessly. You can’t help but feel heartbroken for her and her grandchildren as they attempt to navigate the loss of a loved one, all the while needing to discover the truth about her death.

Redemption offers all the tropes of crime drama we know and love: a tortured soul with a dark backstory, trying to get to the bottom of something she knows should be left alone. While it is by no means revolutionary, it’s a worthwhile contribution to the much loved genre.

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