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Vexed anything but vexing to watch

Vexed poster

Written by : published Sunday 14th October 2012

Vexed anything but vexing to watch main image

Acorn Media has recently released Vexed Series 1 on DVD. Previously unavailable in the United States, this single disc set contains all three, hour long episodes of the first series. (A second series recently aired in Britain).

Vexed is the story of two police detectives, but unlike many crime dramas, it is not a procedural. There are cases in each episode that must be solved, but these by far take a back seat to the tale of the main characters. This is a show about personalities, and those personalities are entertaining and engaging. Plus, it's light-hearted, making it more a dramedy than a straight drama.

DI Kate Bishop (Lucy Punch, Ben and Kate, Bad Teacher) is new to town. She is driven and smart, but not so good with her personal life, which is why her marriage to husband Dan (Rory Kinnear, Quantum of Solace) is crumbling. While at work, she plays by the rules and follows the clues. At home, she reacts erratically and jumps to conclusions. She does her best to keep it all together, but sometimes her best just isn't enough.

Enter DI Jack Armstrong (Toby Stephens, Wired, Die Another Day), a lazy, bumbling cop who would rather charm everyone than actually listen to them. Yet, somehow he manages to get the job done. He's a good balance for Kate, doing things that she would never do during the course of their investigation, and at the end of the day, he comes to care about his partner. They make an interesting, and surprisingly effective, team.
These two leads are the reason I like Vexed a lot. Punch and Stephens have great chemistry, and the focus is always more on them than the murder or kidnapping they are looking into. Punch is more toned down than in many of other roles, which works very well here, and Stephens captures that Damian Lewis-esque character, but with a much more free-style spin to it. The bottom line is, whatever the merits of this series may be, it is genuinely fun to watch.

It is supremely disappointing that Punch's Kate has been replaced by a different character in series two, though not having seen the newer episodes, I am unable to say if the show is able to hang onto what it has without her.

The only thing that didn't really work for me was Kate and Dan's relationship. When they fight, it's great, and the way she continuously injures him is amusing. But then, as they try to make up, it feels a little hollow. It's almost like two distinctly separate couples, their interactions in those two types of scenes being so wildly different. This is an important element to Vexed, but it's not so big that it can't be overlooked in favor of the better parts.

The supporting cast includes Ronny Jhutti (Ideal) as Naz, a nerdy analyst who works the crime scenes, and Roger Griffiths (Holby City, Family Affairs) as Tony, a former cop who runs the restaurant Jack works out of, as Jack claims he doesn't like for the police station. Neither Naz nor Tony get a lot to do, but Griffiths' character is especially interesting, having a mysterious past that I'd like to learn more about, and messing with Kate in the funniest of ways. Hopefully, series two will give more insight into him.

The only bonus features are promotional trailers and a photo gallery.

I would recommend picking up Vexed just because the series doesn't really feel like something we have in America. We've done versions of this sort of thing, but watered down over dozens of episodes. The short arc and terrific cast makes Vexed worth watching, and a series I won't soon forget.

Vexed Series 1 is available now on DVD.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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