The 2009 Masterpiece Contemporary season is now over, and I thought I'd be taking a pass on the entire schedule...but then I was reminded that Collision starred Douglas Henshall (the dearly departed Cutter on Primeval), so of course I had to watch. :) I am SO glad I did. This program was a real treat, full of intricate plot twists and fascinating characters. When I looked up the show on the IMDB, I was even more thrilled to discover it was scripted by Anthony Horowitz. In case you've never heard of Horowitz, let me tell you, for what it's worth I think he's some sort of freaking genius. It's my understanding that any book he releases is guaranteed to be a huge bestseller in England (you can check out his work on his website here - books, film, television, & theater credits!). The primary reason I love Horowitz though is because he created the absolutely fantastic, perfect, wonderful mystery series Foyle's War. I love, love, love that show and should write more about it in the future. Just warning ya. :)
So anyway, back to Collision. I'm not going to do my usual critique/spoiler-fest that normally accompanies any post I write about yet another British show I love and adore. ;-) Shocking, I know. But I really think this program is such a wonderful surprise, such an intelligent drama, that I would wish any new viewers to the story to enjoy the surprises as they unfold. Here's the brief story summary from the PBS website, just to whet your appetites:
Point of impact — Friday afternoon on England's busy A12 highway. Six cars collide in a terrible spectacle leaving two dead. Detective Inspector John Tolin (Douglas Henshall, Primeval) is called in to clean up, and quiet the cries of racism coming from the family of one of the victims. But a methodical investigation only scratches the surface of the ten strangers involved, and the surprising and touching ways they are transformed after the accident. Senior Investigating Officer Ann Stallwood (Kate Ashfield, Poirot), herself entangled with Tolin, joins the inquiry as allegations of corporate crime, infidelity, shameful secrets and murder slowly rise from the wreckage. Written by Anthony Horowitz (Foyle's War) and Michael A. Walker, Collision investigates human nature, fate and the intriguing ways the truths of our lives are revealed.
This show is a veritable who's who of British acting talent, so without giving too much away I do want to give a couple of casting shout-outs:
- Douglas Henshall (DI John Tolin) - This show was a really, really smart move - showed a completely different side of his personality than the one I came to love on Primeval. And check out his dorky "everyman" hair - adorable. :)
- David Bamber (Sidney Norris) - When isn't it fun to see Mr. Collins (from the 1995 version) make another appearance on TV?
- Lucy Griffiths - Also known as Maid Marian from Robin Hood. (Moment of silence for the dearly departed, please!) Since season 2 of RH has turned out to be the show's creative high-water mark, I no longer think Lucy was completely nuts for wanting to leave the show to pursue other projects. In fact, crazy blonde hair dye job nothwithstanding, I think it's brilliant she got to play in Collision because she got to star opposite...
- Paul McGann - I freaking love Paul McGann. We go WAAAAYYYY back, starting with his appearance as Lt. Bush in the Hornblower films (still bitter about how that series ended, A&E!). His voice will just make you melt, I kid you not. And while his character is not as admirable as one could wish for, dang it the man has never looked better. Wowzers. *swoons* It was SO nice to see Paul in a major project that actually got the chance to air in the US. Made me positively nostalgic for the ol' Hornblower days... ;-)
Sorry, didn't meant to get carried away there. ;-) Those four actors are just a small sampling of the faces I recognized in the cast. The show is a true ensemble piece, superbly scripted and executed. This is a story that will leave you thinking about the ripple effect our lives have on each other, and how the smallest actions - or inactions - can have enormous consequences. It's a fascinating program. The DVD releases December 15th.
Here's a short video interviewing some members of the cast: