Paradox is BBC One’s latest cop drama with a twist, starring Tamzin Outhwaite (Hotel Babylon, Eastenders), on Tuesday nights at 9.00. DI Rebecca Flint (Outhwaite) is teamed up with Dr. Christian King (played by Emun Elliott), a space scientist who mysteriously receives a set of images at his laboratory that appear to have been sent from the near future. The images seem to depict some impending disaster and a race then ensues as Flint and her team try to piece the seemingly random images together and prevent it from happening.
A five part series, Paradox plays a twist on the usual cop drama series, whilst borrowing elements from other science fiction titles like Minority Report, and Crime Traveller, and adding a countdown clock to give a bit of a 24 feel to proceedings. Set in and around Manchester, the detective team is bolstered by DS Ben Holt (Mark Bonnar) who is the resident sceptic, and DC Callum Gada (Chiké Okonkwo). The opening episode gives hints that Flint and Holt have had some form of personal releationship, whilst also setting up some sexual tension between her and Dr. King, who is portrayed as aloof, arrogant, and with a heavy air of mystery, as if he’s always hiding something from the detectives.
Episode One was, like most shows of it’s format, slightly hampered with some clunky dialogue as it tried to set up and introduce all the major cast, but I found it really enjoyable overall. Once the plot really got under way, sufficient tension was introduced to keep you hooked. Each story is built around a set of about eight images, that are mysteriously downloaded by computers at King‘s laboratory, at a time that coincides with major solar flare activity, that his institution are investigating. The images all seem quite random at first (and might remind older viewers of Ask The Family in their strange framing), and slowly throughout each episode, each one is deciphered and cleverly dropped in to events as the drama plays out. Slowly, the team realise that there is going to be a major train disaster, and desperately try and prevent it. Surprisingly, they fail, and are left standing watching as a huge explosion rips the train apart killing 74 people. This leaves them pondering if they can change events at all, and asking themselves just why the images had been sent in the first place.
Last night’s second episode however, saw them succeed in saving a young boy’s life, and also one of the detectives, DS Holt, whose dead future image had initially been hidden from Flint‘s team by King and his shady bosses so as to avoid influencing the team’s investigative methods (or so it initially seemed). Dr. King still seems full of mystery, and continues to hint that he knows more than he’s letting on, something I’m sure is going to unfold further as the show progresses. Where are the images coming from? Why is Dr. King receiving them? Could they be from God? Are the team’s investigations themselves causing a paradox?
So, all in all, a quite promising start. Paradox continues on BBC One, and BBC HD next tuesday at 9.00, or you can catch up with the first two episodes at BBC iPlayer (link to the first episode below) – available until December 29th.