Crime drama. Why do we like it so much? Why do we watch CSI, Law and Order and The Wire so doggedly? Back in the day, there was the whodunnit interest, the endless guessing as to who the murderer could be before the culprit was revealed. Jessica Fletcher was constantly to the rescue, Poirot twizzled his moustache and Dr Mark Sloan sneaked onto crime scenes.
But now, with the village of Midsummer suffering from a lack of inhabitants, things have changed. As British crime drama goes, we’ve maintained our national civility for many years with Silent Witess, Waking The Dead and other long standing shows. Within the last 12 months, the finale of Waking The Dead was such an explicitly detailed episode, it looked as if the script had been lifted from the set of Saw VI. This wind of change has blown into the unorthodox and wonderfully clever Luther, which concluded its second season recently. And then there is Stolen.
I settled down, expecting to see the latest BBC crime drama. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was much more to it, so much more.
Immigration. Trafficking. Child prostitution. Words are used so regularly these days and Stolen is proof that there are times when action speaks louder than words. The 90-minute drama focused in on the story of three trafficked children each from a different country. Watch it. It deserves its accreditation as landmark drama. The tables have turned. Each child’s story is heart-wrenching, there is no clear-cut right or wrong action to take. Damian Lewis’s immigration police officer fights to protect them, putting his own family in danger. The tough choices are all around him and it just gets harder. It is spectacularly eye-opening from beginning to end, and certainly delivers the message that child-trafficking is slavery and a real presence in this country.