Hi! Welcome to my recap series of Annika starring OUR NICOLA WALKER woooooo! Y’all who know me know I love a fine British drama, even more so if it has one of my favourite English actresses and Annika has exactly that. I’ll moon on some more in the recap, let’s roll right into Annika S1:E01 Call Me Annika after the break!
Okay a little background; Anniika started its life as a Sweettalk Productions beautifully directed by Jeremy Osborne and produced by Karen Rose. It is now on our TV and since our esteemed Nicola Walker was the voice in radio, I assume we’ll getta hear all sorts of monologues in Nicola’s dulcet tones, that is the opposite of me complaining. Nick Walker is responsible for conceiving of and writing the TV series, looks as though it was directed by another bloke, Phillip John. It was very well received and morphed its way into a drama through the alibi channel, well known for its quality UK dramas. I do typically like to keep an eye out for shows directed/written/produced by women, but it would be a travesty to ignore something fantastic just because of the gender presentation of the originator. I GUESS.
We open at night in Scotland with Her Majesty’s Coast Guard working quickly to remove something splashily from the water as recently promoted DI Annika Strandhed (Nicola Walker) races along the adjacent bridge, first in a car; then on foot.
She breaks the fourth wall to tell us the story of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, the ruinous chase for immortality as legacy resulting in slow and painful death for all but invoking a modern coffee chain, so not all bad, yeah?
She watches them winch a body out of the ocean, calls to her second in command DS Michael McAndrews (Jamie Sives whom I JUST watched/recapped in Guilt! He was lovely) who appears to not be as supportive as you’d want when you were just recently made DI.
*The best thing about Nicola Walker is her elemental cheekiness. Well. There’s also her warmth and compassion but really, the wit is what you always get and always need.
Credits! Lovely soggy credits with lots of ocean and wet birds and the like. I thought I saw the house from The Nest in there but I’ve been wrong before.
Annika may be a big DI now, but she’s still got a teenager at home to deal with. Or rather ferry to school in a police tugboat while getting verbally shat on. Morgan Strandhed (Silvie Furneaux) is typical of all the teenagers we see on TV, especially girls. Are they are universally awful? Someone out there with teenaged girls chime in. I mean, I was one and I came from a non-traditional home life, which is usually the reason given for the godawful bloody mindedness of every single teenage girl we see on TV, but I was mostly harmless. Surely they’re not all the worst, someone testify to their fifteen year old’s generally gorgeous personality and we can all move on!
I do like Annika’s self-deprecating humour, she’s a lot of fun.
Like when she mistakes her boss DCI Diane Oban’s (Kate Dickie from Game of Thrones and The Nest but ALSO: Retribution!! Great show, has all the other 9 actors in Scotland, you should totally watch that too!) office for her own and makes jokes about looking like a dick for drinking tea alone in there.
Annika’s team wasn’t slated to start for another week but “an early morning body waits for no man” so they’re off to the races.
*It would be impossible to not compare Nicola Walker as a DI against her as a DCI in the series Unforgotten. Well, maybe someone else could veer away from that, but not I. She’s still very much in charge but here she seems lighter, less weighed down by grief and pain.
So who’ve we got on this team? McAndrews, we met him early, he’s still surly. DC Blair Ferguson (Katie Leung which you all know as Cho Chang from Harry Potter but I know from The Nest – I had no idea the entire cast of The Nest would be kicking about, I feel like I didn’t study for a test or something) starts to explain our forensics when DS Tyrone Clark (Ukweli Roach whom I haven’t met yet but some of you Grantchester watchers might know) interrupts by rolling in late.
Still one week EARLY, but late for this first morning briefing.
We immediately swing into pictures of the dead man, Arthur Hendry took a harpoon through the eye, jaysus, little warning, please! He was the owner of Aquatic Watch, which takes people on tours to harass whales in the wild.
Annika gently teases her whole team one at a time, starting with Blair (Blah on her coffee cup), Tyrone (super fun holiday shirt perhaps inappropriate for informing rellies re: dead bodies with harpooned melons) and finally Michael who noticed the harpoon through the eye might be a possible cause of death.
To celebrate the beginning of this new unit Annika understands she should have brought cupcakes but instead offers some salted Norwegian licorice she finds in her pocket. I can only imagine Norwegian licorice being improved by pocket lint but myself and the rest of her team still take the hardest of passes.
As I ponder just *how* light this show is going to be considering there are pictures of harpooned eyes all over the room, Annika tells us she was supposed to go on a leadership course before starting and instead blew it off for a trip to Madrid.
A hungover Finlay Morris (Gavin Jon Wright) wakes up beneath a bridge with a smashed phone, he borrows someone else’s to call a lady on a treadmill who doesn’t answer anyway.
Across town Annika and Tyrone notify the Hendry family of their patriarch’s death and gently ask questions about his movements. Isla Hendry (Caroline Guthrie) is distraught but helpful, her daughter Trish Hendry (Kirsty Strain who was in Guilt and Retribution!) is there to mostly support her ma. Son Danny Henry (Christy O’Donnell) only sits, head down.
Anyway, Finlay is a cousin, he helps out with the business but there is no business with the season closed. Asking if Arthur was in any trouble leads to an outbreak of crying for young Danny, Isla protects him fiercely and says she’ll identify the body.
Annika takes us aside for a monologue about harpoons, she thinks someone was “trying to get a point across.”
Isla is stoicism herself as she identifies her dead husband covered in contusions drained of blood. She and Arthur had fished all their lives; they bought the boat and started the business to provide a better life and a legacy for their children. Now you can see her wondering if that’s what killed him.
Annika’s not happy when she finds a crime scene crawling with techs as she arrives. Tyrone found it when he went to find Finlay. She doesn’t need to be the FIRST person her team calls, but she’d like to be top three, yes?
She should be first, they should know that.
Looks as though Tyrone’s got the case solved anyway, righto. He thinks Finlay murdered Arthur in a rage over…not being invited to Arthur’s birthday dinner that night with the rest of the family. I mean, there’s blood and a harpoon hole, so Annika’s not dismissing it out of hand but.
It’s a little easy, innit?
Annika asks Tyrone why he transferred to her brand new unit instead of advancing through the ranks where he was; apparently our Annika was given this team because of her super high solve rate thanks to her unusual way of looking at things. As in: why use a harpoon to kill someone? And: why is there a harpoon on a sightseeing boat anyway?
*Now I wonder if the show was written around Nicola Walker. I should find out.
**WAIT. Is Nick Walker related to Nicola Walker????? IS NICK WALKER ACTUALLY NICOLA WALKER??!! BRB
***Okay. Maybe Nick Walker is a real person with a face and everything who has a history of writing radio shows, if this is his first TV credit.
Finlay makes it back to his boat to find it crawling with coppers, he legs it and the chase is on! He trips and falls in some 5mil plastic, the unit has its first arrest. “That’s how all they all come, shrink-wrapped” quips Annika.
The unit’s first suspect interview doesn’t go smoothly, Finlay is obstreperous and in possession of a few one-liners of his own. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he lost a father figure you know.
It’s true, because of the wee bit of blood and harpoon hole, they’re treating him like a suspect instead of a member of the victim’s family, which he also was. He’s sincere and straightforward if entirely sarcastic although that may just be the Scottish.
I suppose it was the wife. I’ve been watching quite a bit of the ID channel, have you seen Deadly Women? It’s cheesy fabulous.
They can’t keep Finlay because they can’t charge him yet and he is released so Annika can go home and be yelled at by her daughter for missing supper and moving her to a new school.
Just as Annika is about to justify her parenting style (girl, you don’t have to explain anything, single parenting is TOUGH), her phone rings. Finlay’s been murdered in a highly coincidental hit and run car accident an hour or so after his police interview.
Where was Isla?
Annika gleans a little more information about FInlay’s mental state at the hospital when she runs into drug runner Dusanka (Apollo Konstantine) asking for him. Finlay was feeling agitated so requested something to calm himself and er. Um.
I’ve been out in the ‘burbs and out of neighbourhoods steeped in drugs for a few decades now, but I’m preeeeeeetttty sure none of the dealers I remember seeing would go check at the hospital to see if they could drop off some painkillers for a client.
Annika heads out to the Hendry household again; Danny seems perhaps…simpleminded? He doesn’t drive, anyway, so we can eliminate him as an immediate suspect. (It’s Isla anyway)
DCI Oban is clearly thrilled about the doubling body count, she lets Annika know she’ll be heading up the press conference shortly instead of attending her daughter’s school play. Annika mumbles something about it being a new unit, but she worked with McAndrews before. Why isn’t he funny any more? Oban knows how that goes, she used to be hilarious!
Annika briefs the media on the two recent deaths then tries to run off leaving McAndrews to speak until he deathstares her into remaining. He does answer most of the press questions, however, perhaps he feels he would have been a better choice for promotion.
One particularly aggressive (wait, what do we call it when someone presses forward even when dissuaded but we can’t use aggressive because that’s encoded to gender in a way that’s detrimental to women), I mean assertive reporter asks all the questions, actually, is there a serial killer afoot? I don’t know why you’d think serial killers particularly focus on family members, that was a rough segue Sam Dacosta (Saskia Ashdown). Annika shuts things down hard, thanking everyone for coming.
Hahahahahaha sometimes I am truly amazed at my ability to figure out where I’m being led mere seconds before they bonk us over the head with it and today is no exception. After the press conference, McAndrews tells Annika plainly that he should have and will have her job, he’s much more qualified and has lived here his whole life.
Just before Finlay was killed, he called crossbow instructor Mandy Howson (Anna Russell Martin). Well, I don’t know if that’s what she always does for a living but that’s what she’s doing when Tyrone comes for a chat about the murders. She clears herself of suspicion by refusing to talk and almost immediately holding a crossbow on him.
(I keep calling it a crossbow but it’s like a…you know, someone killed someone with one a while back, it can shoot harpoons and that sort of thing across a room)
None of the several people in the room report this attack on a police officer who identified himself, because Annika isn’t out looking to help Tyrone and instead is literally pushing her daughter onstage just as she is giving the second prompt for her single line in the school play.
Morgan uses the opportunity in the spotlight to complain about her awful life and runs offstage so Annika hits the fire alarm and absconds with her daughter by water.
The irreverence ends when Annika gets a call: Tyrone is being held hostage.
I lied, Annika is all irreverence as she negotiates with Mandy, exchanging herself for Tyrone who is allowed to leave.
Annika uses this opportunity to interview Mandy, why would Finlay call her right before he died? They worked together, he only trusted her and her alone. He left message after message, scared and saying things had got out of hand. Mandy’s scared because…people kept accusing her of something she didn’t do? Killed someone?
Annika doesn’t lie to Mandy, she’ll have to come in for threatening an officer but she won’t have to answer for anything she hasn’t done.
She always gets to the truth!
Mandy drops her weapon, maybe she didn’t hear the “well, mostly” Annika threw in at the end.
Tyrone stumps for Mandy being their suspect in the murders but Finlay was definitely looking to Mandy for help so that doesn’t quite fit.
What’s interesting is Tyrone saying he’d had worse than being held hostage for an hour at…harpoon-point. What’s worse than that?
Annika gets home to find Morgan gone; she tells us Morgan ‘s father isn’t involved by Annika’s choice. Hm. She tracks Morgan’s phone down to the vet where Morgan is with the pigeon Annika got from Danny Hendry.
Sorry, I didn’t realise the wounded pigeon was going to be a plot point or I would have mentioned it sooner. I thought it was a prop so we would think Danny was too simple to murder his dad and cousin.
Hm, Mandy sheds a whole bunch of light on the Hendry’s and Aquatic Watch. A few years prior a customer fell to her death (I can’t help but note that the body of Blanche Sutherland was never found) in front of her parents eyes from a boat driven by the Hendry son Danny. Hm. He doesn’t drive now? None of that fits with what we’ve seen and what was this about illegal smuggling Finlay was doing?
Mandy reared up as she did because she was blamed for Blanche’s death and lost everything she had. She didn’t want to be blamed for another death.
More news; Trish Hendry, the daughter, was NOT at her dad’s birthday dinner when her dad was killed; instead she was meeting someone who wanted to possibly buy the business. Her mum lied about her being at the restaurant without Trish asking her to. Hm. So who was the third? They said three people were there, that was pretty much the whole Hendry family alibi.
Tyrone just walks himself into the Sutherland home, he doesn’t think anyone is there so he just wanders around looking at the shrine the parents have built for their missing daughter. A thump draws him to find Blanche’s mum slumped onto the floor. Blanche’s dad ran into Arthur Hendry the night Arthur was murdered, then got drunk and went out in a rage. He was his wife’s carer, she’s in bad shape with him being gone for so many days.
I don’t know. That doesn’t seem to make sense, but leaving his wife alone after when family clearly meant so much to him? His phone hasn’t worked since that night, I have to assume he’s dead as well. His DNA was at the crime scene.
I’m confused as there appears to be TWO little Sutherland girls in pictures, what happened to the other? We’re only hearing about the one.
Oh wait, there’s a whole other thing going on, turns out Sutherland was the dead body and Arthur Hendry is the man on the lam. Isla lied.
I TOLD YOU SHE WAS A WRONG ‘UN.
Isla herself is on the run with son Danny, who totally killed Sutherland but we still don’t know why there was a speargun on a tour boat. Danny calls it an accident but he’s not quite right in the melon. He jumps overboard, McAndrews jumps after him and brings him back aboard as Annika calmly calls Her Majesty’s Coast Guard.
Arthur Hendry is found halfway to Norway, Isla is rounded up and taken to jail for the extra murder of Finlay.
As things are wont to do.
Annika tells us about her past, as we learn of her present; when she was 16 her parents moved to Norway. She stayed behind because she wanted to be a detective and so freed herself from the life her parents wanted for her. I know this is about the Hendry kids but I can’t help but wonder if that ties into what she’s doing with her daughter.
Hey! I think Morgan’s gay! Woooooo! Who knows, she’s fifteen she may not identify that way but she met a giiiiiiiiirllllll woooooo! And that’s where we leave it, stories of Captain Ahab all along the way.
That was fun, right?? I enjoyed that. Fast, quippy, cheeky and quite interesting. You wouldn’t think it was only a 45 minute show, given how much I went on about it, but it was and I heartily recommend it.
Until next time, everyone! Cheers.