JK Rowling's CB Strike brings you TV's next great detective, a complex plot and loads of thrilling crime drama
If the end of each part doesn't leave you thirsting for more, crime dramas aren't for you — because this is one of the best you will find on television right now
A fragment of J.K Rowling's exquisite imagination, the heartwarming character of detective Cormoran Strike is coming to the American screens this June. Based on the books written by Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, the series called 'C.B Strike', will air in three-parts on June 1 on Cinemax - 'The Cuckoo's Calling', 'The Silkworm' and 'Career of Evil.'
The fictional story follows a one-legged war veteran Cormoran Strike (Burke) as he tries to find his footing (no pun intended) as a private detective in London. No, this isn't the flashy Oxford street you're assuming it to be — these are the dingy alleys of a city that Strike has lived in for far too long. He's short on money, sleeps in his dirty old office in Demark Street, spends the day at the local pub and is struggling to find clients. But all that is about to change.
Enter Robin Ellacott (Grainger). She comes to work under Strike as a temporary assistant. She's a university drop-out but is extremely intelligent is sweet and kind and fascinated by Strike's work. The two soon find their first case together and that's when the real story begins.
Batman and Robin
Yes, that's who they remind me of. Strike and Robin are like two peas in a pod. They are so different yet fit in together perfectly into the plot. The show is an adaptation of the novels, so don't expect it to match the books to the tee. Nevertheless, the screenplay is amazing. The chemistry between the two is more than your average main hero and sidekick - they are partners.
She's the bright-eyed, soft-spoken, secretly ambitious, smart as hell assistant. Robin's character is a breath of fresh air in the crime drama world. She's got this quiet presence about her that you just cannot help but love and admire. Strike loves it too because, in the first episode itself, you'll realize that he's not the type to take attitude from anyone. She's also so well written, not once do you see her as a secondary character.
Here's where the writers can be applauded. Strike isn't patronizing, there is no hint of any kind of misogyny in the entire series — he treats her like he would treat anybody else he cares about and for once, that is a welcome change in the world of crime dramas on television. Robin isn't a sexy showpiece who is there to inspire sweat and wagging tongues — she's a silent force to be reckoned with.
Why I compare Strike to Batman is simply because of he's the greatest superhero of all time for me — a mortal man with the will to do what's right. He developed a bat suit and all the other bat paraphernalia, just so he could rise above. The detective has a prosthetic leg, which, though it may not sound like its something to harp about, is actually a big deal and you'll figure that out when you watch the show. It's all too realistic — the pain, the discomfort, the fight and the running.
What really stands out for me in terms of their chemistry is how warm it is — a stark contrast to the weather in every part of the series. Perhaps, it was meant to be a metaphor for them vs the outside world. Knowing Rowling, I wouldn't rule it out. She is known to put in easter eggs under layers. Strike is almost like a protective figure in her life. Robin gives Strike unknowingly, the opportunity to care about someone with no intention of shacking up with them.
Will they or won't they?
While this angle is obviously explored a lot more in the books, the series doesn't really do justice to the aching longing that the two characters have for each other. Having said that, it's not like it's absolutely non-existent. It's there, just more subdued.
Their friendship steadily grows with every second they spend together but romance isn't really on their mind. Probably because ever since the first time she steps into his office, Strike notices the massive engagement ring on her finger. She's engaged to a boy named Matthew, portrayed by Kerr Logan. There are instances of them that makes you wonder if there's something extra there, but the cleverly written scripts always find a way to make you rethink your assumptions.
'The Cuckoo's Calling' involves a case of a famous model named Lula Landry. She is found dead on the pavement outside her apartment right after a party. Landry's stepbrother approaches Strike to find out what happened. At first, he's not interested because it looks like a suicide but when a witness changes their statement, Strike knows something is wrong.
With the 'The Silkworm', the crime goes to a whole new level. Owen Quine, a famous crime novelist goes missing. In a desperate attempt to find out what happened to her husband, Leonora Quine begs Strike to take up the case. Prior to his disappearance, the author had written a book called Bombyx Mori - a horrifying story that has elements of cannibalism, torture, rape, sadomasochism, and necrophilia. As Strike unwillingly takes up the case, he finds something unimaginable - the author has been killed exactly as he has described the murder in the book!
The third case is closer to home. Called 'Career in Evil' this case takes our duo to Strike's past, from which very little is known up until this point. Someone sends a severed leg to Robin at Strike's office and he instantly knows that it's an enemy from his past. The two set off on a wild goose chase through London and Edinburgh trying to find what does this mysterious foe want.
As far as the predictability factor goes, it's quite insanely gripping in terms of the crimes. When it comes to their interpersonal relationships, it's sadly underwhelming. You can easily guess their fates.
The man in Robin's life
Mathew is a painful, annoying and sulking fellow and kudos to Logan who has done an amazing job portraying him. Apart from the other two characters, his performance is commendable. He is so whiny you wonder what Robin even sees in him. And let's face it, every one of us has had that kind of a partner at least once in our lives. He's pitiful and selfish and judges Robin for her choice of profession.
From his perspective, he's right. She is grossly underpaid, has unpredictable hours and has no time for him. It's an immature character but portrayed with absolute brilliance.
Binge-worthy or bogus?
Definitely binge-worthy. If the end of each part doesn't leave you thirsting for more, crime dramas aren't for you - because this is one of the best you will find on television right now. 'C.B Strike' is a league of its own.