'London Kills' season 2 review: While murders continue to hound the detectives, the mystery of Bradford's wife will finally be solved
This article contains spoilers for 'London Kills' season two
When Acorn TV's original crime drama 'London Kills' premiered with its debut season earlier this year in February, it soared to immediate success with its character-driven, fast-paced approach mingled with the signature dark nuances of acclaimed British television series.
While the season ended on a cliffhanger, it also raised the burning question whether anything beyond the five episodes could top the sheer brilliance of the show's debut run. Months later, as we stand on the brink of the second season's premiere, rest assured, the thriller helmed by Paul Marquees has lived up to expectations and delivered above and beyond what season one packed.
Coming from the three-time BAFTA Award nominee Marquess, the creator of 'Suspects', the story chronicles an elite murder squad headed by the highly experienced detective inspector David Bradford (Hugo Speer). The ambitious detective sergeant Vivienne Cole (Sharon Small) who plays by her own rules, seasoned crime-solver detective constable Rob Brady (Bailey Patrick) and inexperienced trainee detective Constable Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin) make up the rest of the team that cracks down the grittiest of murders, all while trying to solve a far more personal mystery involving one of their own.
Bradford's wife, Sharon, has been missing for months now, and while season one kicked off after Bradford returns from compassionate leave for the same, season two finally nails the coffin on that mystery. That's right, we finally get to know what happened to Bradford's wife and it's nothing you could have expected!
There's thrill, there are complicated, twisted, staged murders, but most importantly there's tension — and none of it is the sexual kind that the genre's shows have been seasoned with in the past — all of it making season two just as steller a standout among its counterparts.
The action in season two begins after season one's finale that established that Bradford's wife, though missing, was definitely not murdered by the then prime antagonist, Amber. And even though there are grisly, gory bodies being uncovered in compromising locations and positions, season two manages to keep viewers hooked on Sharon's mysterious disappearance. In short, as shocking as each new episodic crime will turn out, never for once does season two let you forget that at its core, it's the mystery of Sharon they're aiming to solve. In the end, it's all connected.
The detectives aim at digging up more than just skeletons this season. Of course, it starts with skeletal remains dug up in the garden of a student house, but what follows are the brutal murders of a pub landlord, a teenage couple found dead in a very compromising position, and the double-shooting of a father and son. But somewhere in between, it becomes obvious that Bradford has been lying about the mystery of his wife too. What exactly happened is what the rest of the season aims at cracking, and Marquees pretty much excels in all his past projects through the storytelling in season two.
This season delves deeper into the relationship between Bradford, and his team member, Rob, and in that the chemistry between Speer and Patrick is captivating. They bring the essence of buddy cops without the comedy and suddenly everything falls into place amidst Vivienne's aura of cold suspicion and Billie's recently nuanced character that has learned from the harrowing experiences of her past. But the other, even more, prominent highlight of the season proves to be what seems like a pattern, or signature trope of the series at this point, where one mystery being solved opens the gateway for another, far intense one.
The other stellar aspect of this season happens to be its background score — creating the perfect essence accompanying the sinister, insidious nature of the crimes the detectives are about to come across. But what would draw you further in, is how it's not just the detectives who are the prime focus of the episodes. The victim's families going about their days, as they try to figure out what happened to their loved ones once again becomes a prime focus of the season. This gives it a more humane undertone for the shroud of grisly murders we encounter — something that allows season two to restore your faith in the genre.
'London Kills' season two premieres on Monday, July 15, only on Acorn TV.