The Code: Ep. 1

“The hours stop,
The days unwind,
At half past
The best of times.”

Paul Shapera

The Code is a brand-new Australian drama on BBC4, no less. And it’s an excellent demonstration of why BBC4 exists.

It’s a political thriller about journalist Ned Banks and his possibly-Aspergers brother Jesse who begin investigating the deaths of a couple of teens in New South Wales. But there’s something someone doesn’t want them to know: the online newspaper for which the journalist works is hacked and an incriminating video removed; Jesse’s semi-legal “investigations” of an energy company’s servers goes badly wrong; and a top politician appears to be hiding something. There’s obviously a massive conspiracy going on somewhere, because there always is in these things.

This first episode is perhaps a little slow to start; it’s all rather grey and muted, like a Le Carre novel or something like Chasing Shadows, and the camera cuts between several different characters who are all obviously linked, though it’s not clear how or even why they are significant. (I was getting myself lunch at this point, though, so my attention was not fully engaged.) But about halfway in everything begins to pull together and it all becomes rather exciting. The show uses the floating text that made Sherlock look so dynamically interesting, and Ashley Zukerman as manic ex-convict hacker Jesse is magnetic and rather endearing at times. Also there’s the promise of Faramir David Wenham next week, so I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t keep watching.

I mean, it’s no Sherlock. But it’s certainly better than quite a lot of what’s on television at the moment. and I’d rather spend my hour watching this than, e.g., New Tricks.

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