29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Flipping through the channels late one night, I happened across a particularly dark, yet compelling show that I discovered was a 4-episode British television program (aired on PBS' Mystery) called Touching Evil. The show, and the lead character, Inspector Dave Creegan (played by Robson Green), sucked me in immediately. With his piering blue eyes and slightly bemused manner, Creegan is at once haunting and haunted.
We follow Creegan and the OSC, a fictional serial crimes unit, as they investigate various bizarre crimes. Touching Evil is only structurally similar to your standard crime drama, going so much deeper in regards to characters and their quirks. Throughout the course of the series, we watch one investigator's life fall apart just as Creegan's is coming back together.
Touching Evil is dark, moody, and irresistible; it's like nothing else on television. And it's the best thing I've seen on TV in years.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Without doubt the Touching Evil series is, along with Prime Suspect, Wire in the Blood (also with Robson), one of the finest mysteries ever developed for television. Once again British television leaves its Stateside counterpart in the dust when it comes to creating a well-reasoned, educated yet infinitely watchable "who-done-it?"
Robson Green's Creegan has a intensity that is deeply affecting and eminently watchable. Just shy of being over-the-edge, Creegan is instantly likeable yet worrisome; like an old friend whom one is justifiably concerned about. Yet he's not so "out there" that we find it difficult to identify with him. Quite the opposite.
Nicola Walker is his perfect partner, D.I. Taylor. Like the best entertainment, Touching Evil isn't a one man show and while the major burden may fall to Robson, he is surrounded with a rich and varied supporting ensemble with a genuinely stand out performance from Shuan Dingwell as D.C. Rivers.
I'm glad to see Season 1 finally making it to DVD! Dare I wish for "Touching Evil IV?"
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 1999
This is one of the best mystery series I have seen. It's moody and dark and has an excellent storyline. I was hooked from the beginning. I loved Robson Green in Reckless and this shows he can certainly carry off a drama as well. The thing I really liked about this series is that you really felt like you knew a bit about the characters and their quirks. Also, you got the impression of something dark and sinister going on w/o actually seeing blood and gore. American television could certainly use a few lessons!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2000
Touching evil is dark and creepy genre at its creepiest. Robson Green is a cop who was shot in the head, died clinically and came back to this side. Maybe not so successfully either. Now he's assigned to an elite squad set up to work on tough cases that local police can't crack. Tough cases and lots of burnout take its toll on the team and personal lives. The first case (my favorite by the way) spins off threads that weave throughout the whole video. Nicola Walker does the tough cop beautifully, Robson Green is weak, strong, tough and confused all at the same while trying to put his life back together and Ian McDiarmid is incredibly cold and creepy as the suspect in the first case (told you it was my favorite) which I think is the strongest story too. I love dark, creepy psycho drama and this is right up there. Boy I used the word creepy enough,didn't I? Four cold hands up your back for this one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
I saw Touching Evil on PBS' Mystery! when it first came out and my husband and I were totally hooked. Touching Evil is a gripping and stylish British mini series about a crack team of detectives, the Organized and Serial Crimes (OSC) unit. The series examines the effect evil has on the people it touches on a day-to-day basis--the men and women who are sworn to fight it. The mini series is six hours long, composed of stories about three different crime sprees. Each series of crime is distinct, but the way the crimes affect the members of the team forms a thread tying all the episodes together. The story comes full circle in the end.
This is a gritty drama about serious crimes. It's not gory or graphic but some crimes are disturbing--the series IS about killers. The first episode is the most disturbing, dealing with a serial killer who killed two children years ago and recently kidnapped three more. The first episode centers around the desperate efforts of the team to find the children before it is too late. The use of children isn't gratuitous--it ends up being the cornerstone of the whole series.
The series is centered around a different kind of detective--Dave Creegan. Complex and conflicted, Creegan wants to be anything but a detective, preferring a job that would allow him to hide from society. However he is also driven by an intense desire to make the world a better place. Creegan's sole purpose in joining the OSC is to save lives. He cannot comprehend why anyone could be satisfied with anything less. He abides by rules only so long as they don't get in the way. His unwillingness to be constricted by rules make him a liability, while his brilliant mind and uncanny perceptiveness make him the undeniable hero. Throughout the series, the viewer is led to wonder how far Creegan would go to protect the innocent.
Robson Green plays Creegan to perfection, depicting him as someone cold, yet caring, vulnerable, idealistic and extremely sympathetic. Green gives Creegan a razor-sharp intensity, further accentuated by his quick, clipped speech and wide, piercing eyes.
In the first episode Creegan joins the OSC, a tight-knit group of dedicated coppers who follow the rules and try to do the job right. Creegan has the support of the CO, who knows him from before, but he is a mystery to the rest. He doesn't let them in. His aloofness at first seems like clumsy manners, but Creegan had a near-death experience long ago that scarred him both inside and out, making it hard for him to function as part of a team. Initially it seems that there is The Team and there is Creegan--and the challenge lies in bridging the gap between the two. As events unfold, it of course isn't that simple. Is the team as solid as it seems?
Although the series centers around Creegan, the other characters are important. The actors do a good job of making them interesting and believable. Though not as openly conflicted, they are fully developed with their own priorities and concerns. DC Mark Rivers is the rookie constable, earnest and affable. His partner D.C. Jonathan Kreitman is older, more experienced, with sharp, suspicious eyes and a grudging demeanor. DI Susan Taylor is hardbitten, capable, ambitious and totally above reproach. There are other members too, but these form the core.
They balance and complement Creegan. It's not him being the brains and the rest the brawn. The rest of the team is essential to the process of solving the case. They care about what they do. Their professionalism and dedication help to hold it all together.
One thing I truly love about this series is that the actions of the characters make sense. They do things that seem logical for detectives or are at least consistent with their character's idiosyncracies.
There are a few key things that are a stretch. One is the incredible amount of manpower that the police have at their disposal. They have dozens of officers available to assist in interviewing or searching. I doubt that real life can muster that type of force, but it does make for impressive camera shots. Sometimes their use of technology is weak (in one case they could have used triangulation to trace a radio signal), but it led to some interesting scenes, so I could overlook it.
The biggest problem is that their treatment of the legal system is...silly...(especially if you've ever seen Law and Order). In this series, the legal system ALWAYS comes up short. The police do their job, but the law disappoints. I admit that this is extremely contrived, but the rest of the show is so enjoyable, that I can overlook this too.
Other than the legal aspect, the tightly written script flows smoothly and flawlessly. Every scene is necessary to the plot. Like any good mystery, this script is also challenging to the viewer, who has to follow the action and decipher the clues. Don't blink or you'll miss something!
Although I give high marks to Touching Evil, I was disappointed with the quality of the sequels (Touching Evil 2 and Touching Evil 3). I enjoyed seeing the characters reprise their roles, but I thought the plots were ridiculously contrived and lame. The main characters would occasionally do something smart, but usually do things that I hope no real cop would even consider. It was such a waste. The problem could be that Paul Abbot, who created the series and wrote the better sections of the first mini series, didn't write the sequels.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2004
I rarely watch American TV anymore because of the chance to see crime drama at it's best like the "Touching Evil" series. I have epals that I share my favs with and visa-versa. The "Touching Evil" series was recommended by an epal because of it's intelligent drama. I rented it, for the lowest price, of course, just in case it wasn't worth the cash. I really liked it.
I do have my favorite episodes, though. The first episode, "The Lost Boys" of the series and the first episode in Series 3. Series 2 and 3 do not have specific episode titles, so I call this one, "Hearts".
"The Lost Boys" introduces Detective Inspector Dave Creegan(Robson Green) to us. Creegan is volitile, yet brilliant. He had been wounded in the line of duty, which was followed by psychiatric counselling. It makes one wonder why ACC Enwright(Michael Feast) called him back into service. Creegan's emotional volitility caused the breakup of his marriage.
After getting to know Creegan as a character, the audience can see why. Creegan is a "driven" man and has instincts that can see through the mask of a criminal as he does in "The Lost Boys". Creegan sees through the mask of university professor Ronald Hinks(Ian McDiarmid-Sen. Palatine from Star Wars). Creegan fights with Enwright and other team members to get Hinks arrested for kidnapping 3 boys, but Hink's lawyers have a larger case for Creegan's harrassment of Hinks.
Creegan is teamed up with DI Susan Taylor(Nicola Walker), Detective Sargent Jonathan Kreitman(Adam Kotz) and Detective Constable Mark Rivers(Shaun Dingwall). There is conflict almost immediately between the team members.
I would like to see a 4th "Touching Evil" series, if only to clean up some questions before ending this intelligent series. My biggest question, of course, is "Why did Enwright bring Creegan back in the first place?" Creegan made it clear that he was a "one-to-one" person and that selling ice cream would probably be the best job he would enjoy AND he was psychologically unstable. There is also the question of why Taylor was picked to partner with Creegan.
"Hearts" is just plain brilliant. All the actors are at their best in this one, but Robson Green stands out. After the murder of a friend, he finally crosses that psychological line. Green is brilliant followed by Andy Serkis(Dr. Michael Lawler). The other actors follow closely behind.
Do I recommend this series. YES, but only the British one. When we Americans try to recreate a wonderful program like this, we always fall short.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 1999
I was looking for something to watch one night and was happy to stumble upon this great series. I love shows like The X-Files and found this one was also a great distraction from the norm as far as cop shows go these times. The filming was wonderful, and the characters fully fleshed out. I had trouble seeing them all on TV and was delighted to know there were videos for them on sale. I recommend Touching Evil for any one who watches The X-Files, dramas, or wants a movie-like experience on the small screen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 1999
Liked this series so much on television [PBS] that I bought the first series. Now all I require is... MORE, PLEASE. Touching Evil II? Touching Evil III? Keep going...it is a highly entertaining mystery series! Thanks for the hours of enjoyable viewing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2009
this british crime drama relies more on great acting skills and really good writing, than "special effects/superfluous gore". this series is the thinking man's law and order. each story is two parts long, and not every loose end is conveniently wrapped up by the end of the story. watching the series was like looking through a window into a snippet from real life. people don't always fit into neat boxes. the dialogue and storylines were very believable. this is what i liked about this crime series.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2001
While the direction, editing and cast are all super, this is series seems a bit exaggerated. The effect is fast-paced and dark. It isn't Britain's best, but it is good entertainment. One point of frustration is that the episode on the third tape makes references to an omitted episode, which I thought was the best of the first season.
You'll enjoy it if you like a good police drama. The accents and vernacular should be easily understood--I think the script may have been written to omit words that wouldn't be understood by Americans.