Monday, 10 July 2017
732 Edge of Darkness
First viewed : 19 December 1985
I couldn't watch the original run of this political thriller on BBC 2 due to the domestic situation previously described but I was aware of the buzz around it and so I was grateful for Michael Grade's decision to give it an immediate repeat over three nights at the start of the Christmas holidays.
Edge of Darkness starts with the brutal murder of Emma Craven ( Joanne Whalley ) an environmental activist who is blown off her feet by a shotgun blast while returning home with her father Ronald. Ronald is a taciturn widowed police detective and his colleagues believe he was the intended target after his stint in Northern Ireland. Craven however does his own investigating leading him to two suave civil servants, Pendleton and Harcourt ( Charles Kay and Ian McNeice ) who tell him they think Emma was the actual target after she led a raid by her Gaia group on a nuclear waste facility to determine whether they were illegally storing plutonium. Harcourt is quite upfront about using Craven's desire for truth to investigate the plant for themselves. The CIA are also interested and Craven is paired up with larger than life agent Darius Jedburgh ( Joe Don Baker ) to raid the plant.
I enjoyed the series but was troubled by one scene which I couldn't get my head around. During his own raid, Craven comes across the drowned bodies of the Gaia team which include Emma herself. Craven exclaims "They all drowned". I could accept the shooting as an hallucination but Craven only knows every other character as a direct consequence of that incident so is the whole thing a dream ? For some time afterwards, I went trawling bookshops looking for a novelisation of Troy Kennedy Martin's script to answer this conundrum but to no avail.
The series was lauded across the board and many years later became a feature film ( with the same director ) starring Mel Gibson which I haven't seen. Both Peck and McNeice found subsequent work in Hollywood. Strangely, Kennedy Martin seemed to rest on his laurels after the series and produced surprisingly little of note in subsequent years. He died in 2009.