Jack Taylor, In Purgatory. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Iain Glen, Siobhan O’ Kelly, Jack Monaghan, Christopher Fulford, Laura Aikman, Sean Mahon, David Herlihy, Sarah Jane Seymour, Peter Campion, Erin Gilgen, Roy Fleck Byrne, Conor Quinlan, Eva Jane Gaffney, Cian Kelly, James O’ Sullivan, Patrick O’ Brien, Cathal Pendred, Jack Walsh, Leah McNamara.

Jack Taylor, unlike many of his detective counterparts on television, always seems to have a special place in Hell reserved for him. You won’t find the likes of Morse or Columbo and certainly not Miss Marple, finding themselves wracked in the realms of personal demons and dogma attached to Taylor’s mother’s Catholic tastes or the world in which Taylor in habits freely and with almost the taste for sin that so readily gets kissed. Hell might be too good for Taylor, however In Purgatory as he readies to be cleansed from that guilt association is the perfect place for him.

For many the world inhabited by gamers is enough to believe in a Hell, that somehow the passion for sitting infront of a screen all day and wiping out Zombies and soldiers, taking on alien incursions and killing pixelated people is enough to feel there is no hope left for humanity, yet it is a growing trade, worth billions, possibly trillions and it is one that is ripe for corruption, theft and murder. People have killed for less but when a computer games company’s latest game goes missing, murder and assassination are the least of Jack Taylor’s worries.

The episode arguably was always going to suffer in the wake of its predecessor, Nemesis, however it was one that was handled with sensitivity, the dab hand of calm and with the partnership between Noonan and Taylor back on track, even if the fly in the ointment of British former Detective James Mason still hangs round buzzing away down Taylor’s ear. It is an episode in which the recent trials of Taylor’s life have been resolved and his mental exhaustion almost seemingly healed, and for that it doesn’t quite have the menace needed to suggest Hell is a place in which to reside, this is the healing and purgatory is often as good as it gets.

The episode also suffers slightly from the misplacing of accents, a relative high in Jack Monaghan’s Darragh Noonan’s split Manchester/Irish brogue but unfortunately one let down by Laura Aikman’s Mid Western American inflection on her voice; it is the small details that might not make a lot of difference to a show’s worth but can pull down the edge of credibility that is needed to keep the illusion of mystery going.

In Purgatory is a very good episode but one that was always going to suffer under the weight of expectation, as a third series however it has been truly good to welcome back Jack Taylor after a three year break.

Ian D. Hall