Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Neil Dudgeon, Fiona Dolman, Nick Hendrix, James Atherton, Frances Barber, Neil Morrissey, Sam Troughton, Manjinder Virk, Philip Bird, Phoebe Campbell, Marty Cruikshank, Emilio Doorgasingh, Susan Fordham, Ty Hurley, Vicki Pepperdine, Sara Powell, Katy Cavanagh, Joe Sims, Clive Swift.
When those who watch become all powerful, is it any wonder that those under the microscope start to wreck a little havoc of their own, to tip the balance back in the favour of common sense rather than authoritarianism, the pettiness of the small minded that can lead to people in rural villages falling out with each other.
Trust in Midsomer Murders to pick upon the argument that pervades in every country village, those left on the outskirts of policing by distance or by sheer bad fortune, that they are left to fend for themselves and the best way is organise a neighbourhood watch; fantastic in many ways, always looking out for each other but drastic in others in which those consumed with power become a law unto themselves. It is in this law that Crime and Punishment neatly fits into the spectrum of stories in the Midsomer catalogue, that the escalating issues in any society, without proper regulation can be damaging and just as hard to investigate than burglary, anti-social behaviour and car theft, as they can easily turn to murder.
For the Bleakridge Watch, Crime and Punishment is shown to its ultimate conclusion, the secrets and lies of those wishing to keep and maintain order beyond what is essential and those who wish to see life more relaxed, the dichotomy set out, in more comic terms of course, in the British film Hot Fuzz.
With a wonderful return to the screen and in a role more suiting his well versed acting capabilities, Neil Morrissey lights up the screen as pub landlord Mitch McAllister and whilst his fellow suspect Sam Troughton isn’t in the episode for any lengthy period, he also proves once again that he is one of the finest of his generation when it comes good quality acting that the audience can get excited about.
Crime and Punishment is a very good episode but one based completely in the subtlety of village life, one that really does capture the point in which some believe themselves to be the law in any area of society but one with no formal training, just an opinion.
Ian D. Hall