The tension is mounting in the first episode of Trigger Point, Jed Mercurio's ITV drama which returns for a second season this week.
Two make-shift bombs are stuck to a gate, stopping a group of firemen from accessing a fire at a power plant. Vicky McClure’s Lana Washington, an Explosives Officer (Expo), has returned to work a day early and is gearing up to deactivate the devices. Her second in command, the phlegmatic Danny, played by Eric Shango, turns to her: “Been here before, haven’t we, boss?”
We have indeed been here before. Trigger Point’s second season continues on a similar path to the first; Lana and Danny are called to action, they deactivate (or don’t) a mysterious bomb, and then, across the episode, they incrementally discover new evidence that slowly leads them towards the series overarching culprit. This time, however, Lana’s less sure of herself (understandable after she lost her brother and partner in the traumatic first season) and her team is adjusting to having her back after a much-needed break.
The episode throws us into the action, a bomb going off before the first commercial break and Lana strapping herself into a blast suit within minutes. She’s still torn up and not quite ready to go back to work, something that becomes clear the moment she risks her own life after a switch fails to trigger.
It’s a great use of show rather than tell. But then, we bear witness to multiple chats around police cars. We’re told who’s getting married, which characters are friends, who’s now in charge (Julian Ovenden’s incoming commander), and how Lana’s ex, Thom (Mark Stanley), has moved on to a new girlfriend, his co-worker, Helen (series newcomer Natalie Simpson).
The result is a tonal mish-mash as we learn characters’ feelings intermixed with Expos trying to cut bomb wires. One scene later epitomises the whiplash; one moment, Thom’s standing on a pressure plate and it’s surprisingly funny as Lana tries to calm him; the next, as Thom still stands there, Lana’s earnestly revealing that she still loves him and a sudden music cue tells us we’re supposed to be moved. It’s just odd all around.
And the less said about the show’s logic, the better. Characters go from having to carefully step through a minefield to sprinting through it without a second thought in a particularly preposterous scenario.
Yet, somehow, like the first season, Trigger Point is incredibly watchable. It’s pure entertainment, unbothered by reality. The writers know you want to know whodunit; they know that a ticking time bomb and huge melodrama make for edge-of-your-seat viewing. It may be entirely absurd, but it knows how to have fun. Just leave your brain at the door.
Where to watch Trigger Point: ITV and ITVX from January 28
⭐️ Our rating: 3/5
🍿 Watch it if you liked: Line of Duty, Bodyguard
🎭 Who's in it?: Vicky McClure, Mark Stanley, Nabil Elouahabi, Eric Shango, Julian Ovenden and Natalie Simpson
⏰ How long is it? 6 x 60 minute episodes
📖 What’s it about? Lana Washington, the head of bomb disposal at the Metropolitan Police, returns to duty to find another terrorist group mounting an attack on London.
Vicky McClure rejected comfy bomb suit option (Bang Showbiz, 2 min read)
Will Line of Duty return for seventh season? (Yahoo TV UK, 4 min read)