NEWS FEATURE: Scott & Bailey

We won't keep you long, but just a brief heads-up: Series 2 of ITV1's Scott And Bailey draws to a close this evening, in about an hour, in fact.

Tonight's finale sees the return of Nasty Nick Savage, the slimeball corrupt barrister who tried to have Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones), murdered upon her discovery of the extent of his illegal proceedings. What will happen when they meet? Did Rachel assault him? Will anybody actually be in any real peril for longer than an episode? Well I could be wrong, but probably not.

That's the thing about Scott and Bailey. It is a bit predictable. The murderers are so obvious that the suspect may as well wander in with a bloody dagger shouting "yeah an' 'e deserved it an' all!", although of course in a more suitably Manchester accent.

The plotlines are predictable. It's all too often screamingly obvious which conversations are happening for the sole reason of setting up the next episode. Certain characters who I shall not name (Sean) may as well have 'I am a plot device' scrawled across their foreheads in permanent marker, and that's not to mention the overwhelming sense that every murder will inevitably involve a male misdemeanour along the lines of what he could or could not keep in his trousers at some juncture.

The female characters are unusually strong, granted. Amelia Bullmore's Godzilla, also known as DCI Gill Murray, is particularly fabulous, Pippa Haywood's DCI Julie Dodson comes a close second, and of course no discussion of Scott & Bailey would be complete without its Scott, Lesley Sharp's Janet.

But again, predictably, and sadly in this case, the men they are surrounded by, with the exception of the odd, well none, actually, are a collection of increasingly gormless twerps, barely able to string a coherent sentence togther let alone solve a Major Police Incident. Which is a shame, as there is little point having strong female characters when there is no one for them to satisfactorily outshine.

All this said, however, and I do feel I am being a tad critical, the show is, to put it blunty, bloody brilliant. It's predictability really doesn't matter a jot once you get more than a couple of episodes in, in fact, it's all part of the fun. All that really matters is Janet, Gill and Rachel, and what's happening in their personal lives is usually of far more interest than any actual crime storylines anyway.

All jibes and criticisms aside, Scott and Bailey is engaging, fun, and comes complete with a script so full of razor sharp one liners you'd think the producers' hands would be covered in Elastoplast by now.

And sometimes, that really is all you need.

Scott & Bailey finishes tonight, on ITV1 at 9pm.

- Jen

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