Talk about getting stuck in the nitty gritty! Once again, this BBC adaptation doesn’t shy away from the darkness with a surprise package of a severed leg opening the drama. As Cormoran Strike finds himself framed for the murder of a young girl, he narrows the suspect list down to three suspects from his past - Donald Laing, Jeff Whittaker, and Major Niall Brockbank. As Strike fights to find the true killer, we delve into both Strike’s and Robin Ellacott’s pasts and finally understand the issues at play within their lives.
Tom Burke comments that “Career of Evil was very different [from] the other two because the sort of stakes of the story arrive on the doorstep.” This new season allows for Strike to find himself again and put elements of his past to rest. It’s reassuring to see a series that does not hide away from the dark and twisty moments of being human.
Life is tricky for most people and I think he comes at everything with that. He knows that. It’s tricky for him; it's not tricky because he lost the bottom third of his leg; it’s not tricky just because his mother was murdered. It’s just tricky.
Setting up the season with a package containing a leg is one sure way to ensure that your audience knows they’re in for one heck of a ride. Where most crime series tend to follow a set path of murder at the expense of characterization and relationships, this adaptation is clearly working hard to keep Strike and Robin at the heart of this series.
Finally, Robin, portrayed by Holliday Grainger, is given the screen time she deserves, proving that she is more than just an assistant in Career of Evil - but this development and increased screen time definitely leaves everyone wondering, will Strike and Robin ever get together?
The dialogue is peppered with dry humor, easing you into the dark themes of this series, always arriving at the perfect time to give you respite from the horror. J.K. Rowling is still an executive producer on the series, and her voice and style are most recognizable in the sparring dialogue. Strike truly is the epitome of dark humor using it in a traditionally English way: as a coping mechanism to deal with the crescendo of emotions between himself and Robin. Tom Burke delivers the deadpan humor with perfect comic timing that allows for an awkward laugh to break the tension when a corny comment just doesn’t cut it.
More of the Strike world is uncovered in the special features, which include behind-the-scenes features and interviews with J.K. Rowling, Tom Burke, Holliday Grainger, and director Charles Sturridge. She also gives Strike fans some hope for future seasons:
The dynamic between them is what keeps people reading and it’s certainly what keeps me writing.
And in true JKR style, she leaves us with a cloud of mystery:
Through all of the books, I have seeded future plots. I know where he is going to go. I’ve already mentioned the things I need to mention.
I think it’s time for all eagle-eyed fans to dig out their copies of the series, binge-watch the box sets, and get their analyzing ready for the next addition: Lethal White.