There’s a certain painful delight in not knowing what’s around the next corner. If you were to stop and think what the perfect formula is for a particularly compelling book, movie, or television series, it’s the trustful bliss of not knowing what’s coming next, but being confident that the creators of whatever you’re enjoying at the time are effectively leading you somewhere exciting. That the wait will have been worth something.
Tracing back to the early origins of pen on paper and flickering images on a screen, the Brits have had a firm grasp on leading consumers right up to the edge of a cliff, making them pause there for a spell, and then pushing them off. Be it EastEnders, Sherlock, or Shakespeare, it’s a suspenseful thread that runs deep. Nothing beats a good tension-taut drama, and Grace, a gritty and suspenseful two-feature-length-episode series based on Peter James’ Roy Grace crime novels, will have viewers begging for answers when it airs exclusively on BritBox.
Related: 14 Charming British Mystery Shows for Your Binge-Watching Pleasure
At the tail end of a year+ global pandemic, many people have the sensation of reaching the “end” of television after hours, and days, and months of seemingly endless viewing. But even though you may feel like you’ve made your way through every possible option, there’s a lot of fantastic TV left for you to watch, and much of it allows you to travel far across the veritable pond from the comfort of your own home. BritBox, a streaming service born from a collaboration between BBC and ITV, offers exciting mystery and true crime original series and films, available to United States and Canadian audiences for the first time.
Grace, which stars John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who) as the titular character, DSU Roy Grace, is one of the latest BritBox originals. The series presents a return to the art of building tensions in a way that would make Peter James himself feel proud. And with each episode written as a 90-minute full standalone episode, you can be sure these thrilling cases will reach a satisfying conclusion.
British television is full of nail-biting crime dramas—many of which are featured amongst the plentiful selection that BritBox has to offer. From novel adaptation series like Vera, Rebus, and Shetland to exciting original concepts like The Fall, River, and Line of Duty, BritBox has all the dramatic tension and mystery you could want. But the streaming platform’s new Grace series knows how to take that essential suspense and make it delightfully unorthodox.
Related: 13 British Crime Dramas to Die For
Directed by John Alexander and Julia Ford, Grace is a two-episode series effectively broken into two movie-length episodes. As both episodes are complete in their own right, you can watch both separately without missing out on any piece of the story. The two episodes use Peter James’ books, Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead as source material, and keep to the author’s general vibe closely, while also instilling a bit of modern grittiness to the imagery and pacing.
The first drama, “Dead Simple,” exclusively premiered on BritBox on April 27, 2021. It introduces the titular character as a man who’s a bit at his wits end. Both his career, and his personal life have seen better days, and he’s being called into question for using untraditional methods for solving cases. Turns out the higher courts don’t take psychics and mediums quite as seriously as Grace does, but whatever gets the job done, right? The second episode, “Looking Good Dead” will air exclusively on BritBox on May 4, 2021, and we guarantee you won’t want to miss it.
For fans of Peter James’ novels who may wonder how the show will compare, John Simm gave a few words to The Mirror on that very subject saying, “It's a delicate balancing act because they’re two different things: A novel isn't a TV show, and a TV show isn't a novel. While we're trying to be true to source material, it's a TV show and so fans of the novel... some of them will be up in arms because it won't be the characters they had in their head. But there's nothing we as actors can do about that, we just have to serve the script and what is in front of us.”
The first of Peter James’ Roy Grace novels, Dead Simple, was released in 2005, and the success of the book propelled the author to write 17 more. The latest books in the series will be coming out in May of 2021. The first, Left You Dead, comes out on May 13, and a novella called Wish You Were Dead hits markets on May 27.
Related: 10 Underrated British Mystery Books to Add to Your Bookshelf Now
In an interview with journalist Jim Palmer, James says that he got the initial inspiration for Roy Grace from a real police officer he’d come into contact with. Whether the real man he crafted into the main character of his Roy Grace books will translate, in his mind, to that of Simm’s portrayal of him in Grace is a cliffhanger all its own. But we’re guessing it’ll be right on the money. Let us know what you think after watching both episodes exclusively on BritBox.
For Grace and other great mysteries with intriguing plot twists, visit BritBox at the link below.
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