Blimey – ITV1’s new series Identity (Mondays, 9pm), about a police unit tacking identity theft, is a stonkingly good, modern feeling, high concept drama which knocks the socks off almost everything the channel has shown in years.
Keeley Hawes was superb as DSI Martha Lawson – truth be told she was on far better form than was the case with her sometimes whiney Ashes to Ashes character Alex Drake – and co-star Aidan Gillen was on fine form as cocky undercover cop John Bloom.
Like Sky’s recent Strike Back series, the show’s design owes something to BBC One’s Spooks – nothing wring with aping success – and certainly rivals the spy drama in the characters running around, spouting clever-sounding dialogue stakes.
Few recent shows arrive on screen with such an accomplished series opener – producers often seem to think audiences will give every new show a few weeks to settle down but frankly ITV can no longer afford such assumptions – even if the crime of the week was resolved on a slightly flat note.
That minor grumble aside this was drama of a quality I’d long given up hope of seeing on ITV.
Lord only knows if channel bosses will do the right thing and recommission the series – too many ITV dramas get pulled after an initial run – but on the strength of this first episode they finally seem to have a series which can reverse a well deserved (and seemingly deliberately cultivated) reputation as a home for unambitious, cheap, celeb-based output.