ITV's Life of Crime is a gripping drama that spans three decades


With both DCI Banks and Scott & Bailey as brilliant examples of ITV’s gripping drama output, one can’t help but have high hopes for their newest entry in the police procedural genre, Life of Crime. With Life of Crime, the twist of the 3-part storyline is what takes it up a notch.

Life of Crime spans three decades in the life and career of risk-taking policewoman Denise Woods. Through each decade, Denise progresses through the Metropolitan Police Force showing how choices that she makes as a rookie officer have long lasting repercussions on both her professional and personal life.

The series begins when Denise, played by Golden Globe nominee Hayley Atwell (The Duchess, Any Human Heart, Pillars of the Earth, Captain America) starts her career as an idealistic WPC, fighting sexism and ignoring her mother’s clear disappointment at her career choice.

She’s seconded to work with handsome young plain clothes Detective Sergeant Ray Deans, played by Richard Coyle (Coupling, Strange, Covert Affairs). One September morning she accompanies him to a crime scene in a narrow lane behind a Brixton nightclub where the battered and strangled body of teenager Amy has been discovered.

Having just had a previous encounter with the teenager, Denise is determined to bring Amy’s killer to justice. She works against the clear instruction and advice of her senior officers and follows her own lines of enquiry. As the investigation progresses Denise’s fervor for the case leads her to fall foul of her senior officer, DCI Ferguson (Con O’Neill). But Denise stays single-minded in her pursuit of the killer and at that point makes her fateful decision.

In what is probably a nightmare for the series’ Continuity Department, becomes the cool factor for the audience. Life of Crime is set against the backdrop of iconic moments in British history, with the drama unfolding over the three decades. Viewers will first meet Denise against the backdrop of the Brixton riots in 1985, and then in 1997 as she rises through the ranks and again in 2013 when she is a senior officer with everything to lose.

The three-part Life of Crime will transmit on ITV1 beginning 10 May at 9:00pm. With the recent success of the likes of DCI Banks, Scott & Bailey and The Bletchley Circle, let’s hope for a U.S. broadcast on PBS in the not too distant future….