The Wrong Mans Rule #1 – After witnessing a horrific car crash on a desolate country road, never EVER answer the dead driver’s ringing mobile. If only Sam Pinkett had read rule #1.
In series one of The Wrong Mans, Sam Pinkett (Mathew Baynton) innocently answers the dead driver’s ringing mobile and then hears the words that would change his life forever, “If you are not here by five o’clock, we will kill your wife“. Unfortunately, for Sam, he runs into his Berkshire County Council ‘office buddy’ Phil Bourne (James Corden) who sees this as an opportunity to shed their respective mundane lives for the possibility for some excitement and adventure beyond what the mailroom has to offer and save the kidnapped woman. What follows is an excrutiatingly endless web of conspiracy, crime and corruption all due to a simple case of mistaken identity.
Sam and Phil may very well be well-meaning idiots, but they are still a bit off. You’d like to think that they both had learned their lesson and would return to their respective hum-drum lives but, unfortunately, you might want to think again. In series two, which premieres on BBCTwo and Hulu on December 24, it seems as though after an undisclosed mishap Phil and Sam are stuck 4,000 miles from home and are, apparently, presumed dead and must attempt to get home in time for Christmas to reclaim their lives. The two are locked in an American prison, presumably for a crime they didn’t commit but Phil seems to be more concerned with getting his Amazon orders in for Christmas than he is with getting home.
Series co-creator, writer and star Tony Award-winner James Corden (Into the Woods, One Man Two Guvnors, Gavin And Stacey, The History Boys) and co-creator, writer and star British Comedy Award-winner Mathew Baynton (Peep Show, Spy, Gavin and Stacey), are set to return with Golden Globe nominee Jim Field Smith (Episodes, She’s Out Of My League) as the producer and director.
Series two of The Wrong Mans will feature a stellar international supporting cast including Anastasia Griffith (Damages), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), John Ross Bowie (Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Bertie Carvel (Matilda, Doctor Who, Sherlock) and Ray Panthaki (EastEnders, 28 Days Later). Returning are cast regulars Dawn French (The Vicar Of Dibley, French & Saunders) as Phil’s fragile mum Linda Bourne, and Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It, Grandma’s House) as Cox, the unrepentant head of MI5. Sarah Solemani (Him & Her, Bad Education) reprises the role of Lizzie Green, Sam’s ex-girlfriend and former boss who is on the hunt for the truth. Other returning cast members include co-writer Tom Basden (W1A, Plebs) as Sam’s former colleague Noel and Alec Utgoff (Jack Ryan) as a strangely familiar Russian agent.
What struck me about series one was not only the obvious with the comedic talent of both Corden and Baynton but the ambitious nature of the series with top-notch production value. This definitely isn’t Are You Being Served or any other studio-based situation comedy for that matter. It doesn’t look like much will change for series two as both Corden and Baynton promise higher stakes, more danger and plenty of explosions saying, “Sam and Phil are different, they have changed as people because of everything that has happened to them, the stakes are higher and there’s even more danger now.” Can’t wait!