When Scott and Bailey hit our screens in the middle of last year it was like a breath of fresh air. A lot of police procedural type programmes almost merge into one, but this one was sufficiently novel to make it memorable. Most viewers were hoping for a second series and happily we did not have long to wait. This time round we have the bonus of eight episodes rather than the six from the first series.
Janet Scott and Rachael Bailey are two overworked detectives from the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police. The format is that we learn a lot about Janet and Rachael in their personal lives and there is as much emphasis on this aspect as on the cases they are working on. For example in the first episode Rachael's hitherto unknown (by us) brother descends on her and we quickly find out that he is a convicted armed robber, which certainly complicates her life. Janet, newly recovered from the serious stab wounds she received in Series 1, has her mother staying with her for three months whilst recovering from an operation. This quickly causes major tensions with her husband and two daughters. Meanwhile the crimes they are investigating are interesting well thought out stories, arguably darker than Series 1. The combination of the professional and the personal make for compulsive viewing and this continues throughout the second series.
A lot of the strength of Scott and Bailey lies in the interaction between Janet and Rachael. Although best friends, it is a far from totally harmonious relationship. Janet is the older, steadier character, whilst Rachael is a little more unpredictable, but is usually the one who manages the inspirational leaps of imagination which is what gets the cases solved. She is also rather more non conformist which tends to put her in conflict with their boss, DI Gill Murray, who again is an excellent foil for the two DCs. It is fair comment that none of the men are in the least impressive, however, I think the three main women in this series more than make up for this, so personally I did not find it an issue.
The series finishes on a very tense and emotional note as the personal and professional aspects of one of the ladies' lives collide in a most dramatic fashion and her loyalties are tested to extremes. It was pleasing that we were not left with a ridiculous cliffhanger at the end, as this always seems so contrived. I am certainly looking forward to the Series 3 without requiring this sort of incentive!
A lot of the credit for the success of this show is the contribution of the two leads, Lesley Sharpe and Suranne Jones. However, Amelia Bullmore who plays DI Murray also puts in a very strong performance and really carries equal weight with the other two especially latterly. Clearly this is a successful formula and hopefully we can look forward to Scott and Bailey becoming an established part of our TV viewing in the future.