Two self-obsessed cops who can't seem to edit what they say, a supporting cast ranging from cerebral to insensitive, and a lot of slide-off-the-sofa-laughing humor make these three episodes from "Vexed" fun and worth seeing.
This is one of those shows that takes banter and wit to a politically incorrect extreme, and I'm embarrassed by how often I laughed, out loud, watching the first three episodes. Then, I recommended the show to my husband and I laughed even harder, watching these episodes with him.
I saw this show (in the US) during a short run on Acorn TV, but the lack of captions required several rewinds to understand the fast-paced dialogue and slang. Mostly, what these detectives say and do can be so appalling, I had to pause and replay sections to be sure that, yes, they really were that insensitive.
So, I came to Amazon looking for this show on DVD so I can have a version with closed captions.
I was already impressed with Lucy Punch (Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders) because she can play insensitive women with depth that's light years beyond the usual stereotypes. In "Vexed," her acting skills were pushed to an extreme. Few actors could deliver the role of DI Kate Bishop as seamlessly, humorously and convincingly as Punch.
Toby Stephens plays opposite her with a roguish twinkle in his eye and all the tact of a sledgehammer. (It's no surprise that Stephens won both the Sir John Gielgud Prize for Best Actor, and the Ian Charleson Award, for his title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1994 "Coriolanus," and he has a long list of other impressive acting credentials.)
If you're easily offended by humor that walks that fine line just barely on this side of acceptable, you might not like this series. However, if you recognize this as something bordering on parody, and remember that it's entertainment, not real life, you may -- like me -- watch this over and over again, impressed by the writing and the acting skills that make it work.
With less adept actors, this show could be merely tasteless and two-dimensional. The wit and audacity make it work.