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There is no doubt that 'Moses Jones' has it's problems. As already stated it is overlong for the plot it has been given, it gives away it's secrets too quickly, (never a good idea for a police drama), and has a pretty tight budget.
However these do not destroy the overall enjoyment but rather are just annoying.
The plot has a black detective being assigned to a case of ritual murder inside the African community in London. His bosses feel it needs someone with an African background and so Jones is sent to investigate alongside his somewhat racist sidekick. The plot revolves around a former dictator trying to re-establish himself and using force to gain some power among the African expats.
There are one or two stereotypes and the wheels come off a little with the far fetched ending but Shaun Parkes is convincing and very watchable in his role as the detective whose talents are less important to his bosses than his family background. He is tired of the continual barrage of institutionalized bigotry but remains calm and manages to rise above it with some wit and charm. Matt Smith is a great sidekick with his clueless and ham fisted way of dealing with people given some relief by his humour.
There are some good plot twists and solid support acting.
While not the BBC's greatest effort this is very watchable and it's quiet appearance is a little surprising given the rarity of a strong black lead in a police drama,( or any drama really ), set inside a black community. That Parke's role has been so well written is a refreshing change from the near exclusive sidelining of black actors to either comedy, support roles or the 'disposable one' in disaster plots.
Not the strongest of starts then but strong enough and certainly an opener to raise hopes of more to come and the introduction of a series that will improve and gather a larger following as it progresses.
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on 5 September 2009
Award winning playwright Penhall explores a forgotten corner of multi-cultural London in his first original screen play that focuses on his lead character's struggle to comprehend his own cultural identity and where he fits into this lost world as he examines a very brutal murder.

Parkes makes a charming lead with his powerful central performance that holds together a diverse cast that includes an insipid performance from Smith (the new Doctor Who), Walker, Varma, Akuwudike, newcomers Mosaku and Abili, and veteran Waterman.

Episode one layers on the intrigue as Parkes and Smith become uneasy bedfellows as they commence their investigation and make their first contacts with the charming Walker, the gorgeous Mosaku and the menacing Abili who seems to stand above it all. You're a sick man, Moses Jones.

Episode two sets Parkes and Smith at each others throats as the frustration builds until Mosaku and Varma point them in the direction of the slimy Waterman and subsequently pay for their indiscretion. Even bad guys need music.

Episode three builds up to an explosive conclusion as Parkes and Mosaku become close, Abili goes over the edge, and all reveal more personal links to the case the previously suspected. We need armed backup, now!

The creators use the gritty back alleys of immigrant London as the setting for a dark and violent drama series with nauseating scenes of violence that are not for the feint of heart that dissects it's main character with all the subtlety of Soloman's baseball bat and comes to a confused and somewhat rushed conclusion.

To make peace, first you must make war.
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on 14 August 2010
Looking for something that would pass time on a recent long train journey I came across this series - had never heard of it but I like Shaun Parkes and was curious to see Matt Smith. It was great to see such a well-acted, gritty, bleak drama unfold - definitely one for grown ups with themes of identity, belonging and exclusion as well as gut-wrenching violence. The first episode in particular is a bit slow but it's worth sticking with. You see a different London to the one normally shown in TV series like Spooks - and an insight into the lives of people we don't normally see on TV. If you like intelligent crime dramas with a political slant it's worth giving a try and if you've seen the Last King of Scotland this is like the other side of the coin.
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on 13 April 2009
Although I watched this for the same reason many did, Matt Smith, I was captivated by this vibrant and thrilling drama. A fast script, if a little slow at times. Shaun Parkes and Matt Smith are rather underused in their roles, but the focus on a subject rarely explored apart from to gain PC Points or show stereotypes is an interesting one. The cast is brilliant, the subplots sublime, and overall a fantastic mini-series. Let's hope Jones and Twentyman tackle another case in the future!
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on 26 August 2011
Another example of the Beeb going where others fear to go. A crime drama set in the world of legal and illegal immigrants in London with a backdrop of African dictatorships and tribal conflict. Worthy - maybe- but also exciting and entertaining with memorable characters and plot. The bad guy (I wont say who it is) is an acting tour de force.
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on 18 November 2011
I was impressed with the 3hrs of Great Entertainment. Some say that's longish but to shorten it down would have been criminal. It is just right with the background building up around the main part of the story to give a professional film, well worth watching.
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on 14 April 2015
I bought this DVD to add to my Matt Smith collection. It was screened shortly before he took on the role of Dr Who. It is rather graphic for violence and the plot line needs to be followed with concentration.
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on 7 December 2015
Interesting police drama in a part of London not often seen on television.Well acted drama with Shaun Parkes,Matt Smith and Denis Waterman.
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on 6 October 2013
quite a gutsy tale, with some twists and turns in the story. Some of the violence seemed unncessary, but v atmospheric overall.
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on 17 February 2009
A three hour cop drama that promises much, but ultimately disappoints.

Whilst the leading actors deliver fine performances through out, this lacks the punches, surprises or twists that are the hallmark of truly engaging "gritty" TV thrillers such as Messiah or Prime Suspect.

Focusing on the a variety of Ugandans now domiciled in London, detective Moses Jones is called upon to investigate an apparent ritual murder of a down and out. Patronised by his boss's assumption that he is somehow conencted with the Ugandan ex-pat community, DI Jones is joined by the wonderfully named Sergeant Twentyman, played by new Dr Who, Matt Smith.

Their investigations take them through a maze of the usual crime staples - seedy brothels, corrupt politicians and reluctant witnesses. Inevitably and precitably, Moses Jones (his very name surely intended to reflect his dual identity of integrated Brit and black African) has to comes to term with his and his native country's history to make sense of the mystery.

Although, herein lies the problem. There really isn't much of a mystery here at all. So limited is the plot that, dragged out over 178 minutes, the pace is yawningly slow. Revelations about the secret past of a number of the leading characters have virtually no impact on either the unfolding drama or the audience's empathy with them.

There are no key moments when we alter completely our view of any of the men and women involved. Victims are victims. Baddies are baddies. Thugs are thugs. There is a grinding one dimensional predictability to it all.

The TV viewing figures would have been boosted enormously - and artificially - by the presence of Matt Smith in his first major role since being cast as the 11th Doctor.

There are worse ways to while away three hours then watching Moses Jones. But don't expect to be blown away by it. This is a cop show with ideas above its station. Neither engaging in its plot or incisive in its social comment, this will leave you thinking it really could and should have been so much better.
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