Grace Series 3 Preview – Dead Like You – Tonight ITV1, 8pm

Something a little different on the blog today. A few weeks back I was invited to preview the first episode of series 3 of Grace, ITV’s adaptation of the Roy Grace novels by Peter James. I’ve really enjoyed watching the earlier episodes so jumped at the chance for a sneak peek courtesy of Riot Communications and ITV. Episode one of the new series is based on Dead Like You, book 6 in the Roy Grace series, and airs tonight, Sunday 19th March, at 20:00 on ITV1.

Photo: ITV Studios

John Simm reprises his role as Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, for a new series of ITV crime drama Grace. Also starring Richie Campbell as DS Glenn Branson, Zoë Tapper as Cleo Morey, Craig Parkinson as DS NormanPotting and Laura Elphinstone as DS Bella Moy, the new series comprise of three feature length films covering books 6-8 in the series, Dead Like You, Dead Man’s Grip and Not Dead Yet.

Photo: ITV Studios

A chilling event at the Royal Edward hotel on the night of Assistant Chief Constable, Alison Vosper’s leaving do forces Grace and Branson into a difficult position when they must investigate all hotel guests, including high ranking East Sussex police attendees. Something about the incident is causing a deep unease in Grace – he knows he’s seen this before. Has a sinister offender from Grace’s past dubbed the Brighton Prowler resurfaced or is this a copycat? As the attacks continue, Grace is convinced it’s the same man – and delving into the past may be the key to saving the next victim.  

ITV Studios Press Release

What an episode this is! From the very opening scenes you get that ominous sense that something dark is about to happen. With two separate events happening at the hotel on the same night, we are swiftly introduced to a number of key suspects in what turns out to be a serious sexual assault. Amongst them are a number of serving police officers, the key one of which is Grace’s new boss, ACC Cassian Pewe, portrayed in excellently smug and affected style by Sam Hoare. He and Grace have history and this new investigation in which Pewe becomes one of the prime suspects will not help calm the waters.

I do love John Simm’s portrayal of Roy Grace as he turns in yet another calm and measured performance. In Dead Like You, Grace appears to be making great strides in his relationship with Dr Cleo Morey, although the path of true love never runs smoothly, and if there is any doubt about that then Grace only needs to look to DS Glenn Branson for evidence.

This is a dark story, covering a series of serious sexual assaults, taking Grace, and viewers, back to a case much earlier in his career. Recognising similarities to a serious of assault from ten years earlier, Grace pursues evidence and theories his superiors had forced him to abandon, trying to right wrongs of the past. It gives the makers the opportunity to run a dual timeline story which drops vital hints of what is yet to come, and gives greater insight into the strength of Grace’s character in the face of old school misogyny and prejudice. Several character arcs converge, resulting in a conclusion which is shocking, if not surprising, with a final scene which makes me all the more excited to watch episode two.

If there is one moment of light amongst all the darkness, aside from the idea of Branson trying to teach Grace how to operate a computer games console, it is Craig Parkinson as DS Norman Potting. He comes across as the sarcastic and unapologetically non politically correct old style copper, but underneath the often brash exterior is a dedicated officer who just happens to revel in getting under people skin and speaking as he finds. There are several scenes which made me smile if not chuckle out loud and Parkinson inhabits the role perfectly. I can’t imagine better casting.

Another absolute winner of an episode. Roll on next week.

Grace airs tonight, 19th March, on ITV1 at 8pm.

About the Series

Grace is an adaptation of international, bestselling author Peter James’ award winning novels, with over 21 million Grace novels having been sold to date. Episodes one and three (Dead Like You, Not Dead Yet) are written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip, with Ed Whitmore writing the second film (Dead Man’s Grip).

Starring Richie Campbell as DS Glenn Branson, Zoë Tapper as Cleo Morey, Craig Parkinson as DS NormanPotting and Laura Elphinstone as DS Bella Moy, the new series comprise of three feature length films. Dead Like You was directed by Camilla Strøm Henriksen, Dead Man’s Grip by Isher Sahota and Not Dead Yet by Will Sinclair. Grace is a co-production between Tall Story Pictures, part of ITV Studios, and Vaudeville Productions. Executive producer for Tall Story Pictures is Patrick Schweitzer, and Andrew O’Connor and Paul Sandler for Vaudeville Productions. Peter James and Kiaran Murray-Smith also executive produced the new films.

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