Archive: Off The Cuffs

New police drama with an ensemble cast which includes Ashley Walters and Amanda Abbington, new BBC Drama Cuffs details the ups and downs of front-line policing. Set against the backdrop of Brighton, the squad work together to police minor public incidents as well as chasing down serious offenders.

Even in ensemble cast shows, there is normally someone you would dub as the main character, whether it’s because of their storyline or their screen time. And although not everyone may agree on who the main character is meant to be, it at least shows that the shows varying plots are equally weighted, and interesting.

Solely due to the set-up of the opening to this episode, I deduced that to a certain degree, the main character of Cuffs was PC Jake Vikers (Jacob Ifan); very early twenties, gay, the son of the Chief Superintendent and a rookie. On paper, you would think this character was so layered that there were 101 ways to portray him. Unfortunately it seems that the production team took the easiest four and we were left with the world’s dullest potential central character.

Luckily, or unluckily for PC Vickers there seemed to be too many characters plus all of their baggage, dumped on you within 50minutes. There were so many things happening it felt like to much hard work to stay on top of who was who, what their personal issue was, and what they were dealing with at work.

I understand the need to outline key plot points in the pilot, but for an 8 episode season, they could have left one or two things for the second or third episode, to at least give us a reason to come back for more.

The term “Off the Cuff” means to be impromptu or unprepared and it seems like the producers behind this show were just that. However I did appreciate being transported out of the usual dreary locations of most police dramas, and into the sunny skies and reflective sea of Brighton.

In all honesty, if it wasn’t for my number one rule when it comes to new TV Shows; Never judge an episode by its pilot… I would not be tuning in for episode two this Wednesday.

Cuffs showed most of its cards too soon and the next 7 episodes will be for us to just watch where they lay.


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