By Sadie Robinson
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BBC cop show could be better at showing corruption

It gets off to a shaky start, but police drama Better—about the dealings between a top cop and her informant—improves as it goes on
Issue 2843
Actor Leila Farzad, dressed as a cop, looks worried and serious, in a still from BBC series Better

Corrupt cop Lou in Better

A corrupt Leeds cop is deciding whether or not to change her ways in the new BBC drama Better. Lou has been in cahoots with the city’s biggest drug dealer, Col, for years.

They’ve made each other’s careers. But after a change in her personal life, and a series of grisly discoveries, Lou is thinking of quitting.

It’s a good series with a shaky start. At first Lou just comes across as completely closed to those supposedly closest to her, such as her husband Ceri, as she prioritises her work for Col.

This is boring as she feels like a caricature. But it soon becomes clear there’s more to her. Other characters, especially Ceri, their son Owen and ex-cop Vernon, are really well drawn.

The gruesome bits aren’t gratuitous. And it’s also really good at depicting the complications in relationships.

There are also hilarious bits. When Lou goes to arrest one of Col’s associates, Noel, he says he has a hostage. ‘I’m not a hostage, I’m his fucking cousin,’ comes the deadpan reply.

There are some plot issues. Owen’s bout of meningitis that nearly kills him is shown as the major reason for Lou’s change of heart. This didn’t seem to make sense—yet the story hinges on it.

Lou is also shown as being disturbed by some of the brutality meted out to protect Col’s empire—and hating the idea that she’s responsible. But how can this violence be a shock after nearly 20 years of working with him?

The drama gives the impression that corruption is limited to Lou, as if Col only has one cop working for him. It’s not clear in the initial episodes whether Lou will break with Col. Or whether corruption will be shown as simply one bad apple or a rotten barrel.

The latter would make it a better programme, but it’s worth watching either way.

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