Edge of Darkness (1985)
by Del Harvey
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This BBC mini-series is the basis for the soon-to-be released motion picture starring Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone. It was directed by Martin Campbell, the same director of the feature. Although the mini-series, which is in six parts, is much longer and more complex than any feature film could possibly be. Which is one reason that the original may just turn out to be the more intriguing of the two.
Scripted by Troy Kennedy Martin, Edge of Darkness revolves around DCI Ronald Craven (Bob Peck), a detective in a small, suburban London police precinct. Peck’s character is stoic and tough-skinned. He has to be, for in the first five minutes of the first series he witnesses his daughter (Joanne Whalley) being shotgunned on the front steps of his house as they return home late one night. Authorized by his superior to be an unofficial member of the murder investigation, Craven finds the search for his daughter’s killer leading him to stranger and more unexpected places, eventually leading to an environmental conspiracy that places greater concern upon profit over the nation’s welfare.
Aiding him along the way is CIA agent Darius Jedburgh (Joe Don Baker), outstanding as the larger-than-life maverick agent with a hidden agenda. As the British MI5 equivalents, Charles Kay and Ian McNeice are truly entertaining as agents Pendelton and Harcourt.
This mid-80’s espionage thriller is one of the most complex, emotional and well-crafted mini-series produced by the BBC. This Edge of Darkness is a sinister and fascinating edge-of-your-seat adventure whose message is just as relevant today as it was 25 years ago.
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Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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