It’s been a while I reviewed any series adapted from books but thankfully I managed to catch up on one of the series I really wanted to watch last year but finally got around to it in the last few weeks.
Season 1 of C.B Strike based on the books by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling. Duh) features seven episodes. All based on the first three books in the series namely – The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil. I was really hoping to read them but for some reason the blurbs never interested me though I was keen on watching the series. The first three episodes are based on The Cuckoo’s Calling, the next two each on The Silkworm and Career of Evil.
Let’s get into the review:
- The Cuckoo’s Calling – This one starts with introducing us to the two main protagonists – Cormoran Strike, a private investigator and Robin Ellacott, his newly employed Secretary. The beginning is not a pretty picture. Cormoran is almost out of job, estranged from his ex and nears eviction but his luck changes as soon as Robin enters his life. He gets a new client – a brother of his former deceased army friend. Their adopted sister (supermodel) Lula has apparently committed suicide but he and his family thinks it was a murder. He wants Cormoran to get to the bottom of it. But the killer is far more clever than you would have guessed.
- The Silkworm – A wife hires Cormoran for finding her husband who has been missing for almost ten days. He is an author who last wrote a very damaging piece of work featuring his friends, family and colleagues. Soon Cormoran finds his body and decides to investigate the murder. The police suspect it’s the wife but the killer is not that easy to find.
- Career Of Evil – Two women are found murdered and dismembered, one of whose legs are sent to Cormoran but addressed to Robin. Knowing this is a personal attack on him, both Robin and Cormoran decides to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. But turns out Cormoran is framed for the murders and Robin’s life is in danger. Meanwhile Robin and Mathew(Robin’s long time bf) may have called it quits and is a romance between Strike and Ellacott possible?
First of all the acting is commendable. There are times when I really dislike Cormoran yet he is not dislikable at all. Tom Burke plays an exceptional part in portraying Strike and since I have never seen any other work of his he has now become the face of Strike for me. Meanwhile what a breath of fresh air is Holliday Grainger – you might end up watching the show just to see her radiant smile. Together they fit a slightly unusual but definitely pleasing puzzle.
Their past life is efficiently included in the narrative. Strike is an ex army man retired on disability – he has only one leg. Whereas Robin is in between jobs and is temping for Strike in the beginning of the show, she has also studied psychology and has always wanted to be a private investigator. Needless to say by the end of the first storyline her job has become permanent.
The tone and atmosphere of the show is almost bleak – but maybe thats just the London weather? Ha. It quietly plays a part in creating a tense atmosphere when required and provides a consistent theme to the show. The storyline themselves borders on absurd to scary. The Cuckoo’s Calling was not a murder mystery I particularly enjoyed, where as The Silkworm had disturbing imagery and was a notch higher in creepy. The last one in particular – Career of Evil was what was most like a murder mystery. Perhaps because the characters had evolved to an extent to make us watch them be in danger is what made it more satisfying than the others?
One might argue the relationship between Strike and Ellacott is reminiscent of Holmes and Watson but though it comes across in some situation but perhaps because of change in gender it isn’t obvious and not in your face either which is refreshing as well as these are two colleagues who are respectful of each other and their work and that comes across.
I haven’t read the book as I mentioned in the start and I have to be honest I don’t think I will any time soon, while the characters are definitely meaty and strong, the overall execution of the show has been a bit of a let down. While its not full of style and unnecessary drama, which is good, it also lacks a coherence of sorts in stitching all the clues that leads to the culprit. It could be better in the books though. In the end I would say its definitely not binge-worthy but the leads will make you want to watch it if you are a fan of murder mysteries.
Pros: Acting, settings, characters, dialogues, cinematography
Cons: Script, Execution, perhaps lost in ‘on-screen’ translation
Bibliogyan Verdict: Not the best among its genre but worth a watch for sure.
IMDb rating: 6