BBC drama is on a roll. Already this season they’ve given us dazzlingly ambitious hits like Bodyguard, Killing Eve, Wanderlust and Black Earth Rising. Now comes this six-part thriller dealing with weighty issues of identity, radicalisation and racism, starring Paddy Considine in his first TV role since Peaky Blinders in 2016. The writers, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, are new to television, and that might explain why the tone and detail of the script feel so fresh and authentic.
Considine plays a veteran counter-terrorism officer who operates in the shadows, using a secret gaggle of informants in deprived inner-city communities. His quietly ambitious young police partner (Bel Powley) encourages him to take on a new undercover snitch — Raza, a young, second-generation Pakistani man from East London, played by charismatic newcomer Nabhaan Rizwan.
After an eye-catching set-piece chase sequence, the opening episode establishes the main players in the drama with impressive efficiency. The central character of Raza, in particular, is beautifully drawn — at once a total charmer but also a politically aware young man who knows when he’s being coerced and manipulated. Filmed in a heightened vérité style reminiscent of director Paul Greengrass, Informer is yet another BBC drama triumph.