COLD BLOOD: INTERFERENCE
At the time I reviewed Cold Blood, I made the comment that the ending had been left open-ended but it was difficult to see how the basic premise could be stretched to fill an entire series. The Cold Blood films were continued with three further tv movies aired in 2007, Cold Blood: Interference here, followed by Cold Blood: Dead and Buried (2007) and Cold Blood: The Last Hurrah (2007). Tom Needham, who penned the first two instalments is again present as writer, while Jemma Redgrave, Matthew Kelly, John Hannah and Ace Bhatti all reprise the roles they played through the first two films. Added to the regular mix is the always quirky Pauline Quirke as the chief detective.
To his credit, Tom Needham follows the storyline left open at the end of Cold Blood (II) about the future of Jemma Redgrave and John Hannahs relationship, which the story here starts to tentatively dance around. One of the more interesting new characters is that of Ally (Russell Brand) who maintained a mail correspondence (and it is implied romance) with John Hannah while he was in jail where he wilfully blurred the line to let Hannah think he was a woman and who now turns up as a stalker. Russell Brands initial appearance, where he shrugs off John Hannahs rejection with lines like If you want me to be a woman I can be ... I think the least I could get is a kiss hits an amusingly disturbed note, all the more for the way Brand tosses it off with casual understatement.
The great disappointment about Interference is that it abandons most of what made Cold Bloods (I) and (II) work and is for the most part lacking in the razor sharp tensions and psychological games of the originals. Except for a few moments near the start, Matthew Kellys Wicklow is confined to a hospital bed and only appears sporadically throughout. There are a couple of scenes where what made the first two Cold Bloods work emerges as we see Matthew Kelly intuitively deducing the nature of Jemma Redgraves relationship with John Hannah and taunting her about her refusal to want to know the truth about what Hannah did.
The bulk of Interference is centred around Jemma Redgrave and Ace Bhatti investigating a rather mundane mystery about whether an intellectually handicapped teenage boy was responsible for a murder that he was convicted for. Here the psychological tension of Cold Blood has been reduced to no more than an episode of a British rural crime drama like Bergerac (1981-91), Hamish MacBeth (1995-7) or Midsomer Murders (1997 ). Even as a murder mystery, it is a story that lacks any real tension. One of the more implausible parts is the need to have to wind in John Hannahs character when the stalker appears, Pauline Quirke improbably decides, rather than to order police protection or relocation, to take him to stay at the same hotel where they are staying for the course their investigation. Equally improbable, though he has the job of a furniture restorer, Jake has now become a brilliant psychological profiler solely as a result of spending several months cooped up with Wicklow, with dazzling insights not only into Wicklows motivations but also of the murders they are investigating. Why the police allow a civilian to take part in an investigation and why they do not have their own psychological experts on hand is one of the storys major credibility gaps.
The biggest disappointment comes in that having effectively sidelined Matthew Kellys Wicklow for the bulk of the film, the main story that comes to the fore fails to be interesting enough. A degree of interest is engendered at the start of the investigation but ultimately the script fails to provide any satisfactory twists or revelations. [PLOT SPOILERS] Moreover, the ending eventually reached is a damp squib that never adequately explains what happened with the first murder or why both Jemma Redgrave and the boys mother arrived at the conclusion that he was the guilty party after all. We never even get to find out who stabbed Wicklow in the jail shower or why. The script is frustrating in its lack of proper murder mystery resolution.
Clip from the film here:-