Strike is a British crime drama based on the eponymous detective novels written by J. K. Rowling Robert Galbraith. I’m a big fan of the books and had enjoyed BBC’s adaptation of The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, the first two books in the series, but somehow had missed the two-episode take on the third book, Career of Evil. With a new season around the corner, I decided to catch up with the incredibly charming lead pair of Tom Burke (Cormoran Strike) and Holliday Grainger (Robin Elacott) in their third outing.
A severed limb received in the mail forces Strike to go through his old rogues’ gallery to track down the killer. He comes up with three major suspects, with each more despicable than the other – his mother’s rock star junkie husband, a psychopathic pedophile, and an ex-army man who tied up his wife and left her for dead next to their baby. Despite the alarming mentions of severed body parts and sexual abuse, Career of Evil is not that violent (like say, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and mostly has the feel of a cozy mystery.
The chemistry between Burke and Grainger is great. I unabashedly ship Strike and Robin, despite Strike being an Arsenal fan, which is saying something, considering I’m a huge Spurs fan. Their character interactions are so much fun, compelling and entertaining, as the show manages to capture the camaraderie from the books. However, as good as the show tries to replicate their delightful banter, there are still some hysterical anecdotes (see below) that invariably get lost in the translation to live-action format.
Robin thought it might be the very first time that Strike had ever given any indication that he saw her as a woman, and she silently filed away the exchange to pore over later, in solitude.
Over the course of the two-episode story, we follow along as Robin and Strike try to solve the twisted case. With a lot of pages not making the cut in the TV version, I found the central investigation not as gripping as it was in the book. But, the character-driven drama at the heart of Strike more than makes up for its less-than-perfect central mystery. Hopefully, this issue gets addressed in the upcoming adaptation of Lethal White, which has a much longer runtime of 4 episodes.
This series is heavily recommended for fans of Veronica Mars. But if you are someone who would rather read, I cannot recommend the book series highly enough. It also has the added bonus of a new book (Troubled Blood) coming out next month.