The Tunnel: Defying the typical detective show

It was a feeble attempt to find a box set to watch which brought me across Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel.

It was a feeble attempt to find a box set to watch which brought me across Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel. I was willing to do anything to forget the fact that I had five essays to write in the spring holidays (I’m still trying to forget that I have two big exams in the next two weeks).

And so I set about watching The Tunnel because I recognised Stannis Baratheon from Game of Thrones and Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter. In truth I thought that it would never work. Stannis and Fleur put together?

As a law student, I’m not usually one to admit that I am wrong but, yes, I was wrong. The Tunnel is another wonderfully written and acted programme from Sky Atlantic. The French/English take on the Danish/Swedish drama The Bridge is complex, full of surprises and a different kind of criminal all together.

The plot focuses around French police officer Elise and English police officer Karl who have to work together when a body is discovered in the middle of the Channel Tunnel. And yes, I did have to Google about the Channel Tunnel to realise that there are two tunnels. But why was the body there? 

Well, it all centres around the killer they call ‘The Truth Terrorist.’ He is clearly a man with a motive, delivering what he calls ‘the five truths.’ Each of these truths highlights many social problems which exist in each country. What other detective show has someone known as ‘The Truth Terrorist?’

Prioritising viewing

And so it falls down to Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy to build an awkward friendship to catch the killer. Dillane plays the laid back British copper who is the complete opposite to Poésy’s uptight French detective.

The two of them worked better together than I had anticipated with Karl finally gaining Elise to realise that she did have an emotional side to her which she had done so well to keep hidden. It was scenes with these two which showed just how far their relationship came at the end of the day. They endured stages of awkwardness, fake pleasantries, and disagreements, but they finally came together.

By no means are these two your perfect detectives. Karl’s flaw is his strained relationship with his teenage son Adam and Elise refuses to open up her emotions to anyone. It is a stark contrast to her character in Harry Potter and I almost can’t believe that Dillane is both Stannis and Karl now.

But unlike some regular TV detective programmes, The Tunnel is a ten episode thriller with twists and turns in every episode. It isn’t a ninety minute show where there is a murder and you discover the killer. You need to stay with the programme to keep up with everything that is happening, and this is not an easy feat when you’re reading about equity and trust law.

You have to prioritise: The Tunnel comes first. With clever writing and brilliant acting, if you are ever bored of the stereotypical detective programme then this show is certainly worth the watch.

From the chilling opening music to the cliff-hangers at the end of each episode, it is impossible not to watch the next episode straight away. I only hope they make another series soon enough so that I can spend the next exam period procrastinating.

What do you think about The Tunnel? Have your say in the comments section below.