By Any Means: Episode 3.

Previously on By Any Means: Episode 2.

Half-way into the debut series, the old boys’ network is taking a good beating this week.

Using university connections and some good old bullying, Phillip Granger, business man and slimy git to boot, seeks immunity in the Columbian Embassy in London after a fire in a housing estate that he ordered killed 18 people. The writers have taken great care to expand on the repulsive greed and arrogance; and in the face of the impossible task of getting someone out of a heavily guarded embassy, they attempt the impossible anyway.

As was the motto on that other show co-created by Tony Jordan, Hustle: you can’t con an honest man. And, since this is less of a con and more of a government-sanctioned abduction facilitated by an inside man, Charlie, there’s another motto: you can’t let a scumbag like Granger get away with what he did. Christopher Villiers is playing Granger with so much obnoxious arrogance, yuck! His behaviour at the party is particularly dodgy, trailing after Luis like that and making an impertinence of himself with all the guests, one wants to personally punch him in the face.

In the end, though, just as it’s looking like everything’s going to hell, it turns out that the aborted abduction attempt was just a diversion, which was reasonably cleverly buried in between the planning.

Meanwhile, Charlie is struggling with the moral implications of getting close to Vanessa, the ambassador’s daughter, in order to get into the household as the inside man. Sadly, though, their getting to know one another was  one of the weaker points of the episode, I found. Funny, granted, but a little too drawn-out.

There’s also a decision coming up for TomTom. With his community service hours running out, he’s got to make a choice: to stay or to run for the hills. He knows that they’re doing what they’re doing for the common good, as they say, and he knows how much especially Jack and Jess are driven by their hatred of injustice. It’s a good cause, but if TomTom has one likely problem, it’s his aversion to authority and being kept in a gilded cage. It’s a relief that, by the end of it, he lands himself back in another round of community service in order to stay. I guess the gilded cage is better than actively agreeing to work for the powers that be.

On balance, this was another good episode, but not a great one. As I’ve said before, the spark doesn’t really catch. The highlight was definitely Honor Blackman as Celia Butler. One wonders how nervous the youngsters were about that day of shooting — you can see it in their faces, they’re adorably excited.

Next: Episode 4.

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