TV Review: Bancroft (series 2)

New Year’s Day saw the long awaited second season of late 2017’s stand-out drama, ‘Bancroft’ on ITV. Starring Sarah Parish as lead Elizabeth Bancroft, series 2 builds on the chaos of series 1.

And throughout series 2, the madness is now unrestrained. Veering more and more towards a cross between the corrupt police officers of ‘Line of Duty’, with the mad plot twists and gaps of ‘Hollyoaks’, for those of us who enjoy an outlandish police drama, it has simply got better and better.

From here, there will be spoilers on season 1, so if you don’t want those… Don’t read on. You can watch series 1 for free on ITV Hub, and I would recommend it. If you haven’t seen series 2, that will also be on there.

We saw in series 1 that Bancroft, before having an extremely successful police career, was responsible for the murder of Laura Fraser, the woman who had an affair with her husband back in 1990 and subsequently fell pregnant. When Katherine Stevens (Faye Marsay) got assigned to cold cases, including this one, Bancroft began resorting to underhand tactics to keep her secret buried forever. At the end of series 1, Bancroft shot Katherine in the head, leaving her in a medically induced coma. Her fate is revealed in the opening of series 2.

She also was involved in trying to cover up drug crimes and deaths in order to improve statistics to further her own career, and even bumped off drug queen Mrs Kamara and made it look like an accident. Roz Huntley, anyone? In series 2, this progresses, with a new young officer now also caught up in her mind games. But her rival, Cliff (Adrian Edmondson), is suspicious about the events surrounding Stevens’ attack, and so she must also deal with that. She attempts to use a merger to force his retirement, but he’s not thrown off of the scent.

The finale is…. chaotic, and as over-the-top as you would expect from ‘Bancroft’. Every crazed, taboo topic you can think of… yeah, it’s probably here in some way. Although it feels rushed at the end, it could both be a plausible ending for the show, and also sets up for a possible (if unconfirmed) series 3. The acting is excellent throughout, even though everything else is ridiculous. If you’re prepared to suspend reality for a few hours of fun and crime…. this is a great show for you.