One of the TV series that I finally got round to watch this Easter holidays was State of Play. It’s a six-part miniseries from 2003 that stars some of the finest British acting talent around. It tells the story of an MP, Stephen Collins, (David Morrissey) whose secretary falls in front of a tube station. Shortly after suspicion starts to arise as to whether their relationship was truly just on a business level and it doesn’t take long for him to be forced to admit that they were, in fact, having an affair together. Cal McCaffrey, one of the country’s top journalists is given the task of digging up as much dirt on the story as possible but since he has a personal relationship with Collins he is reluctant to dig as deep as he normally would. Until his colleague, Della Smith (Kelly Macdonald) finds a link between the secretary’s death and the death of a young black male that happened at the same time. As the plot thickens the events around the death are found to reveal a shady story that takes a deep look into the darker sides of politics and journalism. The show also stars Bill Nighy, James McAvoy and Phillip Glenister.
State of Play is something really special. One of the tensest series I’ve ever watched with a mystery so well thought out that the slow unravelling of truth becomes a fast-paced thriller full of dark secrets. As you would expect with such an amazing cast the acting is superb but the standout of the programme as a whole it’s writing. The whole series is written by Paul Abbott who previously wrote Cracker and has since been the creator of Shameless. It’s hard to fathom though how such a multi-faceted series can have come from just one mind and makes the whole thing even more impressive.
It is, without over-exaggerating, one of the best tv shows I’ve ever watched and it makes me wonder why there isn’t more stuff like this about on TV. It’s made all the more relevant with the Leveson inquiry still fresh in the memory as it questions the relationship between the press and the government so if you haven’t seen it before now is a better time than any.