The Chelsea Detective is a BBC produced television series that has come out relatively recently. The currently released series consists of four episodes, each about 90 minutes long on Acorn, and (at least for the moment) also available on Amazon Prime.
Chelsea is an area of west London, and naturally enough the setting of this particular series. This series is a bit more police procedural than Cozy, but definitely a very well done production. The series’ sleuths are Detective Inspector Max Arnold (played by Adrian Scarborough) and Detective Sergeant Priya Shamsie (Sonita Henry). Other recurring cast include deaf pathologist, Ashley Wilton (Sophie Stone), junior detectives Connor Pollock (Peter Bankole) and Jess Lombard (Lucy Phelps), and family members such as Priya’s husband Nitin (Davood Ghadami) and Max’s ex Astrid (Anamaria Marinca).
As is often the case in police procedurals, both detectives have baggage of their own. Mac is going through a messy relationship breakup as the series begins, and is living on his houseboat while his ex is still in their “flat” (apartment to us “yanks”). He’s also processing the relatively recent death of his father. Meanwhile, Priya is returning to work three months early from her maternity leave for the birth of her daughter – and she seems to be having some trouble adjusting to a maternal role.
Of course, these personal dramas aren’t the main focus of the show, but they do provide a counterpoint or occasional parallel to the case of the episode. Max and Priya are first and foremost murder detectives, though they are sometimes called in to determine if a suspicious death is or is not murder, and likewise are called in for suspicious disappearances where foul play could seem very likely. The mysteries themselves are all quite well done. The 90 minute run time for each episode is long enough for the case to have twists and turns along the way, but not so long that they start to feel tedious or overly complicated.
That said, it’s the byplay between the leads that really excels over many other shows of this type. The banter between Max and Priya gives the show the same sort of atmosphere from many of my favorite British detective shows, such as Morse or Frost. If you’re a fan of well-written British detective shows with strong interactions between the lead actors and solid mysteries, I’d strongly recommend The Chelsea Detective.
The Chelsea Detective is currently available on Acorn, and on Amazon Prime (as of the time of this writing).