DVD Review– Black Work
Black Work is a three-part miniseries, with each episode lasting about forty-seven minutes. As the show begins, Jo Gillespie is a police officer whose marriage is in uncertain waters. Her husband, Ryan (Kenny Doughty), a fellow detective, has been distant lately, though he has shown signs of wanting to repair their relationship, which in Jo’s mind is more neglected than strained. Meanwhile, Jo has been in the middle of a deepening friendship with a male colleague; the nonphysical relationship serves essentially as a form of free therapy for her, while her married pal is starting to pressure her to turn their platonic relationship into a full-fledged affair.
Jo doesn’t want to imperil her relationship with her husband, but her hopes of saving her marriage are dashed when Ryan is found brutally murdered in an out-of-the-way spot. A devastated Jo tries to protect her daughter and stepson (Ryan’s ex-wife is very much in the picture and is trying to use her ex-spouse’s death to regain full custody of her son), but very quickly Ryan’s secrets are revealed. For about a year, Ryan was in the middle of a major undercover project, one that he kept completely hidden from his wife.
As the investigation proceeds, doubts about Ryan’s honesty arise, as do Jo’s concerns as to whether the police are really trying to solve the case, or just hurriedly attempting to wrap up everything so as to protect reputations and prevent additional nosing about into department secrets. Against all advice and orders, Jo launches her own investigation to find her husband’s killer, and the results are more dangerous and scandalous than she ever imagined.
Black Work is a good, solid miniseries with a strong performance by Smith, who manages to switch back and forth between anguished widow and steely-eyed angel of vengeance without any false steps. The plot is intriguing, though at times the stable of suspects isn’t managed as elegantly as it could be. All in all, the show is nearly always engrossing, though it never manages to be especially original or brilliant, so fans of contemporary police procedurals ought to find it worth their time.