I will watch Nicola Walker in anything – anything. Her performances are mesmerizing, her facial expressions speaking volumes. She has a voice that is musical and soothing, even when she’s confronting a suspect, which she does often in her roles as a police detective. In the popular British crime drama Unforgotten, she plays DCI Cassie Stuart whose team worked on cold cases, helping to bring closure to families.
Walker’s role was even darker in the ITV series, Touching Evil, where as DI Susan Taylor she joins with DI Dave Creegan (played by the marvelous Robson Green), to crack down on organized and serial crime. In The Split, streaming on Hulu, Walker plays a divorce attorney trying to reach settlements between warring spouses, while also trying to save her own marriage.
Ukweli Roach as Tyrone and Nicola Walker as Annika Credit: © UKTV
Annika, now on PBS Masterpiece, has already been renewed for a second season. The crime drama started as a BBC Radio 4 drama, but proved so popular, a TV show was soon to follow. And when Walker was available, the production quickly came together. Annika Strandhed, a detective inspector in the Scottish police, was transferred to the Glasgow Marine Homicide Unit. A single mother, she brings along her unhappy teenage daughter, Morgan (Silvie Furneaux).
Jamies Sives as Michael and Katie Leung as Blair (Credit: © UKTV)
Since only one episode has been aired, there’s much to learn about Annika. Was she forced to transfer or was it her choice? While her reputation as a talented and tenacious detective precedes her, those on her team are not eager to welcome her. DS Michael McAndrews (Jamie Sives) believes the promotion was his and resents Annika’s arrival. Annika’s superior officer, DCI Diane Oban (Kate Dickie) pushes Annika to close cases quickly, while the others in her group, DC Blair Ferguson (Katie Leung) and DS Tyrone Clarke (Unwell Roach), do their best to impress their new boss.
Like Shetland, another British crime drama set in Scotland, the scenery in Annika is breathtaking. And because the location is on the coast, much of the action takes place on the water. (Annika even takes Morgan to school in a boat.) Annika’s first case involves a body found tangled in fishing nets, apparently killed by harpoon. The deceased owned a boat that took tourists on whale hunts. His family – a wife, son, and daughter – is devastated and looking for quick answers. Annika, however, proceeds by the book, taking nothing for granted.
Nicola Walker as Annika (Credit: © UKTV)
Unlike in other performances, in Annika, Walker breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience. There’s a wink-wink quality to these segments, almost like Walker herself letting us in on her thoughts about the case.
There are five more episodes to go. Check local listings or go to PBS Passport to stream.
Top photo: Nicola Walker as Annika on PBS Passport and PBS Masterpiece. Credit: © UKTV