NR | 6 episodes | Streaming Series | Thriller | Jan. 23, 2022
In movies and TV shows, bomb squad cops fight the closest thing to real-life super-villains. They scramble to disarm elaborate Rube Goldberg-like deathtraps, constructed with tripwires, secondary triggers, and various decoy elements.
Yet, supposedly, there is a safe resolution, as long as the explosive expert cuts the right wires. That is the job of London Explosive Officer (EXPO) Lana Washington, who must disarm the increasingly destructive explosive devices created by a mysterious mad bomber in writer-creator Daniel Brierley’s six-episode “Trigger Point” (co-produced by prolific British TV writer Jed Mercurio).
The first episode nearly spoils the rest of the series, because it is such a masterclass in tautly executed suspense. As “Trigger Point” opens, Washington and Joel Nutkin, her colleague on the London police force’s explosives squad and a fellow Afghanistan veteran, are responding to a call at a London Housing project.
However, the real danger will not come from the first bomb they defuse. There will be more deceptive and destructive explosives for them to uncover.
The tension relents somewhat in the morose second episode, as Washington and her colleagues grieve one of their own, but Brierley gears it up again when Washington and her team find themselves pinned down by a sniper, while attempting to disarm the bomber’s latest device.
Initially, the joint-task force suspects Islamist terrorists, but Washington detects signs that point towards a far-right extremist group. However, Brierley has a twist up his sleeve that will totally muddy the show’s political implications.
Like any real-life cop, Washington must try to cope with a lot of family and personal drama, while racing to stop the bomber. For instance, her obnoxious younger brother Billy is starting to get into trouble with the law for his thuggish behavior.
She also has two potential love interests to juggle, the politically astute Detective Inspector Thom Youngblood, with whom she has been secretly involved with, and Karl Maguire, another fellow Afghanistan vet, whose acquaintance she just renewed at the police funeral.
It is hard for Brierley and directors Gilles Bannier (episodes 1-3) and Jennie Darnell (episodes 4-6) to maintain the visceral intensity of the first episode, but the sniper sequence and an incident involving a car rigged to explode, in a manner somewhat like that seen in the Spanish film “Retribution,” which has recently spawned multiple international remakes, both come close.
Throughout the series, it is clearly evident how military service had a profound impact on Washington and several other characters in “Trigger Point.” Generally, Brierley is sympathetic in his treatment of veterans, so in some respects, the series could be compared to the recent Prime hit “The Terminal List.”
Vicky McClure solidly anchors the series with her forceful but emotionally complex portrayal of Washington. Adrian Lester, maybe best known to Americans for his work in Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors,” is also a reassuring, stabilizing presence as Nutkin.
However, the supposedly secret bad guy hiding in plain sight is conspicuously obvious, again, much like in “The Terminal List.” Brierley and television writers in general should understand their viewers are paying attention, so they need to engage in greater misdirection to surprise us. Otherwise, they just make their protagonists look sadly unintuitive.
Regardless, Brierley and his cast exceed expectations as they fulfill all the conventions of bomb squad police-procedural thrillers. The action sequences are just as good as those in the Hong Kong-produced “Shock Wave” movies starring Andy Lau, but “Trigger Point” is less manipulative.
It is also much easier to root for London’s Metropolitan Police, rather than the HK force, who have been corrupted by the CCP and its puppet regime. Frankly, it is probably the best produced, most ethical option for viewers in the mood for some professional-grade ticking-bomb suspense.
Arguably, episodes two and three could have been tightened and compressed a bit, especially given the brutal effectiveness of the first episode, but Brierley and the two directors still keep viewers hooked and pull them through to the end.
It is the kind of series where no character is truly “safe,” so the stakes are always high.
Easily recommended for fans of bomb squad versus serial-bomber action, “Trigger Point” starts streaming July 8 on Peacock.
Director: Gilles Bannier, Jennie Darnell
Star: Vicky McClure
Streaming Series: 6 episodes
Running Time: 60 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 23, 2022
Rating: 3.5 out of 5