Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
When it comes to ITV dramas, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the content this channel puts out. While I didn’t take too kindly to both Liar and Cheat, Manhunt was a surprisingly robust and grounded crime drama.
Back for their latest six part crime effort, ITV return with The Bay. Boasting an intriguing premise and a big dramatic secret shared between lead investigator DS Armstrong and one of the suspects, The Bay starts off well. Unfortunately this slowly peters out, delivering a pedestrian, indifferent crime drama unlikely to be remembered that long after it’s finished broadcasting.
The story itself revolves around a quiet community situated on a seaside bay. After sleeping with a man at a bar, a hungover DS Armstrong arrives to work the following day to find herself fronting an investigation into a pair of missing twins. Acting as the family liaison, Armstrong is horrified to learn the Father of the twins happens to be the same man she slept with the night before.
Keeping things under wraps, she fronts the investigation and works to try and discover what happened to the twins. Across 6 episodes, we learn what happened to both Dylan and Holly and the various faces involved with their disappearance. All of this builds to a climactic finale where Armstrong’s secret is revealed in a messy flurry of drama along with a premature reveal of the events that occurred with the twins.
While there are some surprises and little twists along the way, The Bay’s methodically slow pacing and lack of natural drama and mystery make it a predictable show. In a way, The Bay is the TV equivalent painting by numbers – it’s still watchable and hardly boring but it also lacks some substance and creativity to make it really satisfying.
This is reinforced through the characters too. Excluding the secret Armstrong holds that conflicts the way she feels about Shaun, the various characters feel very archetypal and lack any real charisma. Med is the stock newbie character, their boss is the typical straight-and-narrow middle aged man while the family all have their own secrets with a suitable amount of disdain for the police.
All of this would be fine but for the mystery around the twins being resolved in the fourth episode, alleviating any mystery and leaving us with these indifferent characters to tie up any remaining loose ends for two episodes.
Of course, it’s not all bad news and The Bay does tick all the boxes when it comes to the crime drama tropes. It’s certainly better written than Cheat which dropped earlier this year but in a bid to try and remain grounded, it lacks the creativity the former had in abundance. While it’s a completely inoffensive show, The Bay is one that’ll drown in the endless sea of crime dramas out there.