Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4– | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2/5
If there’s one thing ITV know how to make it’s a crime drama. What’s predominantly a one-trick pony for this terrestrial station, ITV have a knack for creating a wide variety of different crime dramas for different tastes. Whether it be the gritty, realistic Manhunt or the soapy and scandalously silly Liar, this is a station notorious for wildly inconsistent quality.
When The Bay dropped in 2019, it brought with it a gritty story mixing in some contrived, unbelievable twists that went down surprisingly well with the general public. While it didn’t deliver anything particular special or outstanding, it was solid enough to warrant a follow up season. Fast forward 2 years and The Bay is back, with a brand new shocking murder, some great twists and one underwhelming finale to boot.
The story this time around sees our characters in a very different place after what happened at the end of season 1. Lisa has now been demoted to a community support officer while Med is now her superior and working as a sergeant. Manning is still in charge of the precinct while Lisa finds trouble at home as her kids continue to grow and rebel against her.
At work, a shocking murder brings all the troops back together to cover this case which involves a man named Stephen Marshbrook shot dead on his doorstep in front of his son Oliver. Traumatized, the young boy and his grieving family struggle to come to terms with what’s happened. However, it’s up to Lisa and Med to work through this family’s pain to uncover the truth and learn more about this dysfunctional family unit.
And dysfunctional is the key word here. While everything seems normal on the surface, there’s a lot of secrets being kept here that threaten to spill out at any moment.
The family in question is fronted by patriarch Bill who has mental health problems, his son Mark and partner Stella, Stephen’s wife Rose and the estranged, wild-child of the group, Grace. With the family law firm mixed up in some questionable dealings with a group called Breakwater, it’s up to Lisa, Med, Manning and the others to uncover the truth any way they can.
Much like the first season, a lot of the investigative work is broken up by various team meetings which help to recap the events that have taken place and piece together key facts of the case.
Of course, sometimes this feels like retreading familiar ground while the dialogue can be a little clumsy at times as characters repeat events or exchanges we’ve already heard before in a previous scene. As a weekly watch this is easy to gloss over but as a binge, this does become a little repetitive at times.
Despite the engrossing case, The Bay throws in more contrived drama this time around in the form of familial issues for both Lisa and Manning. The latter sees his marriage break down while a face from Lisa’s past returns and threatens to change everything Lisa has worked so hard to build up in her life. No spoilers of course, but by the end of the season there’s absolutely no development on either of these storylines. Not really, anyway!
Having said all that though, The Bay serves up a much-improved follow-up this time around with a pacier storyline and a really involving mystery. With multiple suspects to choose from, the end reveal is actually pretty underwhelming and disappointing, flatlining what’s otherwise a pulsating watch.
It’s not perfect, and there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement here, but on the whole ITV deliver a surprisingly compelling follow-up that should please crime drama fans.