Amazon Prime:

I was trying to figure out what was wrong with this series. Whether it was me or whether it was possibly not that good. And I didn’t want to ask Felice her opinion, because I thought she wasn’t into it, and that once she expressed her thoughts that would be it, we’d shut it down, move on, for she has veto power. And especially when you’re unsure about something yourself, you’re easily influenced by another’s opinion.

But I wanted to keep watching it.

I’d never heard of the show, but Jake sent me an article from the “Globe and Mail” entitled “The 10 best international police series you need to stream right now,” and I researched each one and wrote down those that appealed to me. You can read the article here:

And I’m always interested in foreign recommendations, because they take effort, you have to search. And the first series listed was “Happy Valley,” which is one of my absolute favorites, the third season is being dribbled out in the U.S. now. What a horrible viewing experience. There are only six episodes, why can’t we binge them? It’s hard to remember the details from week to week, never mind having to fast-forward through the commercials, which upends your train of thought.

So looking at the list, I decided to start with shows on services we already had subscriptions to, which brought me to Prime’s “Informer.”

The concept is not difficult. It’s about a police informer. But it starts with one plot line and then jumps to another and you wonder how this fits in with what the show started with and you know they’ll get back to it, but it takes a while.

And I can’t say you get the complete feel from one episode.

But the second episode was better. And by the third…

And I’m thinking about it. What was wrong with the show…

And then it came to me, all the characters were UNLIKABLE! There was no one to root for. This doesn’t bother me, but I know it drives others wild. As if there’s a saint in every situation, whereas usually everybody is chiaroscuro, even yourself. And nitty-gritty reality…it’s kind of like that old Jack Nicholson movie, people can’t handle the truth, can’t handle characters being complicated, making bad choices, crossing the line sometimes, so they stay away, they want something they can watch that doesn’t stick with them.

Not that “Informer” will really stick with you, but you’ll get caught up in it. It’s visceral.

But it’s not “Happy Valley.” Or “The Bureau.” Or “Spiral.” Not the best cop show you’ve ever seen.

But it’s realistic. But having said that, there are just a couple of plot points where they seem to skip over the obvious, when another character would notice some behavior and does not.

But having said that…

Paddy Considine is the star. And he is, a bona fide star. But you just can’t like him. There’s something about him that you just can’t warm up to. And you think it’s a character flaw and then you think it’s his job and…

His costar is Bel Powley, who looks strange and acts strange. She’s present, but she’s of the other. You know, you work with people like this, they never joke around, never talk about their personal life, you end up being suspicious of them.

And then there’s Jessica Raine as Considine’s wife, beautiful but duped? She knows something is off, but she’s not quite sure what it is.

And then there’s Rachel Tucker as the barmaid Sharon… Just because someone lives in the hinterlands, that does not mean they’re unintelligent. But the further you get into the hinterlands, the smaller the community, the more people run on their emotions, both positive and negative. So Sharon seems real. And it’s rare to see a fortysomething woman portrayed accurately on the screen. Who is attractive, but looks her age, and is more than two-dimensional.

The informer himself, Nabhaan Rizwan… He’s not a criminal yet he’s not a choirboy either. And he might not have clean hands, but neither do the police.

And underneath all this is the possibility of a terrorist plot.

And then you think about all the plots that are averted by the government, all the behind-the-scenes efforts to avoid tragedy and…we only seem to care about the tragedies themselves, when it’s much harder to squelch them.

So you end up being riveted by “Informer.” It’s gripping. It’s not quite the real world, at least not the real world of most people, but the people in it are surprisingly real. Like I said, they’re not black or white, but somewhere in between.

So I’ve been watching “Informer” and wondering whether I should recommend it. Not believing it’s a slam dunk, not at first anyway.

But as it unfolded I became more and more focused, involved, sensitive to the characters’ actions. Especially a world depicted where money isn’t everything. Not everybody can become a billionaire, you know. Or maybe you don’t.

“Informer” is darker than “Happy Valley.” And you can love Sarah Lancashire, but you can’t love anybody in “Informer.” You’re rooting for Ms. Lancashire as Sgt. Catherine Cawood, whereas you’re not sure who some of the main characters in “Informer” really are. People you’d want to have a beer with, or people you’d want to run away from.

And in truth, our entire culture is based on partying. Yup, you want to become a billionaire for the perks. Drugs and alcohol are cool and…

I’m not saying that the world doesn’t run on sex, because it does, but there are some people who are completely dedicated to their jobs, and that’s enough. It used to be that way for most of us, before income inequality. Now the poor want lower taxes because they want to pay less when they become billionaires and many are so poorly educated they can’t do anything other than manual labor, which pays poorly in today’s economy, so all they’ve got is the pursuit of getting blitzed and having “fun.”

And in America everybody takes a victory lap. Deserved or not. Remember Sully? He was just doing his job, but he became a national hero, and I don’t want to take anything away from his feat, but there are people keeping this world together every day who get no props. Worse than that, they’re seen as losers. How does that lead to cohesiveness, how does that lead to a society.

“Informer” is only six episodes. But they are an hour long. But it’s not a huge commitment. I’d watch three before you make a judgment, then again you have to get that far.

There’s something about this show that reaches me. In a way most cop shows do not. I guess it’s the business of law enforcement as opposed to clear heroes and villains. Getting the job done as opposed to reaching for glory.

I recommend it.

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