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Paranoid review

Episodes: 8

Premiered: 2016

Duration: 1 hr

Indira Varma (Luther, Rome), Robert Glenister (Hustle) and Lesley Sharp (Clocking Off) head up the cast for this eight-part ITV police procedural that also includes the likes of Neil Stuke and Christine Paul.

The murder of a well-liked GP sends shockwaves around a local community. The subsequent investigation soon sends ripples out across Europe when a German pharmaceutical company becomes linked to the crime.

Read on for Dale Shaw’s episode-by-episode Paranoid review.

Paranoid episode 1 review

It was certainly an arresting opening.

No frenetic build-up. No shovelling on of tension. No shadowy figures lurking on gloomy urban streets. Everything in Paranoid-land looks idyllic to the point of having a tasteful Instagram filter constantly applied to it.

But then a twitchy, hooded figure hurtles into a playground and brutally stabs a woman who’s pushing her child on the swings. A suspect with ‘psychotic schizophrenia’ is identified. Then our hooded friend is dead too – an apparent suicide and a seemingly open and shut case. But as Paranoid runs over eight weeks, it’s probably not too much of a spoiler to reveal that other corpses soon start annoyingly popping up.

Paranoid feels a bit all over the place. It’s certainly not afraid of throwing in a few hoary crime drama clichés – witnesses with something to hide, cops with multiple problems, strange packages containing plot devices popping up at the police station – and it’s quite bravely decided to make all of its main characters singularly unlikeable.

Paranoid episode 1

There’s Nina Suresh (Indira Varma), who has just been dumped and, if I’m brutally honest, you can completely understand why. Her opening salvo of dialogue mentions hairstyles, pomegranates and organic chicken in a machine-gun, breathless, slightly deranged way, which should have had her colleagues frantically ringing the occupational health department. Before too long she’s screaming ‘I want a baby’ in a pub car park.

Senior detective Bobby Day (Robert Glenister) is having panic attacks and is on meds. Hunky detective Alec Wayfield (Dino Fetscher) gets admiring glances from female officers, asks terrible questions and seems overly attached to his mother. And then there’s Lucy Cannonbury (Lesley Sharp) as a slightly off-kilter, philosophic Quaker who witnessed the murder and dreamily drifts through the whole show emoting a peculiar, alien trail of platitudes.

Oh – and a classic TV cop boss who stands by a blackboard, shouting, and demanding results.

During this overstuffed first episode, another strand of the investigation moves to Dusseldorf, possibly to add an element of Scando-Noir to proceedings or possibly to get a bit of European development money. Again, the female detective in Germany releases half a page of dialogue unprovoked and has a hairstyle that can only be described as ‘quirky’.

But there is something intriguing about Paranoid, despite the cardboard characters and plot twists which have the viewer continually wondering ‘why don’t they just look at the CCTV’. It has thrown so many dysfunctional elements into the air that it might be fun to see just how they’re juggled over the coming weeks.

Paranoid episode 1

Rather than having one gruff detective with a variety of personal problems, we have a police station crammed full of them, each copper slowly going off the rails while wrestling with a problematic back story. That’s even before they start to unravel their playground murder and the fact that someone appears to be stalking the detectives while conducting an investigation of their own. Oh – and Nina suddenly makes a move on Alec, while Bobby might have a thing for Lucy.

That, as we say in show business, is a lot of things.

But if Paranoid can cajole this vast amount of story into something approaching a logical shape, draw together all of these disparate plot strands and suddenly make us care about this gaggle of unpleasant characters, it might just be onto something. If it just starts to throw more twists and malcontents at us over the next two months, we might grow increasingly mistrustful of its motives.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 2 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

4 Comments

    Absolute rubbish – the actors were extremely bad – I haven’t seen such bad acting in a long time. Terrible script. The female detective was childish and bullying and the plot was just so laboured, it was laughable …. What a waste of time and money.

    Awful. Just awful. A murder = It could only be committed by someone with a severe mental illness? Let’s keep that myth going. Not taken their medication? Right, that is proof they are a murderer. Now let’s add some more violence/ stigma, and get a neighbour to punch the character’s brother – mental illness not ok.

    Dear me who or what is being portrayed too as the psychiatrist?

    Just awful.

    Only managed to watch 25 minutes. I thought it was terrible. I thought the script was laboured and cliched. The acting was over-the-top and the characters either annoying or very annoying. Won’t tune in again. Very disappointed as it looked as if it was going to be excellent.

    We played “spot the trope”, but still liked it enough to set a reminder for next week.

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Paranoid episode 2 review

Still catching up on Paranoid episode 2? Read Dale’s review of episode 1 here.

“What is wrong with people?”

This exasperated phrase, uttered by a number of characters in tonight’s episode, could easily serve as an alternative title for bizarre conspiracy crime thriller Paranoid, as absolutely every participant appears to be mildly damaged or slightly deranged in some way. Especially the cops.

Though the annoyingness of the main characters has been toned down slightly in this second episode, personality disorder fans need not worry as there’s a slew of bizarre individuals hurtling towards the investigation.

After last week’s tsunami of information, false leads and poorly taped cardboard boxes, this week’s instalment trots along at a slightly more sedate pace, but with more complications. The detectives investigating the murder of Angela Benton should be cock-a-hoop, as the evidence pointing towards their main suspect (now deceased) continues to pour in. There’s a murder weapon, fingerprints and CCTV footage.

But for our emotionally repressed or over-emotional trio of detectives, all this overwhelming evidence is a little bit too easy and they’re still unconvinced that they’ve actually got their man.

Paranoid episode 2

There’s a further wrinkle as the murder victim’s estranged husband over in Dusseldorf turns up dead as well. In a swimming pool. (If you ever find yourself in any sort of crime drama – stay away from the swimming pool. It will eventually have a body floating in it.) But this corpse’s sudden appearance also seems to be fairly straightforward – Angela’s ex-hubby died of ‘party time chaos’ and ‘fancy drinking’ according to the German detective Linda Felber who is looking into that strand of the investigation.

The entire German Skype-based component of the drama feels like it exists in a completely parallel universe. The cops over there are brightly lit, wear turtlenecks and have excellent taste in hardwood floors. But they too have their suspicions, especially when they come across Sheri, the dead man’s girlfriend, who appears to have been plucked from a 1940s screwball comedy with her wide-eyed confusion and preponderance for bursting into tears.

Back in the UK, more exasperating characters are introduced as the mother of investigating officer Alec Wayfield gets involved in the personal lives of the ‘Paranoid Gang’ with a remarkable display of eye-rolling and poorly applied lipstick. She has spotted a discarded crutch (!) that Nina has left under one of her garden benches so immediately assumes that the gobby detective has designs on her son. No, honestly.

Meanwhile sad sack detective Bobby is getting closer to slightly sinister Quaker Lucy, who has a taste for herbal teas and is definitely hiding something. There’s nothing like a brutal murder to really up the romance quotient.

Occasionally, some crime investigation takes place. Mainly by the ‘Ghost Detective’, a shadowy figure who is actually talking to witnesses and gathering evidence, while the actual police continue to get off with each other. While trying to discover who this shadowy investigator is, Nina hurts her leg (hence the crutch) and Bobby and Alec make a vital discovery – which leads to the genuinely thrilling conclusion of Paranoid episode 2.

By now you’ve either bought into Paranoid’s slightly more hysterical elements, or you’ve firmly switched off. Despite all the unhinged participants and grating personalities, is there enough actually story to keep us invested? Just about I’d say. Though with six more weeks to go, it’s all starting to feel like more of a slog than a sprint.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 3 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

2 Comments

    OMG, the German detective’s [Linda?] visit to the husband/victim’s house was hilarious – all on her own, in the middle of the night, in her cute little trenchcoat. No backup, no just cause for jumping the fence [trespassing!], and duh, everybody keeps corpses in their swimming pools it’s just so trope-y!

    Also loving the paranoid, probably-unethical, psychiatrist/psychologist – def unethical w/Alec’s mom, apparently. And the victim’s father who’s so afraid of losing custody of his grandson that he repeatedly refuses to help with the investigation.

    “What’s wrong with people?” Indeed.

    [Love your reviews, wish I’d found them sooner, snark is necessary to viewing. Although, as a committed Robert Glenister fan, I can’t not watch.]

    I liked it and love that I can’t figure things out yet. The German male detective is super cute and I hope he returns next week! The crutch thing was odd but I’m letting that one go

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Paranoid episode 3 review

Still catching up on Paranoid episode 3? Read Dale’s review of episode 2 here.

When we last left the lads and lasses at Paranoid, Alec had just been dumped from a great height into a large body of water, Bobby was being chased by a mysterious hooded lunatic and Nina was quite confused about her love life.

Week three and I think we are all starting to realise that as well as having some problematic moments in their lives and some quite staggering personality disorders, the police officers of Woodmere CID are simply not very good. In fact, pretty rubbish. Perhaps that’s why the various random officers who hang around in the background scenes at the police station never actually speak to them.

The unknown barged-based assassin – who it seems murdered GP Angela Benton, then popped over to Germany and murdered her husband, then popped back and tried to murder Alec (I think) – is clocking up more air miles than Richard Branson while running rings around our detectives.

Meanwhile the shadowy Ghost Detective, who appears to know all aspects of the case but prefers to drip feed the information in plot-handy chunks, has finally materialised. He looks like a geography teacher and has his own handy ‘murderer’s shack’ that he works out of. But his involvement and identity are still a mystery.

Paranoid episode 3

Fans of Alec’s mother and her total bizarreness will be thrilled by this week’s instalment, which involves her behaving even more coo-coo bananas than usual, with an extra dose of eye-rolling, some light slapping and dialogue so stilted it could appear in a Cirque du Soleil production. Alec compares her to the creature from Alien. ‘And I’m Sigourney Weaver,’ Nina tells us. Sigourney should sue.

Nina and Alec (despite, or possibly because of, his traumatic brain injury) finally go to bed together. It is during a post-coital pillow talk moment that Alec romantically mentions his sinister visit from the Ghost Detective. Then, eight hours later over breakfast, Nina asks, ‘And what did he look like?’ Like I said, not great detectives.

Elsewhere, everyone else has completely lost their marbles. The unit’s boss, Michael, has started saying things like ‘Budgets are a nail in my brain’ and ‘We need bright lights stapled on our foreheads’. Despite being convinced of the open and shut-ness of the case, the attack on Alec has allowed him to have a complete u-turn and is now very much part of ‘Team Mystery European Assassin In a Hoodie’. He should ask Bobby for some of his meds.

Entertainingly, Bobby has decided to turn into Gene Hunt. That is until Nina threatens to kick him in the balls and then he calms down again. But he feels emasculated by his failure to catch the hooded assassin and he’s even a bit nasty to herbal tea-swilling Quaker Lucy and has the occasional dizzy spell.

Over in Germany, there’s not much from Linda Ferber’s unit. Robbie William’s wife is back as Sheri who has suddenly remembered a vital piece of information (which is handy): the name Marquita Olivo. Linda immediately rushes over to Marquita’s flat, briefly talks about yoga and then leaves again.

But this baffling array of information and characters is slowly distilling into some semblance of a story. Angela was part of some international conspiracy. Fearing exposure, she typed up what she knew. Those papers are now what everyone is looking for: the cops, the Hooded Assassin, Robbie William’s wife probably – everyone.

But can our slightly hopeless detectives sort out their personal problems and get to these vital, enigmatic papers before our globetrotting, identity swapping, canal loving murderer bags them? On the strength of what we’ve seen so far, it’s not looking good I’m afraid.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 4 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

3 Comments

    Utter garbage. Ridiculous “plot”. Shockingly bad acting from many of the cast. Appallingly stilted dialogue from a cast of completely unbelievable characters.

    Paranoid has to be one of the worst dramas for a long time on ITV….and a waste of the talents of Lesley Sharp and Robert Glenister.

    LOL! Thanks to you, I’m looking forward to seeing the new ep rather than holding my breath in an “omg-wtf-now?!” kinda’ way. I do wish Nina were the one getting kicked in the metaphorical balls, though. And ooh, a bit nasty to Lucy [of the lizardly slow-blink], go Bobby!

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Paranoid episode 4 review

Still catching up on Paranoid episode 4? Read Dale’s review of episode 3 here.

Oh Paranoid.

Just when you’ve got me gripped with a few genuine thrills or an intriguing plot twist, you have to hurl something so utterly ludicrous and unbelievable into the mix that it inevitably causes light smoke to emerge from my trusty incredulity meter.

The fairly poor detective team from Woodmere CID are investigating the death of a local GP which has turned into a full blown European conspiracy, involving an indestructible hoodie wearing killer (for god’s sake David Cameron, don’t hug him), a mysterious ‘Ghost Detective’ and a creepy psychiatrist who looks a bit like the Ghost Detective and so keeps confusing me.

This creepy psychiatrist has a history with lovely/sinister Quaker Lucy, the one involved with detective Bobby, though she has some ghastly hidden secret which she mentions to the detectives but has yet to be revealed as they don’t bother asking for any details. The evil shrink also has his hooks in Alec’s crazed mother and obviously has beef with Alec himself, because his jaw gets all clenchy when he’s in the area.

The murder victim, Angela, had somehow stumbled across something nefarious and had typed up her thoughts and fears before secreting the pages somewhere. These pages are what the investigating team are hunting for. Unfortunately, the bad hoodie has got there first (yet again) and burnt them. So they decide to track down the elusive Ghost Detective and ask him to help them be better police people.

Paranoid episode 4

All except for Bobby who has been sent to Dusseldorf to show the Germans just how sweaty a British detective can be. After his full-on-ness and pill popping has freaked out the German investigation team, they stumble across the slightly scatty Sheri who vaguely leads them to a beer-hall-filled part of town where they happen to bump into the exact criminal they’re looking for. Isn’t that convenient!

And this criminal seems perfectly happy about being interrogated in English, which is also pretty nice. Nobody likes subtitles, except in all of those ones on excellent Scando-Thrillers that we know and love.

Thanks to the quick thinking of gay German detective Walti (I only mention the fact that he’s gay because the show itself brings it up it every four seconds. Linda actually introduces him by saying ‘He’s gay’ and later brings up the number of boyfriends he’s had and his floppy gazebo) they find out that their suspect was fake Facebook pals with Angela’s dead husband! That’s handy!

Oh, and Bobby refers to the suspect as ‘a lump of piss’, which nobody seems to question. I’m a native English speaker and I have no idea what a lump of piss could possibly be.

And the conveniences don’t end there. Alec decides to Google the fake name the Ghost Detective uses and discovers he’s probably a doctor. Even though they’ve known this information since episode 1. Soon they track the wily surgeon to a cliff top where he’s about to kill himself and his wheelchair bound wife. Obviously time is of the essence, so Nina and Alec sit in a lay-by while she tells him a fairly long story about her dad.

Thankfully for them the Ghost Detective can’t go through with his murder-suicide plot and the team are soon hot on his heels. But, oh dear, is that a hooded figure lurking nearby? Probably. He seems to pop up everywhere.

Paranoid genuinely has me intrigued by the conspiracy that the team have stumbled across and insist on ineffectually investigating. But the ‘coincidences’ and ‘lucky breaks’ are starting to pile up in the plot which is beginning to feel a bit tired. I’m starting to fear the show has painted itself into a corner story-wise and can’t quite figure out how to escape. And we’re only halfway through!

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 5 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

3 Comments

    Thanks for writing these! I’m four episodes in and am so confused – turns out the police are just terrible on the show!

    Oh, and don’t forget the horror of the wardrobe on this show – whyyyyyyyy?

    Yeah, but if Bobby weren’t sweaty/shaky how would we ever know that he’s having a panic attack?! Sigh.

    But still, thx for your reviews, they make it easier to persevere.

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Paranoid episode 5 review

Spoilers for Paranoid episode 5 below. Still catching up? Read Dale’s review of episode 4 here.

Up until now, Paranoid’s rather incompetent police people have happily displayed their problems. Their deep-set, unavoidable, stultifying personal problems. Anxiety, emotion based, freudian – you name it, they’ve got them.

But they’d shifted these problems slightly to one side while they dealt with the vicious murder of a local doctor which first appeared to be fairly straightforward but has now unravelled into a great, big old conspiracy featuring hit men and shadowy figures with accents and everything. But now the investigation itself is causing them problems. Because the people behind this conspiracy – they aren’t very nice.

This is unfortunate as our pals at Woodmere CID were already hopelessly out of their depth dealing with a single homicide. Now that they’ve blundered into this huge, stinky Euro scandal… well, they’re just as damaged and self-obsessed as they’ve always been, but now have people trying to kill them at regular intervals.

The formerly mysterious Ghost Detective, now revealed to be the slightly swivel-eyed Stefan Fairweather, blames a German drug company for destroying the health of his wife – or, as he delicately put it, ‘these drugs bent my wife’s brain’.

paranoid episode 5

In order to get information out of him, the police seem willing to allow him to take part in all sorts of day trips and excursions back home – which they soon come to regret. This lot are always doing insane things that they soon come to regret.

The detectives have finally cornered the mysterious man in a hoodie who has been bumping people off throughout the Cheshire area. Finally Nina and Alec can meet the man who has been making their miserable lives even more of a misery and who threw Alec off a large metal structure (though this fact seems to have been forgotten). They rush to face him, but then have their obligatory chat in the car before embarking on this time-sensitive part of the investigation.

The chat this time is about the fact that Nina is pregnant. I’m slightly baffled by the relationship between Nina and Alec: one second she’s blubbing over the fact she’s messed everything up between them, the next she’s moving furniture threateningly in her ex’s car hire office and trying to get back with him, which Alec seems perfectly fine with. If they are trying to imbue some ‘will they won’t they’ suspense into proceedings, the characters have to actually care about being a couple. Which Alec and Nina don’t appear to do. They’re too insane.

Anyway, their hooded assassin is slowly crawling through the undergrowth and is soon identified by Lucy, the ‘Quaker Sex Queen’ (Nina’s words not mine). But the baddies want their man dead and are happy to go full Die Hard on the local hospital to accomplish this. Alec tries to hide, and appears to fatally injure, their prime murder suspect in the process, which just seems counter intuitive to me.

Over in Dusseldorf, Bobby continues to pop pills and act bizarrely, this time in the offices of the drugs firm that appears to be at the centre of everything. But when Bobby goes rogue and unearths some unexpected evidence, the detectives themselves suddenly find themselves implicated in the conspiracy.

So where are we? The hooded assassin is dead (I think), vengeful European hitmen are now roaming freely in Woodmere, the former Ghost Detective has finally handed the CID the information they need, while in Germany the investigation has riled up the bad guys, and Linda is even more perky than usual (‘No one makes French pastries like the French!’) which doesn’t bode well for her.

This week’s Paranoid was the usual mix of taut thriller and an episode of Emmerdale on a mild dose of Mescalin. I’m starting to feel that if they’d focused on the interesting conspiracy part and scaled back the quirky character traits, we could have been watching a decent thriller in half the time. Oh, but how I would miss people blurting out things like ‘spooky-dooky cards’ and ‘lump of piss’ while utterly ignoring evidence and legal police procedure at every turn. It’s unique, you cannot deny that.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 6 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

4 Comments

    I’m watching thid episode on netflix and can’t work out how the insane felmale detective can be pregnant already A woman ovulates and then gets inseminated and then 10 to 20 days later she skips her period Has she really been bonking 28 year old detective for lomg enough to get pregnant to him? Is it her ex boyfrirnds child? One hopes not – clearly the ex’s gut instinct told him to dump insane female detective before she ‘accidentally’ got pregnant.

    Ah, that wacky Linda Felber gets all the best lines! She definitely leaves me speechless.

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Paranoid episode 6 review

Spoilers for Paranoid episode 6 below. Still catching up? Read Dale’s review of episode 5 here.

I finally realised what’s missing from Paranoid: a baddie!

Previously we’ve had a series of red herrings rather than a true villain. There was Jacob Appley (innocent), the hooded killer (dead), Chris the creepy psychiatrist (slippery), and the entire detective force themselves who are their own worst enemies, but no balls-out, full-bloodied, pantomime style, hiss-boo, nasty monster we could all root against.

It’s taken three-quarters of the series, but one has finally arrived! Nick Waingrow: the carefully coiffured, former CIA smoothie who works at the German drug company that is at the heart of the international conspiracy that the terrible detectives at Woodmere CID find themselves engulfed in.

The death of a local GP has spiralled into a shadowy world of mind-altering drugs and European corruption which now has a handy catchall nickname attached to it (because constantly saying ‘shadowy world of mind-altering drugs and European corruption’ was getting tiresome): Mainline.

paranoid episode 6

And what is Mainline? Well, it’s very, very bad, I can tell you that. Oh yes… OK, so we don’t know what it is, but a lack of knowledge hasn’t stopped our hapless police officers from blundering through the investigation previously and it’s an approach they’ve decided to stick with. Nina reads a document that says murder victim Ruben was afraid of Mainline and then tells us that she thinks Mainline might have something to do with Ruben. Poirot she is not.

But Mainline is what ties everything together: the murder of Angela Benton, the death of her ex-lover Ruben, the framing of Jacob Appley, the insanity of Alec’s mother, the girth of Alec’s neck which appears to be increasing each week and the overt creepiness of local psychiatrist Chris, who really needs a cape and a moustache he can twiddle.

Chris has been spotted heading into the men’s toilets with a known assassin and yet the detectives still can’t quite finger him for anything nefarious. But Jacob’s brother is starting to smell a rat, and for fans of shows that mention the title within the actual show itself, he declares ‘I feel paranoid about it’. Hurrah! Take a shot.

Turns out creepy Chris has been romantically involved with a number of his patients while doling out drugs like a lavatory attendant gone mad and has now driven Alec’s crazed mother to suicide – Nina talks her out of it by saying ‘Too late is just shit in your head’ then, compassionately, leaves as quickly as possible – while concurrently blackmailing Lucy with a collection of sexy snaps from her past.

Lucy decides to come clean (as it were) with the rapidly unravelling Bobby, still stationed in Dusseldorf. He reacts with some quite marvellous, jowl-wobbling, over-reactive fury which isn’t helping his mental state at all. Which brings us back to the brilliant Nick Waingrow.

Bobby has decided to wage psychological warfare on the drug company security operative (but no-one else – doesn’t this organisation have any other figures of authority like a CEO or something?). But nasty Nick is running rings around him and the rest of the German investigating force, declaring, ‘we’re all over your life’.

Bobby is quickly getting even more sweaty and pop-eyed and Linda Ferber has had enough, diagnosing him, accurately, by saying, ‘you are not right, you are wrong’. The he has a fight with some pills. That’s right, a FIGHT with some PILLS. A full fight, with kicking and punching and everything. With pills. A load of pills. Which was really quite marvellous.

Paranoid really is something. It’s a bit like Midsomer Murders devised by a grotesque lovechild spawned between David Lynch and Werner Herzog with a healthy dash of the Chuckle Brothers thrown in. How else could you explain a character blurting out ‘They can’t flaunt their milk breasts at me any more’ apropos of absolutely nothing.

This week’s instalment kept all the crazy, pointless personal stuff mainly to one side (Dennis did appear and obscurely mentioned ‘peanuts’ which was just unsettling) and so fizzed along at a far more satisfying pace. Keep that up for the final two episodes and I won’t feel that my whole Paranoid adventure was eight hours of my life I’m never getting back.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 7 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

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Paranoid episode 7 review

Spoilers for Paranoid episode 7 below. Still catching up? Read Dale’s review of episode 6 here.

So Paranoid has taken a bit of a turn.

And it’s quite a strange, brave turn which is either a complete act of genius or utterly suicidal. After six weeks of our detectives flailing, spouting odd phrases and getting attacked, threatened or spooked, suddenly it’s not them but the bad guys who are under pressure.

Last week it seemed like creepy psychiatrist Chris Crowley and smooth evil dude Nick Waingrow were quite happy and comfortable committing the highly nefarious deeds they were undertaking. But something obviously happened between the last episode and this one (the continued success of Honey G? Bake Off ending? The viewing figures for The Missing?). Suddenly all the baddies are getting squirrelly.

And this, being Paranoid, is not exactly down to the dogged sleuthing of our slightly ineffectual police departments at home and on the continent. Creepy Chris has been arrested, released, illicitly recorded by Alec’s strange mother, poorly trailed and badly badgered by Lucy the Sex Quaker. And he’s starting to shout and wave his floppy hair around in a lightly agitated manner. He’s taken to hiding phones in trees. Where they are charged via sap, it seems.

paranoid episode 7

In Dusseldorf, Nasty Nick has being politely talked to by the investigators, bugged, followed and has Chris phoning him up in a panicky manner every two minutes. His glacial exterior is starting to melt. Now, rather than being slickly nonchalant, he starts barking the names of supposed European super villains into the face of the poor man who’s trailing him and waving a gun in his face.

Nick also reveals what the word ‘Mainline’ means, (I think) after hearing it banded about as the conspiracy buzzword for the past few weeks. If I understood this correctly (and I do go to my happy place on occasion during Paranoid) it means ‘going public’. Rather than someone saying ‘I’m going to release the information’ you say ‘it’s going MAINLINE’, like a 1970’s surfer dude. Now, I’m not willing to go back and double check whether the use of ‘Mainline’ in this context makes sense when it was uttered by all the characters in previous weeks – so I’m going to let that slide.

And speaking of nonsensical phrases, Nick also says to Linda ‘You know that saying “At the end of the road there’s always a mirror”?’ No. She doesn’t. No one does. It’s not a saying. You’re all insane.

(And while I’m riled up, what exactly happened to that ‘Ghost Detective’ guy? Did the actor get a panto or a Lidl commercial or something and they decided to quietly drop him and hope no one would notice? He seemed to know a lot of pertinent information about the investigation a couple of weeks ago.)

Bug-eyed Bobby has been deported from German after the incident with the Drug Jesus (when asked what happened he replies ‘It was a Jesus made out of pills’ by way of explanation) and starts getting fruity with Lucy in an orchard.

All this travel and jiggery-pokery has obviously jolted something loose in Bobby’s cop brain as he suggests going back over the details of the case, looking at evidence and actually doing some legitimate police work. IN EPISODE 7. This seems to involve Alec and Nina sitting outside Crowley’s house and sharing an apple. I mean, I know budgets are tight in the country’s police forces, but can they not get an apple each?

But Chris has bigger problems than Alec watching him or Bobby trying to grapple him for sending porny pictures of the Sex Quaker to former CIA agents (what have I become?). Now the hired killer who practically demolished a local hospital with gunfire then immediately transferred into a quiet life in the immediate Cheshire area is out to get him.

And then things got really funny.

This episode of Paranoid made me laugh out load on three occasions this week. And I genuinely feel bad about that. It was just the sight of someone running off down the street in swimwear, followed by the announcement that ‘he drove the bus OFF A CLIFF’ and then practically the whole cast appearing at Chris’s house in the middle of the night one after the other for no apparent reason. I just lost it completely. I may have PTSD.

I didn’t even get to Nina dumping Dennis again because she thinks he doesn’t like her very much. OF COURSE HE DOESN’T – YOU KEEP TURNING UP AT HIS HIRE CAR BUSINESS BEING WEIRD.

So we have one week left of Paranoid. And I’m starting to suspect that the big reveal will be that everyone concerned, both in front and behind the camera, is popping the evil blue and white pills that are sending everyone over the edge. Or perhaps a sweaty Dennis will sit bolt upright in the middle of the night and it all have been some kind of crazy dream.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 7? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Dale’s review of Paranoid episode 8 here.

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

8 Comments

    OMG Dude!! You’ll have to dial it back if I’m to read your reviews again!! I literally spit my sip of water all over my keyboard reading this! If Paranoid is funny (just another turn of the screw and it could easily pass for parody) then you are brilliantly hilarious. The only thing that makes this show worth watching is coming here to read your reviews. Thanks!!

    This is such a spot-on skewering of Episode 7 that I can almost even forgive you for writing for the Guardian, lol.

    I’ve kept watching this series just because it’s only 8 eps and I kinda wanted to see where the whacko shrink ends up… so why not? Plus Linda is charming, though I may be overstating this because charm, in this series, has been in short supply. At any rate your recap/review is FAR more entertaining and amusing than this show has ever been. Plus you reminded me of the GHOST DETECTIVE. I’d somehow forgotten he existed (like the writers, perhaps?).

    I believe the ghost detective just handed over his two pages he copied and buried, to the police. He killed his wife, and was going to be charged with other offenses like impersonating a cop, obstruction of justice, etc, so I would suggest he was arrested.. no more need for him.

    I have enjoyed your comments more than the series , let’s not forget the relief when the adverts come on and we nice smile from the girl in the SEAT car advert . Does this series seem familiar to anyone else , there was a series by the BBC last June “New Blood” in a drug trail went wrong , two baddies from the drug company went around killing of the people who had taken part in the drug trail , setting up the guy who had gone loopy . After killing everyone off they walked away

    Ditto Christine’s first comment – no offence to the other critic but yours are much more comical – more please ☺. Can you also write reviews for Dark Angel – I can already imagine some of your comical nicknames for some of the characters and shady goings on lol. I also thought the story in Paranoid mirrored New Blood minus the comedy duo getting into constant trouble – more lives between them than an overly curious cat ! I’m looking forward to finding out whose behind it all as until this episode I thought waingrow was the big bad wolf.

    Sherry! You just made me realise that in an attempt to make this crazy series make sense I’d conflated these two shows in my mind a bit (I have a bad habit of doing this, for years I was convinced Striptease & GI Jane were the same movie…). I kept wondering when it would come back to the group of friends who met O/S and all started getting murdered… and your comment made me realise that was New Blood, right? I just want to know what happens with the crazy shrink at this point.

    Hey Ruth, what’s O/S ?? Hmmmm are you confusing both these dramas with yet another as New Blood was focused on two guys who were sort of enemies at first but ended up best buds – there was no group of friends – just those 2 constantly snooping about and getting into scrapes. I wondered if you meant The Five as that’s the only drama that springs to mind set around a group of friends but not being murdered – we need Scooby doo to solve this mystery lol !! As for Paranoid, have you seen episode 8 yet – crazy shrink conclusion ☺

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Paranoid episode 8 review

Spoilers for Paranoid episode 8 below. Still catching up? Read Dale’s review of episode 7 here.

Judging by certain comments on social media, fans of the television event that is Paranoid were expecting a smattering of dramatic twists and the occasional unexpected development in this final episode. And they weren’t disappointed. No. They were MASSIVELY disappointed.

Basically, the entire episode consisted of the various unspectacular police forces across Europe slowly catching up with the conclusions most of the audience had realised a few weeks ago. We knew why the various victims were killed (international drugs conspiracy) and by whom (various nameless Euro assassins) all falling under the evil umbrella of a Big Pharma company and their suave uber-villain Nick Waingrow.

Last week, we discovered that these bad drugs had caused a bus driver to plunge a coach load of kids OFF A CLIFF. And that Bjork-like detective Linda Felber was somehow involved. Turns out she was the investigating officer. At this point I felt she was about to be sucked deeper into the conspiracy somehow. Maybe she had been corrupted at some point or covered up evidence for nefarious reasons?

No, like most of the cops in Paranoid, it turns out that she was just a bit rubbish and now feels bad about it. So everyone has to now go and do her job again – properly this time. Which is the main theme running through the whole show.

paranoid episode 8

Back in Cheshire, Bobby has recently been maced and so looks even more monstrous. Plus he’s off his meds and is acting even more irrationally, blurting out things like ‘pop songs are actually lies’. And you can’t really blame him when Sex Quaker Lucy suddenly surprises him with off-putting lines like ‘let me bathe your face’. I have to admit that one threw me as well.

But in the throes of his insanity, Bobby has decided that nasty psychiatrist Chris Crowley must have a secret porn stash in his house. Nope, sorry, I have no idea why he’s decided this, but the whole CID heads off to rip the doctor’s pad apart looking for his jazz mags. And when is the best time to move in for a romantic kiss? If you’re Alec and Nina, it’s in the midst of a forensic pornography hunt while wearing some fetching latex gloves.

Obviously the porn is found, plus a mysterious key and various other incriminating bits and bobs, though none of them seem to have much bearing on the case, as Crowley has been kidnapped by Jacob Appley’s brother, Henry, who thinks the shrink is up to something. He takes him to the handily located spooky abandoned asylum – because this is now Scooby Doo. Lovers of irony will surely appreciate the BAD PSYCHIATRIST being force fed CRAZY PILLS in an abandoned MENTAL INSTITUTION. It was quite subtle so thought i’d better point it out.

Using a big pile of drugs, a knife and and the occasional fork, Crowley (eventually) confesses all. But how can our plucky detectives ever find him? What about if Lucy happens to randomly mention the name of the abandoned asylum casually in conversation, as you do? Well she does, so Bobby heads to the mental institution, scares some children and then kills a trained assassin with a stationary cupboard before crying in a very, very strange way.

In Germany, some mild grave robbing has the net closing in on Waingrow. He knows the jig is up. Which is a shame. I’d really hoped that he’d just vanish and the final shot of the show would be Nick on a beach somewhere, winking and raising a cocktail to the camera along with the caption ‘Nick Waingrow will be back in Paranoid 2: More Paranoid’. But sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Instead, he is very mildly arrested and lightly harangued by Linda. Which is a bit of a cheek as if she’d done her flipping job properly in the first place we wouldn’t be in all this mess.

So everything is reset in the wonderful world of Paranoid. Oh, except for all those people who died. Bobby’s now a Quaker now who enjoys some light hiking. Linda will probably open a German detective agency with Walti. And Nina and Alec are planning to make a go of it, with Nina releasing those final, immortal, romantic words, ‘Is that an organic haircut?’ Which, I think, sums up the show perfectly.

Did you tune in for Paranoid episode 8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw
Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a television and radio writer, journalist, screenwriter, performer and musician. His first book, Letters of Not, was published by The Friday Project in 2014, with his second, F**k This Journal, published by Headline in 2015. He has written for The Now Show, The News Quiz, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Impressions Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound, One, School of Comedy, as well as for The Guardian, Index, Huffington Post, BBC Online, Washington City Paper and many more.

Follow Dale on Twitter.

10 Comments

    I kept watching to see if these pieces would amalgamate into a decent story. But this is a slow burn that peters out into ashes. Thank goodness for reviews that help you know it is not you, it’s them. Oh, and the female lead is the most off-putting nutbag that ever threw a neurotic tantric–which she does often.

    I wish I’d read the whole set of reviews before wasting my time watching this dire series. I couldn’t believe it was as bad as it was – I kept thinking it was setting us up for a spark of brilliance that would astound us. I finally gave up in the middle of episode 6, five episodes too late.

    Please please bring back a season 2 of Paranoid!!!!!!!

    Oh My God ! This TV show is the worst fucking bit of rubbish that I have seen in years ! Just watch it and you will know, can’t even describe it. It is just so bad !!!

    It’s sort of like a job… if you do it 1 hour per week, it’s bound to have a lack of continuity. That’s why I binge watch one day’s work hours on Netflix…
    Suddenly, little details peek out that may otherwise be forgotten.
    I agree that the end was a bit anticlimactic, and I remain confused about the bald guy who was hanging in Düsseldorf and the bald guy that Bobby kills on the stairwell.
    However, little details are what appeal to me. The one that stands out most is when Lucy is sitting in a window looking out upon the meadow. As the camera pulls away behind her, her image is subtley “framed.” There’s also the Pill Jesus consisting of primarily Red, White and Blue pills with a touch of yellow that fails to conceal the reference to American Big Pharma’s un-godly presence in American society where almost everyone is medicated.
    It is these details that give the color that seems to have been lacking for the reviewer.

    Im trying to think of a more annoying character than lucy ‘youre on meds and you have panic attacks, I live like this peacefully.. Im just saing its right for me not how you should live’ nice reverse psychology from the weird quaker there.
    Also, she reads body language so well, and seems to know whats going on but never even says a word to prevent or warn the murder.
    The list goes on.
    Actually its a show more about whos getting off with who tham crime… Cos the cops are terrible.

    It was a programme that was so bad, you had to keep watching just to see where it ended up going.

    Safe to say, none of that lot are gonna be getting a job alongside Barnaby in Midsomer any time soon…

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