October 25, 2013
ast of their worries. They’ve got much more life-threatening problems to deal with first. Marat Milankovic, the Russian who bought all the art from Mr Stevens, asked Sam and Phil to take care of him for a day, and the MI5 – including rogue agent Smoke – are hot on their tail. The climactic scene of this episode, featuring a motorcycle chase and a standoff with a helicopter, is the biggest stunt we’ve seen on The Wrong Mans, including that first car crash. And it’s brilliant. I’d probably watch this show if it was just about Sam and Phil working in an office, but the action set pieces have all been great. Somehow, it’s always a surprise when they pull off something on this scale, and that makes it even more satisfying.
I’ve said before that I appreciated how fast each episode moves and how quickly each individual subplot gets wrapped up, and that’s still true, but I think this episode really kicked things up a notch. Suddenly, the writing seems more confident, more in control. It’s a show that can easily find room to let its characters reminisce about their childhoods or argue over pasties while simultaneously setting up an explosive showdown featuring at least three different modes of transport and unravelling an elaborate town planning plot. That takes some doing, but The Wrong Mans is pulling it off.
The attention to detail is impressive, too – did you catch the Berkshire County Council eye test-style poster in the mail room, or Phil’s Bourne Identity mug? The only slight cockup I noticed was in the MI5 scene at the beginning: apparently Sam is 29, having been born in 1983, but Phil, born in 1985, is 31? Can intelligence agents not do basic arithmetic, or what? Perhaps I should cut them some slack, though: they did have the amazing Rebecca Front glaring at them while they read out our mans’ vital statistics. Maybe they got flustered.