Waking the Dead
Series 2

Starring: Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston
RRP: 24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 26 June 2006

The Cold Case Squad is a crack team of specialists set up by the Metropolitan Police with the specific brief of reopening the files on unsolved cases. They re-examine the evidence and requestion witnesses. If anyone can track down a killer, years after a murder, they can...

The second series of Waking the Dead contains another four unsolved murders for Boyd and his team.

In Life Sentence a psychotic killer, Thomas Rice, who is now behind bars is the key to an investigation when a victim who survived his killing spree years ago is harassed by a copycat assailant. Boyd and his team are forced to enlist the help of Rice as they look again at the killer's past crimes to see who else could have known the killer's tactics. As the case unfolds Boyd comes to rely more and more on Rice's assistance to trap the copycat assailant.

This episode is interesting as it examines what one of Rice's previous kidnap victims did in order to stay alive. This is something that she had put behind her until the copycat kidnapper decides to start abducting women again using codes and techniques that the original killer used and are were never made public.

Deathwatch: After an old man dies in a home, a priest finds a written confession. The note admits to twelve separate murders that are linked to the hanging of an East End gangster. The investigation take the Cold Case team into the murky underworld of London's gangland crime families. However, things take an unexpected turn when it is discovered that the old man didn't die of natural causes - he was murdered. This episode starts with a flash back to the hanging of a young man for a crime that he professed his innocence too. If he'd have admitted to the killing the chances are he'd have gotten away with life imprisonment. Why then did he proclaim his innocent all the way to the gallows?

I also had a nit-pick for this episode that I really didn't understand. When Grace is attacked the last thing she does before fainting is call Frankie. So why is it that in the next scene Frankie arrives to be met by a police officer outside the house and then another one inside looking after Grace. It could be that Frankie rang the police immediately and then left for Grace's house, but the policewoman that meets Frankie looks like she's been there for hours - no one seems to be looking after Grace.

This episode also sees Warren Mitchell guest star as the older version of the executioner. While his role is small, he really pulls out all the stops and delivers a moving performance to give us a believable character.

Special Relationship: When a petty burglar is acquitted of murdering a prominent Home Office Advisor, Boyd's team is sent in to investigate. They soon discover that the corridors of Whitehall are shrouded in secrecy. The victim is Katherine Reed, who had once been a prominent feminist activist who attacked the establishment at every opportunity. Boyd's progress on the case is hampered by a suspiciously coincidental Home Office audit, which shadows the team as they go about their investigation. To add to Boyd's problems, he discovers that the original investigation was conducted by an old love interest.

This episode is the weakest of the four stories. It's not that it's bad, just not as engaging as the other tales - in fact, to be quite honest, this story could have been told in one hour long episode without seeming rushed.

Thin Air: Twelve years after Joanna Gold famously disappeared in broad daylight on Hampstead Heath, the dress she was wearing is found in a lockup. The team begin the hunt for her killer. Under pressure to discover the truth behind the disappearance of Joanna in 1989, Boyd makes a number of stupid mistakes.

Personally, I found this episode to be the most enjoyable. There are so many red herrings here that it's almost impossible to work out what has really happened to Joanna. Is she dead? Is she still alive? There are clues and hints to suggest both. It's only really in the last scene that everything falls into place.

Boyd acts like a fool in this episode. It could be that he's flattered by the advances of an 18 year old girl, or that he is panicking under the pressure because he is expected to come up with results, but would he really do the things he did towards the end of this episode?

The only real complaint I had was the way that the introduction of a black suspect was handled. When Spence meets up with one of his old school friends it's pretty obvious that he is the mysterious suspect. What are the chances of that? It was almost as thought the writers thought: "Oh! We have another black character! Great a chance to do some 'Yo! Brother' scenes".

It was also good to see some of the team out of office hours - this episode starts with Boyd and Spence playing squash.

There are no extras in this collection.

If you've already bought Series One of Waking the Dead, then you'll want to own this to add to your collection. And even if you've never seen an episode before, it's relatively easy to pick things up as you go along.

Another fantastic collection.

Nick Smithson

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