"The Ghost Squad" is a gritty new police drama series that seemed to pass most people by as last year drew to a close. Broadcast in November and December by Channel 4, it concerned the undercover operations of Detective Constable Amy Harris portrayed by superb Irish actress Elaine Cassidy, pictured here in the series finale. Each episode, armed with elaborate cover stories, Amy's job is to infiltrate the lives of potentially corrupt policemen and women to weed out the bent officers. The title refers to a real-life police unit, now thought to have been disbanded, which was set up in the Nineties to investigate malpractice in the Met. Amy plays a dangerous game working with coppers who take her into their confidence, where any hint that her real intention might be to expose them could threaten her life...
Elaine Cassidy first came to my attention playing opposite Bob Hoskins in Atom Egoyan's very dark film thriller "Felicia's Journey". She has continued to impress since, again with Hoskins, in a BBC television adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World" and, more recently, in "Fingersmith" for which she was voted ninth equal best actress, in the BBC's online end-of-year poll, with Sally Hawkins, her co-star in that production.
The principal writer of "The Ghost Squad" is Tom Grieves and the series is produced by Chris Clough. Both have previous cop-show experience working on "The Bill" together although this new series is shot more in the style of "The Cops". Chris was also Producer of seasons four and five of "Ballykissangel" before which he directed several "Doctor Who" adventures in the late Eighties.
"The Ghost Squad" was initially intended to be broadcast in eight one-hour episodes but, for some reason, Channel 4 decided to broadcast the last two as a feature-length finale featuring "Hustle" actor Adrian Lester as the policeman under investigation. Whether they did this to make it seem like a Christmas special or to get the series over and done to make way for "Shameless" in the New Year, possibly because of poor viewing figures, is anybody's guess but it was good to see the police format being tested once again even if some critics didn't find it entirely successful! I, for one, would certainly welcome a second season.