The Level (Blu-ray)

February 24, 2017 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Detective Sergeant Nancy Devlin (Karla Crome) is a skilled and detective police officer, but she also harbors some secrets she’d prefer to keep under wraps. Frank LeSaux (Philip Glenister) is a drug trafficker and also the father of one of Nancy’s former classmates, a man Nancy has a bond with. She knows Frank is in the wrong with his actions, but still sees him as a father figure of sorts, so she is quite conflicted. When Frank calls her in a panic and explains he needs help, Nancy meets with him in a remote area, out of sight and well hidden. She explains she can try to keep his name out of investigations, but he insists a new threat is more serious, though he never gets to reveal the whole story. As he tells her about this new threat, an unknown gunman open fire, killing Frank and wounding Nancy. She manages to survive and escape, but keeps the incident to herself. But when she is assigned to work Frank’s murder case, she knows she is in for a rough ride. As she “works” the case, Nancy also has to deal with harassment from the killer, paranoia about being discovered, and a gun shot wound that isn’t getting better. The longer things go on, the more risk she takes and the potential for danger rises non stop. Will she keep the truth hidden and save herself, be found out and lose everything, or be hunted down and taken out by the mysterious killer?

The Level is part of a very crowded police drama field, but does it manage to stand out? The set up of the narrative seems simple at first, but soon begins to branch out and acquire depth. What seem like rather cliche moments can spiral into unexpected turns, so it does well in keeping the viewers tuned in. The first couple of episodes set the table and make sure all the pieces in place, so they tend to run a little slower than the rest. Even so, those early episodes are bolstered by good performances that ensure you’re never bored in the least. Karla Crome is terrific here and gives off the appropriate level of stress, but in that composed way that you think maybe she’ll keep it all together. The rest of the cast is quite good too, with no real weak players to mention. Once the third episode rolls in, things really start to heat up and The Level hits its stride. The writers manage to infuse the story with nice twists and turns, but never to the point of oversaturation. So it never feels like a twist just for the sake of a twist or turns that are just off the wall with no basis. That’s a fine line to walk, but The Level manages to pull it off nicely. I’m not sure The Level could work as an extended series, but these six episodes hit that sweet spot. Not enough to overstay its welcome or have to lean on cheap tricks to extend the run, but sufficient space to do what was needed. I enjoyed The Level a lot more than I expected to and for fans of police dramas and mysteries, it should hit the right notes. So if you’re a fan of the genre or just like good, limited run shows, I think this earns a solid recommendation.

Video: How’s it look?

The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The show looks great here, as you’d expect from such a newly minted series and all. Razor sharp detail and no digital errors to mention, just a clean and crisp presentation. I found no color issues either, with warm flesh tones and a natural color scope, while contrast is dark, but accurate and never obscures detail. Not much else to say here, this is a top tier visual presentation.

Audio: How’s it sound?

A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is included and the show sounds quite good. Not an explosive mix, but one that bolsters the tension and atmosphere of the material well. The surrounds might not be popping off the wall, but the music is well placed and when it needs to, the sound design offers that extra kick. No issues with dialogue whatsoever, so all the lines are clear and easy to understand, provided you’re used to British accents.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Almost an hour of behind the scenes featurettes have been included, so you can learn the ins & outs of how The Level was created.

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