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Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling | TV Series Season 1

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Finally, the long-awaited series based on Robert Galbraith‘s Cormoran Strike detective books is airing worldwide on British television network Prime.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
Genre : Crime drama, Detective fiction, Action
Based On : The characters by Robert Galbraith (i.e. J. K. Rowling)
Written by :
Executive producer(s) : J. K. Rowling, Neil Blair, Ruth Kenley-Letts, Elizabeth Kilgarriff
Producer(s) : Jackie Larkin
Editor(s) : Gareth C. Scales, Sam Williams, Stephen Haren
Cinematography : Hubert Taczanowski
Starring : Main Cast:
Tom Burke (Cormoran Strike), Holliday Grainger (Robin Ellacott)

Recurring Cast:
Kerr Logan (Matthew Cunliffe), Ben Crompton (Shanker), Natasha O’Keeffe (Charlotte Campbell), Killian Scott (D.I. Eric Wardle), Sargon Yelda (D.I. Richard Anstis)

Guest Cast:
Siân Phillips (Lady Yvette Bristow), Martin Shaw (Tony Landry), David Avery (Nico Kolovas-Jones), Leo Bill (John Bristow), Tara Fitzgerald (Tansy Bestigui), Kadiff Kirwan (Guy Somé), Bronson Webb (Evan Duffield), and others…

External Links: : Official Website
Wikipedia page
Purchase links: : N/A

Although the series made a debut on BBC one, as far back as August, 2017 and in America on Cinemax as C. B. Strike in 2018, all three seasons are now available to watch on Amazon Prime and Hotstar.

We have started a binge of all episodes, and here are our thoughts on the first season featuring the first book – The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Book Plot:

Episode 1:

Episode 1 starts with shots of a young woman, clearly a celebrity, enjoying the attention of paparazzi as she makes her way home in a red, sequined dress. She changes to demure clothes, clearly expecting someone at the door. And next, we see her lying on the pavement, bleeding and broken.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
Episode Title :
Episode 1
Episode Director : Michael Keillor
Episode Writer :
Aired on : 27 August 2017

Cut to the theme song ‘I walk beside you‘, featuring a montage of the leading characters – Strike played by Tom Burke and Robin played by Holliday Grainger.

This is clearly the first day of Robin arriving at Strike’s doorstep, looking at her phone rather than a London A-Z. She encounters a storming Charlotte, is nearly thrown off the stairs by Strike featuring a bloody lip in a trashed office. He grudgingly allows her to stay and soon enough its John Bristow knocking on the door – with a request for Strike to take on the case of investigating the death of his sister – supermodel Lula Landry.

A thousand pounds are a good enough reason for Strike to look into the matter when added to the family connection, and John’s need for justice to be done. But it is not until Strike calls in a favour with the Metropolitan police and talks to the investigating officer DI Wardle that he decides to take the case on, after he learns about a witness who changed her statement about the death.

Meanwhile, Robin googles/bings Strike’s existence on the internet and learns about a Rockstar father, his status as an Afghan war hero, his missing leg and so on. She also crawls the internet to identify friends and family of Lula Landry, all interested parties, so to speak. Impressed by her interest in the work, Strike invites her to go and visit 18, Kentigern Gardens, Lula’s residence and the scene of the crime. It is a different world indeed where the rich and famous dwell.

Strike’s attempts to secure a meeting with neighbour and witness Tansy Bestigui result in his encounter with Lula’s uncle Tony Landry, who tries to bully and threaten Strike into stopping the investigation. Unaffected by this, Strike tracks down Rochelle Onifade, Lula’s friend and one of the last few persons to see her on the day of her death. Unfortunately, Rochelle herself is killed soon after and the body is discovered by none other than Strike.

Episode 2:

In Episode 2, we meet Strike trying to get the police to investigate into Rochelle’s death/suicide without much luck. He also starts meeting Lula’s friends and family trying to create a picture of the dead girl’s life.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
Episode Title :
Episode 2
Episode Director : Michael Keillor
Episode Writer :
Aired on : 28 August 2017

Attracted to his charm and personality, Lula’s best friend Ciara Porter leads Strike to meet Lula’s boyfriend Evan Duffield. Although he had an alibi, a lot of people are still convinced of Evan being the murderer. The encounter doesn’t go well.

Through good, old following the suspect root, Strike finds out that Tansy Bestigui is having an affair with Tony Landry. He finally gets a confession out of her regarding her whereabouts on the night of murder and the reason for changing her witness statement.

Meanwhile, Robin goes for an interview for a well-paying HR job and does well. Her liking for the job with Strike is becoming an issue of conflict between her and Matthew at home.
Strike’s sister Lucy makes a brief appearance in this episode as well.

To make matters worse for Strike on the personal front, his ex-girlfriend Charlotte leaves a message with Robin about her engagement. Strike tries to drown this news in alcohol, and is rescued by Robin at end of her workday from a pub as she brings him back to office cum home.

But amongst all this, there is a turning point – the CCTV footage that Strike watches repeatedly to finally come to a conclusion that Lula was murdered.

Episode 3:

In the third and final episode, we start with a visit to Strike’s past, as he re-lives his nightmare of a road trip in Afghanistan, where he survived the bomb explosion, but lost part of his leg. He manages to arrive at Vashti in time, where Robin has been chatting up the shop assistants to find out that Lula had arranged for someone to come and meet her that night, when she was murdered.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
Episode Title :
Episode 3
Episode Director : Michael Keillor
Episode Writer :
Aired on : 03 September 2017

Strike confronts Guy Some who finally tells them the Lula was tracking her biological family. Robin follows this thread and finds out the name of Lula’s dead father.

The clues are all there, as Strike visits Lula’s dying mother Lady Bristow, her long-lost natural brother Jonah, the detritus of his life spread out in her flat…

So what’s the final piece of the puzzle? How does he identify the murderer? Will he stop Robin from leaving for the high paying job?

Views and Reviews:

We were looking forward to this series, and it didn’t disappoint. Although the sequence of events is different from the book, all the characters are essentially the same. The differences reflect the gap of time passed between the publishing of the book and the change of the medium. While the book had more than 400 pages to weave the complex web that was The Cuckoo’s Calling, the series has three episodes to do the same and keep it interesting 🙂

The pace is good and the episode grips you right from the start. Tom Burke is very convincing as the big, ex-boxer, ex-military private detective whose life is at one of its lowest points. He is not the one to take threats or bullying or varying and discouraging opinions of anyone stand between himself and the urge to find the truth though. He is straightforward about his penury and his disability and still never one to mention it himself. His cleft lip is hard to miss, but combined with his height and bulk, it only makes the character more life-like. He successfully displays the roguish charm and self-assurance of someone who has made his own life irrespective of where he came from.

Holliday Grainger provides a nice balance by portraying an efficient young woman, clearly willing to do her best in whatever the day brings her. She is not the one to question the squalor and the disorganisation around her, but is smart enough to make the best of it with her tact and discretion. It is a pleasure to watch her imitate different voices and accents, take the initiative in the investigation which starts with no hope, interact with witnesses without so much as a hint of anything out of the ordinary. Essentially, she takes the world as it comes without complaining, but at the bottom of it all, she is hiding a passion for detection of truth that eventually will overcome all the obstacles at home and win over the more worldly, well-paying jobs.

The theme song comes as a surprise after the quiet start with Lula’s body on the pavement, but it is rather fitting when you think about how the four books establish the partnership of Robin and Strike through all that they face together. Cormoran Strike may come across as a joke/a bully/an enigma to the people in his life, but Robin will prove to be his true partner through it all…

From Strike’s Denmark street offices to the world of Chelsea where the Bristows live, to the marble abode of Lula Landry, London was one of the biggest characters in the book, with its omnipresent noise, traffic, and aura. It is so in the series as well. Strike walking through London streets, alone or with Robin on his side is one of the most prominent visuals in this series. However, his offices are a bit cleaner and tidier, the street a bit more boho and appealing -also minus the perpetual roadworks – compared to the descriptions in the book. I guess that is appropriate as TV is a visual medium and a certain amount of neatness in each frame is a must.

Like I mentioned earlier, the sequence of events is different, some characters from the book do not show up at all e.g., John Bristow’s girlfriend Allison or make-up artist Bryony who was a prime witness, Lula’s birth mother Marlene or Tansy’s sister Ursula May who has the affair with Tony Landry in the book. So on screen, its a less complex world, but nonetheless easier for the viewers to understand and enjoy.

All in all, Strike carries on the tradition of good detective series on air and brings to life the world Robert Glabraith created in the books. Even if you are not familiar with the books, the series will be a good watch as it brings home a protagonist who is at once a modern man and yet removed from his time and his unlooked for partner who finds herself as the series goes on…

We are looking forward to watching the next two episodes based on ‘The Silkworm, but in the meantime hope you get a chance to tune into the Cuckoo’s Calling

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7 out of 10…

Over To You:

Did you watch this TV Series or any of its episodes? What do you think of it? We welcome you to share your reviews with all other readers. And yes, don’t forget to share it with your friends who share the same choices with you.

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