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Strike – The Silkworm | TV Series Season 2

The second book by Robert Galbraith featuring detective duo Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott was called ‘The Silkworm‘. After the positive response from viewers on the season one, this book has also been televised through two episodes and was released as season two of Strike/C B Strike.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
(Season 2)
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
Aired on : 10 September 2017
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:
Dorothy Atkinson (Kathryn Kent), Monica Dolan (Leonora Quine), Dominic Mafham (Jerry Waldegrave), Tim McInnerny (Daniel Chard), Peter Sullivan (Andrew Fancourt), Jeremy Swift (Owen Quine), Lia Williams (Liz Tassel), Sarah Gordy (Orlando Quine), and others…

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

You can read our unbiased reviews for the previous season of Strike at:

We recently watched both episodes of the second season on Prime network. These are also available for streaming on various other platforms as well including where you are in the world and what subscriptions you have :).

The Plot:

There is about a year’s gap between the books. However, this series just feels like it is starting from where episode 3 of season 1 finished.

Let us take a look at the episodes:

Episode 1

The opening sequence shows a young woman cutting an article from a magazine and pinning it to her shirt – warning – through flash – and then putting her head in the gas oven to commit suicide. Quite a gritty start to this series and just like ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ where we saw Lula dying before we met Strike and Robin.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
(Season 2)
Episode Title :
Episode 1
Episode Director : Kieron Hawkes
Episode Writer :
Aired on : 10 September 2017

After the opening sequence, we see Strike sleeping in his small apartment over his office. Robin wakes him up for an appointment with a clearly rich but arrogant guy. Strike declines this work and instead focuses on a frumpy, middle aged woman Leonora Quine. In her strange manner, she takes some loose change out of her purse and asks Strike to call her husband Owen Quine who is hiding at a writer’s retreat. Strike makes the call, but Quine isn’t there. Leonora asks Strike to find Owen Quine, saying his literary agent Liz will pay the bill.

However, Liz informs Strike that she was no longer working with Owen and won’t be paying for anything. She categorises Quine’s latest work Bombyx Mori as a thinly disguised attack on all his contemporaries and is regretting that she sent the manuscript out to the publishers at all. It is in Liz’s office that Strike learns about the friendship than estrangement between Owen Quine and a prominent and successful novelist Andrew Fancourt. The woman we saw in the opening sequence was Andrew’s wife Ellie, who committed suicide because Owen allegedly published a vicious parody of her work.

Strike meets Robin’s fiance Matthew for the first time, and neither man is impressed by the other. During this get-together, Strike mentions hiring another detective, but Robin finds this news hard to take.

Soon enough, the gruesome corpse of Owen Quine is discovered by Strike, And I mean gruesome. And the police gets involved. The leading inspector is none other than Strike’s mate Anstis. The way the corpse had been staged clearly indicates that the murderer had access to Quine’s manuscript. And the police’s first suspect is Leonara – the spouse of the victim and all…

While trying to do some internet research about Quine, Robin receives a call from Matthew that his mother has just died. Robin tries to juggle both family and work, but commits to take Strike to Devon to meet Owen Quine’s publisher, who would not meet anywhere else. In this world of publication, it appears that everyone has secrets to hide.
On the way back to London, Robin confronts Strike about why he is not considering her as a detective assistant instead of hiring a new person. Once this is settled, she does some impressive driving to get back to London in time. While trying to figure out how to get home with one leg that doesn’t allow him to drive very well, Strike receives a phone call that Leonora has been arrested.

Episode 2

Robin is watching a TV interview featuring Owen Quine’s friend turned foe Andrew Fancourt, where he calls his dead wife Ellie by the name Effigy. This name was used in Bombyx Mori and so both Robin and Strike think that this means Andrew had read the manuscript of Bombyx Mori.

TV Serial : Strike
aka C. B. Strike
(Season 2)
Episode Title :
Episode 2
Episode Director : Kieron Hawkes
Episode Writer :
Aired on : 17 September 2017

Strike request his lawyer friend Ilsa to take on Leonora‘s case, seeing as how she is her own worst enemy when it comes to police and lawyers.

Matt finds out about Robin staying back for work in London and her drive to Devon. Robin tries to explain how she has always wanted to be an investigator and she doesn’t want to miss this second chance to be a detective. She returns to London and to work.

Strike and Robin try to spy on Andrew Fancourt’s house, but Strike ends up injuring his leg. So Robin takes on entailing Fancourt and finds that someone taped the parody of his wife’s story, over which she killed herself, to her grave. Strike has another meeting with Quine’s literary agent Liz. While Strike gets a lot more information out of her about the fallout between her writer friends, Liz also accuses him of being cruel.

Bit of a glamour time as Strike and Robin attend the Roper Chard party where Robin leads Andrew Fancourt to Strike for a brief interview. From the party, they also follow a lead with Quine’s editor, who indicates that Bombyx Mori manuscript doesn’t quite have the Quine feel to it.

Trying to piece the tale of Owen’s last public encounter with Liz, Strike goes for lunch with his brother Al to the posh restaurant, where this altercation took place. With Al’s help he talks to a waitress who witnessed the scene, who confirms that while Owen was “putting a show”, Liz appeared well and truly angry.

With the help of a literary analyst, Strike and Robin compare three different pieces of writing to check if they could be by the same author. Strike does have a theory that fits the pattern of events. But it is only when Robin finds a missing piece of evidence that the theory is complete…

With a little bit of chasing and running, they do catch the killer.

Views and Reviews:

Although the admiration for the books leads to high expectations from viewers like us, both the episodes of this season are enjoyable to watch as apure TV drama, in spite of the ghastliness of the crime and the corpse. The director has done a good job of neither underplaying the gruesomeness of the staging nor have they turned the revolting sections of Bombyx Mori into a lengthy trial. We quite liked how they have converted the scenes from the manuscript into surreal images featuring the same actors in different get-up. This emphasized the symbolic nature of this manuscript while spares the watchers the pain.

Just like the first season, since it is near impossible to capture the complexity of the full-length novel like ‘The Silkworm’ in two episodes, the storyline has been simplified a little bit. The sequence of events is different from the books and a lot of minor characters do not appear at all or have very little screen time.

But it is also the climax that has been downplayed quite a bit – none of Robin’s surveillance work at the end to gather some evidence or the seriousness of the last clash are shown on screen. As most of a detective’s work is good old plodding and hard work including unexciting days on end, the TV series has to speed up the course of events to keep the momentum going. And in the end, there is that one moment of Strike smiling and kissing Robin’s hand in a rare show of camaraderie and appreciation.

The book showed a lot of the underbelly of the publishing world and these episodes are also quite full of cynical lines like:

If you want lifelong camaraderie, join the army, if you want your throat cut by your friends, become a writer…

or the comment by Strike that all the people in this profession seem to be available only for the meetings that include lunch or drinks 🙂
The rival writers don’t seem to have anything good to say about each other or the publishers. And the publishers seem to go along with whoever is selling off the shelf on any given day…

I think it is a bit like how you think of doctors or nurses. Literature is also seen as a noble profession and hence we forget that it is just like any other occupation – full of deadlines, people with massive egos, workplaces filled with similar problems, and intense pressure to succeed with the added visibility through the media. You don’t get many chances at success in the world of writing either. The TV series highlights all this without making hard work of it. Its all in the periphery, but you can’t miss it…

The background score and the dialogues are simple and Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger bring more depth to their characters as the story reveals more about their previous lives as well as their current personnel conflicts. These are both good actors and they are working very well together in these roles. I liked that Robin is given more chance to display some of the raw emotions she was hiding in the first season when she was made all chirpy to balance out Strike’s personal disasters.

Summary:

This season is a shorter watch with only two episodes and will appeal to a lot of viewers who enjoy a good thriller and who-dun-it, even if they are not familiar with the books…

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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