Criminal Record Review: Is Peter Capaldi Playing a Monster in Apple TV+ Mystery?

Hero or villain? Peter Capaldi and Cush Jumbo star in an early contender for the year’s top British crime drama.

Criminal Record Cush Jumbo Peter Capaldi
Photo: Apple TV+

This episodes one and two review contains plot details but is largely spoiler-free.

In eight-part crime thriller Criminal Record, Peter Capaldi’s DCI accuses Cush Jumbo’s DS of unconscious bias. Has she – a woman of colour – automatically believed a tip-off about a West African-British prisoner’s wrongful conviction because she’s primed to see racist conspiracy everywhere? Or is Jumbo’s character simply seeing racist conspiracy because she’s looking right at it?

That mystery is at the centre of this new drama from the makers of ITV’s Vera. Two episodes of writer Paul Rutman’s series are out now on Apple TV+, with the rest to follow weekly on Wednesdays until February 21. Has Jumbo’s DS Lenker stumbled on a corrupt ring of racist cops led by Capaldi’s DCI Dan Hegarty, or is she putting two and two together to make five?

Your take on the ‘Is Hegarty a baddie?’ question likely depends on your own unconscious bias about Peter Capaldi (The Devil’s Hour, Doctor Who, The Thick of It), an actor with a great store of menace from which to draw. Put Capaldi in the half-light and give him lines to deliver in a slow, deliberate purr and his characters seem capable of anything.


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