TV Series Review: Crossfire

Crossfire is a British drama series in which Jo Cross, a security consultant and former police officer, takes her family with a group of friends on holiday in the Canary Islands. Her marriage is falling apart but all her domestic issues fade into oblivion when the hotel, located in a relatively out of the way place, is attacked by two gunmen who manage to wangle their way into the heavily secure resort. The story unfolds as the guests are plunged into a nightmare of death with bullets flying and the innocent being picked off seemingly at random by the shooters. Can Jo pick up the threads of her former police training and assist the overwhelmed security officer with help on the way but evidently (by the rising body count) not soon enough?

Keeley Hawes is one of those bankable and very watchable British actresses that you follow, no matter what they are in. She is the pivot around which all the action centres. Her character is also the central focus, to a large extent, of the group’s friendships. Sadly, she is not as good a friend to one of the parties as she could be, with a flirtation gone a bit too far being the catalyst for the holiday itself. Other familiar faces include solid performances by Lee Ingleby, Daniel Ryan, and Josette Simon.

The series got mixed reviews and you’ll see why if you watch it. Although the action starts off with a bang and the shooting begins almost immediately, much of the pace is hampered by flashbacks of relationships etc that end up being a bit out of place and the thought of ‘who really cares about these when people are dying in the present’ comes to mind. What I appreciated most was the ‘reality’ aspect. The drama unfolds without the added oomph of big screen movies where the hero swoops in and the action is carefully curated so there is never a dull moment. The terror, the panic, the confusion, the horror, and unreality come across well because this could have happened in real life. The director chose to make it real, and the events are not exaggerated. People do stupid things and make the wrong decisions, and they die.

Jo falls at many hurdles and finds her police training has deserted her. It’s easy to sit in one’s chair screaming at the screen and wondering why the character doesn’t make this or that more sensible choice. But that is real life, and I think it made the whole story all the more terrifying, especially when the culprits and their reasoning for the attack are revealed. There are some heart-stopping moments, and I wondered what I would have done in those circumstances. Alas, this relatively good series stumbled in the last episode with a shmaltzy, socially woke, and extremely unlikely wrapping up of people’s lives. The director and producers would have done better to end with the finale on the island. But that’s just me. Should you watch it? Most definitely. Consider what you would do if two gunmen started shooting people around the pool at your holiday resort and you have no idea where your children are…