A young woman is running through a wood at night, chased by a shadowy assailant. So far, so rather too familiar. But this new Euro-crime drama then opens out into something quite different. Our runner becomes the latest victim of a serial killer working across Europe, and a French cop pulls together a team of experts (under the aegis of the International Criminal Court) to try to bring him to justice.
Central to the team is the one non-European, an ex-NYPD officer called Carl Hickman with a shot-up hand, an inconvenient morphine habit and Sherlock-like powers of deduction, played with twitchy intensity by Prison Break’s William Fichtner, who’s discovered sweeping up in an Amsterdam fairground (why is subsequently explained).
The history of cross-border European crime-drama co-productions is a mixed one. For every success like The Bridge (which is yet to be surpassed), there’s a real butcher’s muddle like Jo – Jean Reno being impenetrably French in Paris with co-stars, including Orla Brady and Grantchester’s Tom Austen, playing French characters with American accents (you probably missed it, as it only lasted eight episodes, flitting briefly across Fox back in 2013).
But Crossing Lines, which originates from Criminal Minds’ exec producer Edward Allen Bernero, manages to makes the team’s different skill sets and approaches to law enforcement believable. And they all have intriguing back stories, which should come in handy as the season progresses.
It’s fast-paced (everyone has travel luggage as they flit every few minutes between Euro-capitals – Paris, the Hague, Berlin) and, at least in the two-part pilot, well plotted, if not exactly subtle. Donald Sutherland pops up occasionally to add gravitas as an gnomic ICC bigwig bankrolling the group, and keen eyes may recognise Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones’s Faceless Man, Jaqen H’ghar) as Sebastian, the team’s German tech expert.