Blimey. A lot happened in the first episode of ITV’s The Level, didn’t it? We were introduced to Detective Sergeant Nancy Devlin, the perfect policeman who happens to have a hush-hush friendship with drugs trafficker Frank Le Saux – a man who was killed off in a Sean-Bean-beating time of five minutes.
Plus, good-or-maybe-bad-cop Nancy was shot by the same assailant and had to investigate the shooting she secretly witnessed while nursing a bullet wound. And then forensics revealed there is an unidentified witness (that’s Nancy. Come on, keep up) roaming and police are searching Brighton for their (her) whereabouts.
So much to digest. So many questions. Starting with…
1. Who shot Nancy and Frank?
The biggest question so far. Just who pulled the trigger on the pair in the woods? Were they professionally trained? Remember, the marksman managed to hit Frank in the chest in the dark from a distance. And then they demonstrated some quick footwork to almost catch up with Nancy.
But expert assassin or not, they’re doubtlessly angry enough with Frank to blow off both his eyelids. Which leads us to our second question…
2. Why did Frank get shot?
Was it because of the “trouble in Newhaven,” as he said? If so, what trouble could Frank stir up that would provoke somebody to finish him off in such brutal fashion?
And we’ve also got to consider this: Frank must have been waiting outside his car a while before meeting Nancy. Why didn’t the killer strike earlier? Was the gunman waiting to take out Nancy too? And will they try and kill her again?
3. Will Nancy survive her gunshot wound?
She’s a Detective Sergeant, but Nancy Devlin is by no means a first aid expert, attempting to treat her midriff wound with what looked like lozenges bought online. And her lack of know-how combined with her inability to go to the hospital and admit she’s the witness is leading to one unhealthy looking hole.
Never mind if she’ll make it to the end of the series, after collapsing in front of childhood friend Hayley (Frank’s daughter), show bosses clearly want us to question whether Nancy is killed off in the first episode (we’re guessing she lives to see another day, given that she’s at the centre of the series and Philip Glenister’s already filled the quota for unexpected deaths).
But, yes, if Nancy doesn’t level off with a doctor soon she’s going to have problems making it to episode six.
4. What’s the relationship between Frank and Nancy?
What exactly have Frank and Nancy got going on between them? We know Nancy’s been close to Frank since her childhood, but how exactly? We want to believe that it was all innocent merry-go-round-smiling-and-eating-candy-floss-memories, but this is a show featuring a woman who spends every trip to the bathroom examining her a possibly gangrenous bullet hole on her side. Light-hearted it ain’t and something sinister could be at work.
We know the two are close – Nancy gave up a night with Rob James-Collier’s Kevin O’Dowd (a man with the fastest recovering leg on TV) to meet with Frank in the middle of nowhere – so what if it’s more than a paternal relationship? And how has Nancy helped out Frank in the past? Horrible questions with undoubtedly horrible answers.
5. Who drove Delia off the cliff?
You know, Delia Bradley. The corrupt customs officer? The one who was thrown off the cliff Robot-Wars-style by a haulier truck. Just who is out to get her? And why? Was it because of the vital piece of information she was about to divulge to Nancy?
Also, out of all the methods to kill her, why use a lorry from a haulier connected to Frank? Was the assailant trying to frame someone else – or merely taunting the cops? And with Delia in such a sorry state in hospital, will Nancy ever get her hands on that intel?
6. Who is the police mole?
Somebody out there knows Nancy’s secret. They know she got shot and headed to a chemists for aid and they’ve got the CCTV footage to prove it. But who abused their police power to get hold of the tape?
Is it Noel Clarke’s DS Gunner Martin? What about eagle-eyed boss DCI Michelle Newman or happy chappy DS Kevin O’Dowd? And how else have they twisted the force of the law?
We might not get to the bottom of this for a while.
The Level continues next 9pm Friday, ITV