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Part 1 of Dark Heart episode 1 (part 2 tonight 9pm!) aired last night to mostly great reviews and previews. There were a MASSIVE number of visitors to the site last night, so I assume ratings will be be reasonable. There were also some (very deserved) kind comments about Tom Riley as DI Wagstaffe. Catch up with the first episode on the ITV Hub.

So, is it any good? The initial signs are promising. It’s written by Chris Lang, creator of the compelling Unforgotten, and has a top-notch cast including Tom Riley as lead detective Will Wagstaffe (Staffe to his mates) and Charlotte Riley (no relation) as his sister, who has problems of her own. The Telegraph

It's generic, but when it settles down it's promising, and Riley brings a slightly unexpected touch to juggling the cliches. Herald on Sunday

So we have Tom Riley playing DI Will Wagstaffe, an attractive man who more than fills a brief we’ve grown to know so well over the years – the tortured detective. Killing Times

I liked the noirish quality to this drama, which is based on a novel by Adam Creed and adapted by the estimable Chris Lang, the man behind Unforgotten, which is obviously brilliant. The Times

Tom Riley makes an admirable bid to become TV’s new heartthrob detective, Bodyguard’s Anjli Mohindra impresses as DC Josie, while Charlotte Riley steals every scene as Will’s downtrodden sibling – continuing her TV reign after appearing on dramas Press, Trust and Peaky Blinders. Metro

It’s atmospheric and quietly riotous – but there is also a whiff of the experimental side-project about it. Lang is clearly eager to exit his comfort zone and, it is tempting to conclude, jolt his audience out of theirs’ too. Tom Riley gives good stubble as troubled detective Will Wagstaffe... ...Dark Heart, adapted from Adam Creed's DI Wagstaffe novels, is solid pulpy fun. Everyone huffs about speaking in terse gumshoe cadences and there’s a comic-book quality to the vigilante, who wears a scary knitted mask and is shot through the grungy brown filter of a Nine Inch Nails video. With Lang’s own Unforgotten and the BBC’s adaptation of JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith novels, there has been a push recently to make crime procedurals more grounded. Dark Heart resists this trend and is conspicuously at ease in its ridiculousness. If only Wagstaffe amounted to more than a checklist of angsty sleuth stereotypes. His relationship with his sister feels like a writers’ room contrivance and his on-off girlfriend Sylvie (Miranda Raison) is, in episode one at least, as threadbare as a rug in a landfill. But the ambience is deliciously intense and it’s cheering to see a writer as established as Lang trying something different (even if his idea of different is David Fincher circa Seven). Dark Heart won’t be to all tastes and some devotees of Unforgotten may well loathe every grisly second. But those who like their pulp fiction served straight and without any knowing winks will lap it up. The Independent

...it’s to the writer’s and cast’s credit that this doesn’t feel cliched or repetitive. Instead Will, or Staffe, appears fully formed and believable, and we’re thrown right into his gritty world from the off. And they’re not pulling any punches, as his first case is dealing with the murder and torture of suspected paedophiles. So yes, it’s dark by name and even darker by nature. Both in the way it looks on screen – so dim and moody you might be reaching for the brightness button on your remote – and in its subject matter. These are gruesome murders, in a bit of a Se7en style, and certainly not for the squeamish or sensitive. The first two parts were originally shown as a pilot on ITV Encore in 2016, then a series was commissioned and four brand new episodes will follow. And we’re pretty gripped by it already. Daily Record

Dark Heart is no schlock horror movie, though. It’s a gritty and disturbing six-part detective drama in a similar vein to BBC1’s Luther and ITV’s own Unforgotten (which was also written by Dark Heart screenwriter, Chris Lang). The masked attacker was actually targeting suspected child sex offenders who had seemingly escaped justice. It wasn’t what you would call a pleasant watch but I was so gripped by it I barely had time to play, “Ooh, that’s him/her from Bodyguard”. The him and her in question were Tom Brooke and Anjli Mohindra, who played DS Budd’s war buddy Andy Apsted and unlikely terror mastermind Nadia in the BBC spy hit. Here, they play police colleagues of the lead character, edgy and mysterious DI Will Wagstaffe (a commanding turn from Tom Riley). Mirror

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