A young police constable learns what kind of cop, and man, he wants to be.
Four years into the police service that began in 1978, Henry Christie longs for something that will help him become a detective. After a promising assignment ends in disaster, he’s back in uniform for his solitary patrols of Lancashire’s sleepy Rossendale Valley. At 23, Christie is full of grand ideas and gallant impulses, like arresting Vladimir Kaminski, who routinely rapes and beats his girlfriend. After DI Robert Fanshaw-Bayley releases Kaminski, Christie tries to advance himself again. He disobeys orders during a robbery, follows a hunch and a car, and is shot at for his trouble. To teach him his place, Fanshaw-Bayley sends him to Dover with an attractive female police constable to collect a prisoner. After several pints too many, Christie lets his hormones do his thinking and loses the prisoner in the bargain. He has a steady, beautiful, loving girlfriend back home, but he can’t stay away from either the pubs or any woman who gives him a wink. Then, a colleague’s murder puts everything in a new light, and Christie is appointed to a special squad to solve the case. More violence and a potentially deadly encounter with Kaminski bring Christie face to face with a line he will not cross, whatever the cost to his future.
Although fans may welcome the coming-of-age chapter in Christie’s life, newcomers may wince as he repeatedly trips over his own feet. Like a stern but loving father, however, Oldham (Bad Tidings, 2013, etc.) finally forces the boy-man protagonist of this prequel to get over himself and grow up.