With the amount of interesting television out there, it’s easy to forget about shows. Because of that, the Boy and I have had a very technologically savvy system of keeping track for a while now – pen and paper. But when the paper started to run out of room with all the shows we’d finished and the new ones which were added, I decided to make the move to a digital note. Adding the note gave me new room for expanding the list. It also made me think hard about shows I wanted to add since we were starting to get down to ones we (I) had been avoiding for a while. So when I remembered that the Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling’s pen name for this mystery series) were going to be turned into a show, I quickly turned to the internet to see when and where. Turns out, the when was in the past, and the where was on Cinemax, a channel we have access to while we still subscribe to cable.
So what is Strike, or rather, “C.B. Strike” as it’s called in the U.S.? It’s a detective/mystery series that I must have finished reading just before starting this blog, about Private Investigator Cormoran Strike, and his assistant/business partner Robin Ellacott. Strike is a former British Military Police investigator who lost a leg while in Afghanistan, who happens to have a rock star father and grew up with his groupie mother. Robin begins the series as a temp worker who comes in to Strike’s office to work as his secretary, and enjoys the thrill of helping Strike, and then eventually begins training to become a proper PI herself.
The show is broken down into 7 episodes covering the first three books, and a fourth book came out just last month, and I have it waiting to listen to as soon as I finish the one I’ve currently got on the docket. The first three episodes cover the first book – The Cuckoos Calling – with the second and third books – The Silkworm and Career of Evil – getting two episodes each. Having gobbled up all three books as quickly as I could, and knowing that this was a show on the horizon, I went in hesitant with high expectations. I was also worried watching it with the Boy, since he can be picky, and because if he didn’t love a thing that I thought was so terrific, that would be disappointing.
No worries though – the series is wonderful. Tom Burke as Strike is nearly identical to my personal vision of what the character was, and Holliday Grainger as Robin is not quite what I expected Robin to look like physically, but she won me over with the perfect attitude and portrayal. I personally think these two characters have so much amazing friendly chemistry, and I don’t want them to become romantically entangled (watch me say this, and then read the next book and things change, which would be hilarious). And fortunately, the actors have great chemistry with each other as well, and by the time we get into the second and third mysteries, they have this easy way with each other where you can tell they really enjoy working together as a team, and care deeply about each other.
And oh yes, the Boy liked it a lot too. The mysteries themselves are tight, and have the possibility of letting you figure it out (unlike the Endeavour mysteries, which always seem to leave me going, “Wait – that’s the murderer???”), without making things too obvious. I had such a challenge watching with him because he would look over at me and say things like, “I don’t trust so-and-so, what do you think?” and I had to bite my lip having read the books. Fortunately, I only really remembered how the first one ended, so it meant the second and third were better reveals for both of us. We found ourselves each evening we were watching turning to each other and saying, “Strike tonight?”, and then once we finished the last episode, being a little sad. Because that’s it – no more.
I’m not sure if there are plans to remake the future books piece-by-piece after they’re made, or how soon after they’ve been published they would be filmed (Oh hey – they’re making book 4 ASAP). I hope they do more, because the production value was really great, and again – the acting was terrific. The show was modern, but not cheesy. We found ourselves looking at locations in London and saying, “Oh – I know where that is!” or else just enveloping ourselves in the cozy pub locales, or in the Boy’s case, looking longingly at the overcast skies that seem to be the entire weather pattern for the show…and really for England in general. In any case, if you have access to Cinemax, I would highly recommend giving this short series a watch, so that you too can join me in despairing as we wait for more books and episodes.
Details: C.B. Strike, on Cinemax.