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DVD Review

DVD cover

Code 404


Starring: Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 06 July 2020

Detective Inspectors DI John Major and DI Roy Carver are the top crime fighting duo in the Met's Special Investigation Unit, but when an undercover sting goes horribly wrong, Major is gunned down on the job and killed. His body is fast-tracked into an experimental Artificial Intelligence project to bring him back from the dead. But something has been lost in translation. His arrogant demeanour and gung-ho approach remain, but his crimefighting instincts have completely deserted him. But while the experiment might be hailed as a scientific success, on the front line Carver is left dealing with an increasingly deluded partner, hellbent on revenge for his own death. Not to mention in the year since his death, Major’s wife has moved on, and her new boyfriend could cause Major problems...

Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays join forces in the new sci-fi mash-up Sky Original comedy series Code 404. The show takes police procedural drama and adds a touch of buddy cop movie and manages to deliver a comedy that is a little below par.

The blame is easy to pinpoint. The script just hasn't had the lumps bashed out of it. The dialogue and gags aren't quite polished enough, the characters aren't quite fleshed out enough, and the paper thin plot is stretched to breaking point across six episodes.

The comedy is shallow and obvious... you can see the majority of the gags coming a mile off. There's nothing clever, or original about this show... Even the acting is hit and miss. Take Daniel Mays's DI John Major. The guy was an arrogant show off before he was killed and resurrected. Wouldn't a smarter twist have been to bring him back as a guy who wasn't arrogant, but a nice, almost childlike, bloke who tries to do the right thing but who messes up because he's struggling both with the software upgrades and his new life? This would have made the relationship between him and his partner... not to mention his wife... all the more poignant. If we're rooting for Major then we can understand a little more the conflict in those around him as they try to come to terms with the old and the new Major. But as the new Major is the same as the old... the other characters can still dislike him and not feel bad about their indiscretions.

May is usually an actor who's character's are easy to warm too. Here, he is simply annoying. His jokes are badly timed and too obvious. As for the rest of the characters... I didn't really warm to any them, other than Amanda Payton's Dr. Alison Parfit, Michelle Greenidge's Judy... sorry... NOT Judy and Richard Gadd's Liam Cleasby.

Rosie Cavaliero's DCS Dennett was just laughably poor. Again, this is down to the script. When she's given the opportunity to play with a scene with little dialogue (the one way viewing glass in her office scene, for example) Cavaliero knocks it out of the park.

While I smiled from time to time, this didn't produce anything resembling an audible laugh. But the end of the final episode seemed to pull everything together surprisingly well and this made me suddenly warm to all of the characters... and for very different reasons. But it was just a little bit too late.

A tighter script and a more relatable set of characters would have helped propel this into a must watch series. As it stands it's just a rather bland comedy that will appeal to those who don't like to be mentally challenged too much.


Darren Rea

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