Collateral is a four-part thriller set in London that takes place over four days. When a pizza delivery driver is shot down in South London, Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie, played by Carey Mulligan, is left in charge of the investigation. Refusing to accept his death as just a random act of violence, she must now figure out why he was killed.
What unfolds is a multi-layered story involving quite a few sub-plots. Firstly there's the victim, originally identified as a Syrian refugee. He has left behind two sisters who hold the key to his death but are refusing to co-operate. Then there's the manager of the pizza store who sent him to the address where he died.
There's the witness to the murder, an illegal Vietnamese girl who is living with the local Vicar (Nicola Walker). The Vicar is friends with the MP for the constituency (John Simm) and he used to be married to a messed-up mother of two (Billie Piper) who ordered the pizza in the first place. Throw in a returning soldier and the barracks she works at and you have quite the cast of characters.
As the investigation gets underway, DI Glaspie soon finds herself being drawn into the darker side of underworld London. Sifting between what is relevant and what isn't becomes a complicated task as various threads reveal little about the actual murder. Can the DI and her team finally untangle the web of trafficking and drugs and find out who committed the murder and why?
Collateral starts off well. The story has plenty going for it and the cast is top-notch. However, despite only being four episodes long, ultimately a lot of the mini-plots have absolutely nothing to do with the murder. In fact, if you took them out, nothing would be lost from the overall story.
It's worth a watch but don't set your expectations too high. Too many aspects of it are irrelevant and the actual crime-solving is at a minimum. There's more focus on the players than needed and with a limited run, it all got wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly. Better British crime dramas include Unforgotten and Giri / Haji