British Comedy Guide

Vexed. Image shows from L to R: D.I. Georgina Dixon (Miranda Raison), D.I. Jack Armstrong (Toby Stephens). Copyright: Greenlit Rights.

Vexed

BBC Two comedy drama. 9 episodes (2 series), 2010 - 2012. Stars Toby Stephens, Miranda Raison, Lucy Punch, Roger Griffiths, Ronny Jhutti, Nick Dunning and Rory Kinnear.

Press Clippings

America's ABC network remaking BBC's Vexed

Despite being a terrible show on so many levels, ABC are looking to remake BBC2's comedy-drama cop show Vexed-the story of a mismatched male and female detective.

Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 1st December 2012

This most "Marmite" of current sitcoms ends its second run tonight with the love/hate gulf still intact as bumbling detectives Jack (Toby Stephens) and Georgina (Miranda Raison) lock horns once again. This time a violent heist at a family-run jewellers introduces them to an unfamiliar world of avarice and glamour, and while Georgina is seduced by the prospect of romance, Jack is distracted by an unexpected request from his soon-to-be-wed brother.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Daily Telegraph, 4th September 2012

Sometimes all a viewer wants is to switch off the brain and watch telly, something the increasingly lunkheaded Vexed aggressively demands, with plots largely dependent on everyone involved acting like an idiot. Tonight a very middle-class murder - a stabbing with knitting needles no less - comes to the mismatched cop duo's attention. As a procedural it's a washout: the killer is obvious from the start. A show for people who hate surprises.

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 28th August 2012

DIs Armstrong and Dixon, from the Met's light comedy/drama squad, investigate the murder of one of the contestants on a TV cookery show - the themed crime scene comes complete with a message daubed on the wall in tomato sauce. Dixon is forced to go undercover as a contestant doing battle with Gordon Ramsay-like host Robert Randall, as well the other hopefuls, ultra-competitive oddballs who would kill to get a labour-intensive job where they are shouted at all day.

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 21st August 2012

The silliness steps up a gear into high-camp mode as murder detectives Jack Armstrong (Toby Stephens) and Georgina Dixon (Miranda Raison) are temporarily transferred to the missing persons unit. There, the disappearance of a Lycra-wearing husband, and suspicions that his wife was having an affair, convinces them to go undercover at the local gym. But with Jack putting more work into his pecs than the investigation, and Georgina flirting with the male members, they soon run into trouble.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Daily Telegraph, 15th August 2012

Vexed: Series 1 DVD review

You'd be forgiven if this gem from 2010 passed you by in the schedules as there was little-to-no promotional activity for the series.

Cameron K McEwan, Cult Box, 13th August 2012

Vexed review

The main problem with Vexed is that all of the main suspects are reduced down to stereotypes and in this particular instance all academics are given a bad name with the professors either being snobby or sleazy while the students either being pompous or fairly simple.

Matt D, Primetime Unreality, 9th August 2012

Vexed is a strange affair, a comedy-drama about an odd-couple pair of police detectives that doesn't seem to have entirely resolved how comic or dramatic it wants to be. The essential dynamic has a self-regarding Eighties male throwback teamed up with an ambitious young female officer, a contrast heightened yesterday because the case involved a university gender studies course. Unfortunately, there's something genuinely ugly about Jack's dinosaur misogyny and the drama itself seems no less old fashioned in its attitude to women. At one moment, Jack's partner, Georgina, is excoriating him for his chauvinism, at the next she's simpering gratefully because he's praised her breasts. A bitter man-hating lesbian straight out of stock cupboard didn't help much either, or the decidedly foxed satire on academic life. It doesn't make sense and because of that it doesn't make you laugh.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 9th August 2012

Vexed: Series 2 Episode 2 review

This latest episode shows off Vexed to its very best; an out of place, out of date yet hilarious oaf of a man alongside a confidently insecure and playfully smart woman (doesn't hurt that they're both easy on the easy too) have fun, whilst "solving" a crime along the way.

Cameron K McEwan, Cult Box, 8th August 2012

BBC Two's spoof crime drama, recently returned for a second series, includes a character who seems a close relation to Philip Glenister's Gene Hunt from Life on Mars and its sequel Ashes to Ashes.

But rather than spitting his sexist lines out with a Hunt-like swagger, Toby Stephens's DI Jack Armstrong just assumes that all lesbians are simply waiting for his obvious charms. Miranda Raison, as his wearied detective partner Georgina Dixon, was left to remind her boss that not all pretty girls, straight or gay, pine for a middle-aged copper.

Just as in Life on Mars, Vexed offered characters that were in their own ways compelling, plus an absorbing plot. Was the girl found dead in the library murdered by the supposedly lesbian lover of her male tutor? Was it really plausible that a university so riven with Sixties gender politics still existed in the 21st century? And is it a requirement that all professors of English Literature are polo-neck-wearing Lotharios?

There were times during the hour that this viewer wished for an actor of Glenister's vigour to speak Armstrong's lines. But by about 40 minutes in, the characters seemed rather more convincing than the comic clich├ęs of Life on Mars. That doesn't make them half as much fun, but it certainly made it a lot harder to turn off without knowing whodunit in the library.

Matt Warman, The Daily Telegraph, 8th August 2012

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