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Wild Bill: Rob Lowe crime drama a criminal waste

Rob Lowe is wearing a dinner jacket in a ploughed field, screaming and hurling farm produce into the ground. And that is Lowe's high in the opening moments of his new crime drama, all the emotion on offer for the hour splurged from his beautiful face within the first three minutes.

ITV has a tremendous track record in crime drama and it is a genre the channel nails 99% of the time. Welcome, then, to the 1%. The wild premise of Wild Bill is that Bill (Lowe) is appointed Chief Constable of East Lincolnshire because the "Home Office directive of 2014 opened recruitment of senior officers to citizens of foreign countries".

A classic fish out of water, though this is a dish out of water situation, Lowe so inescapably Hollywood everything else on screen appears desaturated. This would have been an amazing episode of Murder in Successville; instead it's more of a crime scene, squandering the talents of Susan Lynch, Vicki Pepperdine, Tony Pitts, Rachel Stirling, Anjli Mohindra and others.

The series itself could do with an interrogation to learn its motives, because the tone changes direction more quickly than Donald Trump's autograph - one moment a quirky black comedy, the next a maudlin wail. Bill himself is as inconsistent. We learn he's a stats and algorithms specialist, the very skill for which he was hired, but there's a fleeting instance of this talent. Few algorithms come into play when he - for some reason - ends up in a car chase and hurling his five-a-day across a field. Lowe seems to be playing a red Kryptonite version of Chris from Parks and Recreation, who has lost all his optimism and ability to convey emotions. Perhaps Bill is suited to this place, his personality as flat as the marshes.

Over the hour there's a cold case, a decapitation, Eastern Europeans, at least one Eastern European villain in (bonus marks) a black leather coat, and minor family bonding between Bill and his wise tween daughter. None of which points towards the solution to a case, which is so outlandish it would have been considered tired in the nineteenth series of CSI: Boise, Idaho. The finale - let me tell you - is something you haven't seen on TV before, which isn't necessarily a recommendation.

You have to wonder if Rob Lowe will look back on this career move as his Wild Bill hiccup.

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