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Reviewed by Will Harris
ne of the great ongoing annoyances of network television is the continued insistence in catering almost exclusively to the younger demographics. As a result of the suits’ decision to focus on “the kids” when determining their programming, many perfectly good actors end up being shuffled off to The Hallmark Channel for their starring roles. I’m not saying that shows like “Diagnosis: Murder,” “Matlock,” and “Murder, She Wrote” were necessarily the best things on television in their time, but it’s still pretty obnoxious that the elder viewers are essentially being ignored.
That’s why “The Invisibles,” about a pair of former thieves who decide to do one last score, only to find out that being a criminal is still rather invigorating, is such an enjoyable show. It’s far from an original concept – without even half trying, you could list off a dozen films which follow the same general theme – but that doesn’t make it any less pleasant to see Anthony Head (who’s likely still known best for his time spent as Rupert “Ripper” Giles on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Warren Clarke (Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel on the British detective series “Dalziel and Pascoe”) having fun playing a couple of old rogues.
Maurice Riley (Head) and Syd Woolsey (Clarke) make an attempt to retire to a quiet village in Devon, where they intend to live a life of ease. Maurice has been happily married to his wife, Barbara (Jenny Agutter), for some time, and she knows of his past, but those times are gone, and she’s quite happy about it, not least of all because they’d successfully kept his “profession” – he’s one hell of a safecracker – a secret from their daughter, Grace (Emily Head – and, yes, she is Anthony’s real-life daughter). Syd, meanwhile, is flying solo, though he does have a son who’s been a troublemaker all his life but has really gotten himself into a dilemma. He’s the impetus for Maurice and Syd to get back into the game, as it were, but they need a third man. What a surprise: they find one ‘round the pub. His name is Hedley (Dean Lennox Kelly), and he’s the son of one of their old colleagues. He’s not as well-versed as his dad, but he’s clearly got the crime gene in him, and in the end, the trio succeed at their task. So that’s it, then, right?
Don’t be ridiculous. Of course that’s not it. Within the subsequent five episodes, the guys manage to find themselves in five more crimes, ranging from a bit of blackmail from one of their regular nemeses on the police force to Maurice’s desire to crack the one safe he was never able to crack in his heyday. Yes, there’s an episode where Grace finds out what her dad used to do for a living, and yes, poor ol’ single Syd finds love in another. Obviously, there’s a certain sense of predictability and implausibility to it all, but the performances are what make the show work. Head captures the frustration of feeling as though he’s been put out to pasture, while Clarke’s well-worn features allow you to believe his concern over his age, his health, and his occasional loneliness in the world. As for the character of Hedley, he’s arguably the most predictable of them all, what with being married and having a wife who’s expecting their first child, but hey, every group needs a little bit of young blood to shake them up – even the Invisibles.
Special Features: None whatsoever. What a pity.