TV pick: The Last Panthers

The television series The Last Panthers starring Samantha Morton.
The television series The Last Panthers starring Samantha Morton.

In this dark and shadowy new British series from Sky Atlantic, Oscar and Golden Globe winner Samantha Morton gets to play a gritty, almost James Bond-esque character, on the hunt for an Eastern European gang of diamond thieves known as Pink Panthers.

It begins with a daring daylight raid on a jeweller in Marseille. The thieves are bold and well organised, with an orchestrated escape that ties the police in a knot and delivers full-blown action.

One thing goes wrong however - a young girl is caught in the crossfire and killed, and that taints the gang and their newly stolen diamonds.

Samantha Morton as Naomi and John Hurt as Tom in The Last Panthers.
Samantha Morton as Naomi and John Hurt as Tom in The Last Panthers.

It's a key slip-up from the Panthers, who forged a reputation as Europe's best jewel thieves at the beginning of the millennium, but disappeared five years ago, and haven't been seen since.

It's a mark of desperate times that they've returned now, and the heist sparks a series of investigations across Europe, with Morton's insurance investigator Naomi, her boss Tom (John Hurt) and passionate young French police officer Khalil (Tahar Rahim) teasing out a complex web that runs across Britain, France, Serbia, and Bosnia.

What starts with diamonds, leads to guns, drugs, high finance and involves the corridors of power in the EU, the City of London and the murky web of Europe's criminal underworld.

Through the eyes of our main characters we travel back and forth between the dark days of the 1995 Balkan conflict and the evolution of organised crime in Europe, to the modern world of gangsters and Eurobanks, and a new breed of criminal - the "Banksters".

It crosses languages, classes, cultures, resulting in a six-part modern day thriller that melds politics, passion, and commentary on the state of Europe - plus it has a theme tune by Bowie.

Tune in

Where: Rialto Channel
When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
What: More than a diamond heist thriller series

- TimeOut

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