Bulletproof Episode 3 was another strong entry for the Sky One buddy-cop drama, as the organized crime teen busted a drug ring and the personalities of our heroes continued to be fleshed out with the help of riverside kebab stands.
There’s an overarching plot in Bulletproof, one involving a gunman with a skin condition whose weapon of choice is a firearm from the 1930s. We were introduced to it last week and it’s all very silly. That’s quite okay, though, because in each episode we’re also treated to a mystery of the week, which in the case of Bulletproof Episode 3 was the busting of a drug ring that involved a 15-year-old ginger kid who spoke like Troopz from Arsenal Fan TV.
This sounds like nonsense, but it was a good excuse for some legitimate character development, both for Bishop and Pike but also the rest of the organised crime team, including Kamali (Mandeep Dhillon), who it turns out is a lesbian, Nel, who isn’t making much of an effort to hide her attraction to the now-single Bishop, Munroe (Mandeep Dhillon), who can’t handle his cocaine, and even Tanner (Lindsey Coulson), who continues to be a consistently great character who happens to miss her scruffy dog. Turns out she’s human after all.
But the bulk of the episode was devoted to Bishop bonding with that young drug-dealer (he kept calling him “Ginger Nut”) over their similar histories growing up in the foster care system. Bishop took the kid on a ride-along to see the demolished remnants of the building he grew up in and the unpleasant fates of the kids he shared a room with, including one who now, apparently, “sucks dick for rock.” It was an intriguing development for Bishop which also contrasts nicely with Pike’s moneyed upbringing. To pay for his wife’s buy-in partnership at a law firm, he visited his father to inquire about a temporary loan, but ended up leaving when paps expressed obvious disdain at Pike’s career in the thick of it reflecting poorly on his political image.
For bonding with Ginger Nut, Bishop got to bed his social worker, which didn’t work out well (he called her Sophie and fell asleep in Pike’s daughter’s My Little Pony bed) or go unnoticed by Nel. The latter actually got a fair few moments of badassery this week, and I like her as a character. I hope she isn’t reduced to simply being Bishop’s love interest, although that isn’t looking likely. A low-key moment of the episode was the women in the department sneaking time for a spa session in Tanner’s office that made me laugh; when a story includes tough, no-nonsense women, it’s helpful to let them be women now and again and not just unusually sexy men.
The requisite chases and shootouts were present, including one in a drug manufacturing warehouse, and that local riverside kebab stand got some more screen-time, helping to bolster the sense of casual camaraderie that’s becoming integral to Bulletproof beyond its central pairing. That duo does remain as compelling as ever, mind, and Bulletproof Episode 3 had the usual helpings of funny and incisive banter. As the show becomes more of an ensemble piece, the personalities of Bishop and Pike continue to be rounded out, as we see how they interact with not just each other, but various members of their team and families.
What can I say? I really like this show. It’s manically energetic and entirely unbelievable, but it’s also populated with extremely likeable personalities and a finely-tuned sense of inner-city shenanigans. Small touches like white locals not believing Bishop and Pike are really coppers add a welcome social texture, and when it’s time to be serious, the show can do that too. Bulletproof Episode 3 devoted a lot of time to disenfranchised youth, and it ended on a particularly sour note that it didn’t undermine with jokes. The show overall might be a bit daft, but it knows when not to be, too.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.