Bishop and Pike return in much the same style as we left them, with some new faces on the time and a criminal family to expose in a daring undercover mission.
This recap of Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 1 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
It takes roughly two minutes to be reminded of what worked so well about Sky’s buddy-cop action-comedy series Bulletproof — the chemistry between Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters, who play National Crime Agency detectives Bishop and Pike. Back for a second season after a two-year hiatus, Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 1 opens with the pair bickering on a stakeout that, thanks to Munroe’s (Jason Maza) ill-timed ringing phone, quickly goes wrong. A chase ensues, Bishop gets his Indiana Jones moment, and a million quid is recovered in the bust. It’s funny, action-packed, largely practical, and surprisingly expensive-looking for an English show — this might be a second season, but it’s much the same as it was before.
There are some changes, though. While Bishop remains an uncommitted bachelor and Pike a devoted family man, the office has some new arrivals: Scooch (Olivia Chenery) and Paige (Lucie Shorthouse). The dopey Munroe alongside David Elliot’s Jonesy makes up the rest of the team under no-nonsense Sarah Tanner (Lindsey Coulson), and the similarities with Bad Boys remain too obvious to ignore. Perhaps there aren’t that many changes after all.
There is, however, a new case to crack. When Pike gets a call from his wife, Arjana (Vanessa Vanderpuye), about a lawyer friend who has died from an overdose, and Bishop stops by a local barbershop which has recently been robbed, both arrive at the same conclusion: There is a new player on the streets, drying up the traditional supplies of drugs so that they can push a new product of their own.
Pike and Bishop shake down an informant (Oliver Bond) for another lead, and follow it to another exchange that the surprisingly capable Scooch and Paige interrupt for a name. It’s one that Tanner recognizes: the Markides, a notorious Cypriot family with fingers in all kinds of unsavory pies. One of the youngsters, Mikey, is a psychotic social-media-obsessed hooligan, so Pike and Bishop head out to antagonize him.
The scene in Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 1 in which Bishop ingratiates himself with Alex and his goons is the show at its best, highlighting the strong chemistry and comedic chops that make the pair so compelling. They’re undercover, spinning cover stories, and part of Pike’s is that he’s an ex-con on tag, giving him an excuse to return home to Arjana in the evenings. Bishop, however, stays behind and befriends Mikey, landing himself an invite to his swanky nightclub the following evening.
We also see the beginnings of what promises to be an intriguing subplot, as Tanner steals ten grand from the recovered million in order to fund her father’s care since he has Alzheimer’s. More on this, one assumes, in subsequent episodes.
When Bishop meets Mikey at the club, we get the obligatory display of his psychopathy as he threatens to burn one of his underlings for a bit of lighthearted banter. When Mikey’s right-hand man Brandon (Leeshon Alexander) brings up the missing million, Bishop suggests they retrieve it — as a counter-offer, they ask him to retrieve it for them. Is it believable that this mob ask Bishop to do the deed in the first place, or that they’re not immediately suspicious when he accepts without much fuss? Not really, no, but such is the way of things.
Tanner, at least, isn’t keen on the idea of staging a robbery at a police depot, but Bishop is able to talk her into it. Pike joins in, ostensibly as the driver, while Bishop, Brandon, and Mikey head inside to retrieve the money. Mikey is supposed to remain in the car, but he wants to have some fun and nobody can tell him no without blowing their cover — the problem is that his idea of fun is to torture a captured Munroe, who was posing as a depot security guard. We also get the sense that Brandon is the only switched-on member of the team, as he closes the door which was supposed to be left open for backup, meaning Jonesy and Paige aren’t able to get inside until Munroe has already received some punishment.
Despite this, Bishop and Pike are able to blag their way out with the money, sans the missing ten-thousand, earning Mikey’s trust in the process. Bishop suggests Mikey cut him and Pike in on their operation; later, he calls Bishop to confirm that they’re in. With the opening chase sequence giving a jolt of action, the robbery providing some effective tension, and an undercover plot promising to put both Bishop and Pike into some tough situations, Bulletproof Season 2, Episode 1 makes for a compelling setup to this second season.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.