Thriller fans are in for a treat with superb bomb disposal series Trigger Point

The steel-nerved officers of London’s Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad are back in action in the second season of Trigger Pointstreaming on Stan. Travis Johnson praises this show that deals in both shock and suspense.

What is a bomb, narratively speaking, but a pre-packaged unit of pure suspense? No lesser a luminary than Alfred Hitchcock used a bomb in his famous analogy about suspense in cinema, noting that a bomb unexpectedly going off merely shocks the audience, while the knowledge that a bomb in a scene could or will go off takes the audience to dizzying heights of anticipation.

ITV’s superb police drama Trigger Point, now returning exclusively to Stan in Australia, deals in both shock and suspense, the whole thing being built around the exploits of the Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad (“expos” in cop jargon) headed by the steely Lana “Wash” Washington, played by Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure. It’s one of those concepts that is so blindingly obvious that you wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner; sure, almost every police procedural has a bomb-themed episode or three over the course of its run, but a series with that as its central conceit? That’s a recipe for explosive drama (we’ll try to keep the puns to a minimum, but the temptation is very real).

Created by Daniel Brierley under the mentorship of veteran TV creator Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty, Bodyguard), who acts as Executive Producer, the six-episode first season of Trigger Point went off in 2022, with Washington and her team, including Joel “Nut” Nutkins (Adrian Lester), John Hudson (Kris Hitchen), Hassan Rahim (Nabil Elouahabi), and Karl Maguire (Warren Brown) dealing with a campaign of terror orchestrated by a far-right splinter group known as The Crusaders.

Without delving too deep into spoiler territory, this second salvo of episodes picks up some time after the devastating events of season 1, with Washington having returned from secondment to Estonia, where she’s been training Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal teams—a nod to her past as a bomb tech in Afghanistan.

She’s not yet returned to active duty, though—and who could blame her? Instead, the first episode finds her lecturing business executives on how to protect their assets from terrorist bombings. “Be alert to the absence of the normal and the presence of the abnormal,” she advises, citing an axiom from her time in the field in Afghanistan, before going on to explain the three types of Improvised Explosive Device (IED, acronym fans): time (rigged with a timer), command (remotely detonated), and victim (set off by whatever poor unfortunate trips it).

It’s a neat little infodump in a series full of technical detail, but the show smartly keeps the exposition to a minimum. While Wash is delivering her lecture, central London is rocked by a massive explosion at a power station, the huge fireball visible from the high-rise Wash finds herself in. And so, our heroine finds herself once again thrust into the thick of the action.

Things aren’t all sunshine and roses in the Squad, though, following the deaths of Nut and Karl last season. The prickly Hudson, who was a prime suspect (speaking of great British cop shows…) last season, resents having to work with Wash again, although doughty Danny (Eric Shango) is happy to have her back in the fold. Plus, there’s a new commander to contend with: politically savvy careerist John Francis (Julian Ovenden), replacing Ralph Ineson’s Commander Bregman, who mouths platitudes about gender equality in the Met but clearly has no qualms about throwing Wash and her team under the bus should it suit his purposes.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Wash also has to deal with her relationship with her loving but rather hopeless father, Jeff (Kevin Eldon) and, more pressingly, her long-term boyfriend and fellow Squad member Thom Youngblood (Mark Stanley), their partnership being on shaky ground following her affair last season.

But police politics and personal problems (although ever-present issues hovering in the background, must take a backseat to the more immediate dilemma of a terrorist mastermind who is blackmailing and coercing innocents into being his catspaws, with frequently lethal results—the second episode sees the wife of one unwilling bomber held hostage with a bomb collar, while the ongoing investigation is faced with the hurdle that none of the immediate perpetrators have any idea what they’re doing or why. Add to that the very strong possibility that some members of the Squad may be susceptible to our mysterious villain’s leverage, and you’ve got a recipe for six episodes of almost unbearably high tension, punctuated with shocking moments of violence and devastation.

You get a lot of bang for your buck with Trigger Point (that’s the last one, promise). The procedural elements are well-researched and gripping, the themes of domestic terrorism and asymmetrical warfare could not be timelier given the current global political situation, and in McClure’s Lana Washington we have a superb protagonist whose cool approach to the job stands in stark contrast to her messy personal life. Thriller fans are in for a treat—Trigger Point is the bomb (sorry).