set in England
, written by Troy Kennedy Martin
and produced by BBC TV
in 1985. Its excellent cast included Bob Peck
(as police inspector Ronnie Craven), Joanne Whalley
(Craven's daughter Emma), and Joe Don Baker
operative Darius Jedbergh).
Barely has the 1st episode started, when Emma is shot dead right in front of her father's eyes. Grief-stricken, Craven investigates the murder and begins to realize how little of Emma's life he knew, and just how much was going on around him that he was completely ignorant of. The plot concerns, amongst other things, a secret underground nuclear plant about to be sold by its British owners to an American energy corporation, waste leaks from the plant into a local reservoir, an environmental group which tried to break into the plant, and the CIA in Britain.
It's the product of the mid-80s: Reagan in the White House and Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, CIA involvement in South America, the Falklands War, "We begin bombing in five minutes", "the enemy within", the arms race, Cruise missiles at Greenham Common, the idea of a winnable nuclear war between the superpowers (as opposed to Mutual Assured Destruction); and Reagan's 1983 proposal to spend $25 billion on the Strategic Defense Initiative--putting nuclear-powered lasers in space to destroy missiles launched against the United States by the "Evil Empire". At that time, some people though that the possibility of nuclear war was probably at its highest since the Cuban missile crisis.
But it's impossible to take all this in after one or two viewings; and even the published (by Faber and Faber, 1990) scripts have to be read a couple of times before one grasps the series' ambitious scope. The story that "Edge of Darkness" tells is so big that it can't fit neatly into the format, and maybe that's why, with its half-understood hints and suggestions of events unseen by us, it feels as believable as "real life".
It was hugely successful when it was shown in Britain and elsewhere in 1985-87. A large part of its success could've been due to the plot device of Emma returning to and speaking with Craven as if she's still alive. Because we too see and hear her, we never know whether Emma's presence is real, or whether she's merely a delusion that exists only in the mind of a bereaved man slowly going psychotic with grief and rage.