Stan Lee’s Lucky Man gave us another diverting episode this week in which Harry and DS Chohan chase down a kidnap victim who just happened to be investigating the previous owner of the lucky bracelet. The ploy of telling a self-contained story of the week that also has connections to the bigger story is largely successful. But now we’re with Harry and on board for the ride, why make him do such stupid things?
For those of us scarred by the sight of Jimmy Nesbitt running with all the grace of someone desperately trying to keep something between his butt cheeks, as we have been the past two weeks, it’s ok. It’s safe to watch this week. The dynamic duo of Clayton and Chohan are hot on the trail of Kate Olsen, a financial investigator who has been kidnapped. Her type-one diabetes and lack of medication lends this tale the ticking clock trope so beloved by both writers and viewers; will they find her in time? Will she die? Will we care?
That big, bald Russian bad guy whose been searching for Harry since the start is the kidnapper, so when it transpires that Olsen had been investigating the man who previously wore the bracelet, a gold bullion dealer who threw himself off the roof of his penthouse at the very beginning of the series and a man she believed was far too lucky, it’s not exactly a surprise. Like last week, the luck of the magic bangle is barely present and we’re firmly in the territory of a police procedural once more. But not before Harry burns a big pile of cash.
It seems Harry is a bit peeved on learning that his huge winnings in Lau’s casino a couple of episodes ago were down to a rigged roulette table. So he burns it. He’s perfectly happy to use some magic jewellery to beat the odds, but somehow winning by other nefarious means offends his moral compass. Perhaps the writers were trying to show us that Harry is a good guy, a straight copper who can be trusted? Regardless, it was a stupid inclusion. Harry wouldn’t have just burnt thousands of pounds. What is he, a previously unheard of band member of the KLF?
As Harry and Chohan investigate and race to save Olsen, Big Bastard Boss Winter and Detective Orwell try to uncover some dirt on Harry, there seemingly being no other crime to be solved at all in London this week. This leads Orwell to the Green Dragon casino and a meeting with the slippery Lily-Anne Lau, where he seemingly forgets he’s a copper and agrees to all her demands on a promise of some ‘documents’ linking Harry to her late father. Good work Detective. Why do they hate Harry so much?
Meanwhile, Harry gets lucky (sorry) with his ex who turns to him desperate and drunk before sobering up and chucking him out on his ear. Closing in on Olsen, he and Chohan escape death by burning narrowboat (really) and in a two-second piece of deduction that makes you ask, What? How? Uh?!!, track her to a shipping container just in the nick of time. Harry goes off on his own, gets caught by the bald Russian – finally! – and gets to play Russian Roulette to prove his bangle is the magic one. We end on a couldn’t-be-less-tense cliffhanger as Harry is about to be shot. Of course he isn’t, he’s the star. Oh, and also here are scenes from next week showing Harry alive and well.
Yet, aside from some lazy storytelling – they couldn’t even be bothered with an episode title this week – it’s still great fun and at it’s best when we’re with Harry and Chohan. Big Bastard Boss Winter and Orwell both look like they’re both discussing the various merits of drying paint and Eve, who pops up again before being also caught by the Russian, is pretty two-dimensional and dull. But Nesbitt is taking this seriously and there’s real chemistry between him and his partner. And Harry is not some tough guy who can take it all; he’s seriously scared and traumatized when having a loaded gun pointed at his head. But not so terrified that he can’t deliver the best line of the show to the bald hulking Russian. “Keep going Kojak or don’t you have the balls?!” Good man Harry.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man airs in the UK on Sky One, Fridays 9pm.