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Series: The Wrong Mans

The Wrong Mans is a 2013 dark comedy made for The BBC, which focuses on two well-meaning idiots who end up entangled in a world of crime. The protagonists are Sam Pinkett (Mat Baynton), an unambitious office worker in Berkshire County Council; and his friend Phil Bourne (James Corden), who works in the county building, but not for the county. Both of their lives take a turn for the interesting - yet also perilous - when Sam picks up a ringing mobile phone, and answers it, which serves only to draw him, and his friend, into a massive conspiracy of kidnapping, murder and sushi.

A second season has been ordered by BBC Two; Filming began in August, 2014, as James Corden has a new job in America starting early next year.

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Sam and Phil.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Scarlett starts as a Damsel in Distress. However she attacks her husband due to problems with the ransom and kills him, then frames Sam and Phil for it, forcing them to recover the MacGuffin for her.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Episode five. Helicopters and agents pointing guns at them and Phil is all ready to go out with a bang.
  • Book Ends: At both ends of the first series, the protagonists fist bump, and both times Phil berates Sam for not exploding it.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Scarlett when she is kidnapped. Later Sam and Phil do this to Jason when holding him hostage. Happens to a cleaner so an agent can infiltrate the building. Finally happens to Lizzie.
  • Comically Small Bribe: When Sam and Phil are refused information on the car crash victim. Needless to say it doesn't work.
    Phil: How about now? That's £2.20, right there.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted. Scarlett is set up as one when she is kidnapped until she jumps across from one building to another with relative ease and kills her husband to frame Sam and Phil.
    • However played straight with Lizzie, who is held hostage so Sam delivers the documents.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Marat Milankovitch, sort of. What he does to Sam comes close to molestation, although his sexual advances become more respectful once he learns that Sam is not, in fact, the prostitute he hired.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. When Scarlett attacks her husband she accidently kills him.
  • Embarrassing Password: Phil speculates that Lizzie's password is 'samhasnopubes'.
  • Foreshadowing: The animations that run alongside the end credits recap the events of the episode, but conclude with a hint to what happens next. Edges into Trailers Always Spoil.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Episode four: some characters are speaking in Chinese with English subtitles. One character exclaims "f**k" in English, with Chinese subtitles,
  • Harassing Phone Call: One of these at the start of the first episode sets up the whole narrative when Sam answers it. Another in the second episode kindly asks Phil to lie down or be shot.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Mathew Baynton from Horrible Histories and James Corden from Gavin and Stacey. He's also quite well known as Craig from Doctor Who.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: In the first episode, in an attempt to find Mr. Stevens, Sam pretends to be a patient, and Phil a doctor pushing him along. It goes inevitably wrong; two gurneys get accidentally swapped. When Phil finds out that as a result, Sam is going to get his leg amputated, a mad rush ensues when Phil and his new patient try to get to the operating table in time.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Pretty much everyone who reviews the show starts by commenting on how irritating the title is to say. One reviewer stated that it sounds like 'you've turned into a LO Lcat halfway through'.
  • Moscow Centre
  • Mugged for Disguise: A cleaner in episode 3. However the agent is already mostly in disguise and only takes their hat.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: In episode 4, the music box has been placed in a room full of music boxes. It's not intentionally hidden, but as Phil has no idea what the music box he's seeking looks like, it may as well be.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Inverted. The series is set in the very real Berkshire area of Bracknell but was actually filmed in neighbouring county, Surrey.
    • It should also be noted that Berkshire has't have a County Council since 1998.
  • Oh, Crap: The third episode when Scarlet realises that her husband sold a music box of vital importance.
  • Production Posse: James Corden and Mat Baynton came up with the concept on the set of Gavin and Stacey.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Phil gets to the operating table just in time, he gives an incredible speech to the doctors who nearly amputated Sam's leg which nearly makes the situation seem serious for a brief moment.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sam and Phil. Pretty standard for this type of plot. By episode 6, they have beat up several people, dodged numerous bullets, escaped pursuits from several spy agencies, leapt onto a moving train, and taken out an assassin on a motorcycle—just to name a few. They manage to look badass even with go-carting apparel on when they walk into the Black Tie event.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The two protagonists work in Berkshire County Council (now fictional; it split into six unitary authorities in 1998). This works against them when they hide a hostage in a large, rarely used room; a meeting is held there later that day which neither of them are aware of.
  • Working with the Ex: Sam and Lizzie both work at the Berkshire County Council. It is made even more awkward when Lizzie is also introduced as Sam's boss on the Bracknell project.
WhitesBrit ComYes, Minister

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