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Series / Strike (2017)

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"You and me
Me and you
Somehow we made it through"
— "I'll Walk Beside You", opening theme

Strike (known as C.B. Strike in North America) is a British Detective Drama by the BBC based on the Cormoran Strike Novels written by J. K. Rowling under the Moustache de Plume Robert Galbraith. It tells the adventures of a war veteran turned private detective named Cormoran Strike, who with the assistance of his eager secretary Robin Ellacott, applies the experience and skills he acquired as an Special Investigation Branch investigator to solving high profile crimes in a London which have eluded the police.

The series stars Tom Burke as Strike and Holliday Grainger as Robin. Kerr Logan (Alias Grace, Game of Thrones) has a recurring role as Robin's fiance, Matthew Cunliffe. Tara Fitzgerald appears in the first season as Tansy Bestigui, a witness to the death of Lula Landry who isn't quite telling the truth. Martin Shaw also appeared in the first season as Tony Landry, Lula's arrogant uncle.


The first three seasons adapted each of the Strike novels in turn: The Cuckoo's Calling in Season 1 (three episodes), The Silkworm in Season 2 (two episodes), and Career of Evil in Season 3 (two episodes). A fourth season based on Strike novel #4, Lethal White (four episodes), will air on BBC in 2020.

It was first broadcast on BBC One on 27 August 2017, after receiving an advance premiere at the British Film Institute on 10 August. The series premiered on 1 June 2018 on Cinemax in the United States and on HBO in Canada.


The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Tom Burke is considerably more handsome than Strike as he is described in the novels.
  • Adaptational Curves: Inverted with Robin, as Holliday Grainger (while gorgeous) is nowhere near as tall and curvaceous as the character is described in the books.
  • Adaptation Expansion: a few scenes that happened off-screen in the books are shown in the series: notably Shanker's scenes in The Cuckoo's Calling (see Early-Bird Cameo) when Strike asks him to 'borrow' and investigate a suspect's car and him reporting the results, and early in Silkworm we get to see the painfully awkward result of Robin trying to get Strike and Matthew to be friends over after-work drinks.
  • Adapted Out: Tertiary characters adapted out of this version of The Cuckoo's Calling include John Bristow's bitchy girlfriend, Tansy Bestigui's sister Ursula May, and Briony the gossipy makeup artist.
    • played with for Al Rokeby; he appears in several scenes in The Silkworm, but only one in the adaptation.
  • Badass Longcoat: Strike often tools around London wearing a long, dark topcoat that only serves to make him look more intimidating.
  • British Brevity: The first season adapts the first three novels in the series into seven episodes of sixty minutes each. The second season will be a four episode adaptation of "Lethal White".
  • Chiaroscuro: Strike's office only has one window that seems to be on the wrong side for sunlight and also is next to a neon sign, thus usually baring his office in dim, reddish light. He also largely eschews indoor lighting, which adds to the effect.
  • Combat Pragmatist: At the end of The Cuckoo's Calling, Strike gets into a fight with the murderer, which is full of this. John Bristow uses the bottle of Scotch he'd brought as a gift to try and hit Strike, who dodges; Bristow then slashes at him with the now-broken bottle end and knocks him to the ground. Cormoran unfastens his prosthetic leg to escape Bristow's grip. Just then Robin comes into the outer office; while Cormoran's warning her to run, Bristow tries to hit Cormoran with the prosthetic leg and shatters the interoffice window instead. Robin then picks up the prosthetic leg and thrusts it through the broken window to hit Bristow over the head with it, sending him to the floor so that Cormoran can use his fists to beat him to a bloody pulp.
  • Dies Wide Open: The unfortunate Rochelle Onifade in episode 1-1 when Strike comes to her apartment and finds her drowned in a bathtub.
  • Dramatic Drop: Robin in episode 3-1 when she opens up a package and finds a severed leg. She doesn't scream, but she does drop her cell phone.
  • Dutch Angle: Used when Strike wakes up with Hangover Sensitivity in Season 1 after Drowning His Sorrows following the news that Charlotte is engaged.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Fan favorite character Shanker doesn't actually appear in the books until Career of Evil; however, his off-screen appearance in Cuckoo's Calling becomes a full-fledged scene.
  • Fanservice: Downplayed. One of the few scenes we see of Lula before her death is an extended sequence of her wearing nothing but a Black Bra and Panties, but the camera is every bit as interested in her luxurious apartment and clothing as it is in her body. She is a supermodel, after all.
  • Flashback
    • Cuckoo's Calling has a flashback to the moment in Afghanistan where Strike lost his leg.
    • The Skilkworm has a flashback to the nasty argument Strike had with Charlotte in which she claimed to be pregnant.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: In Season 3 Robin is served the typical nasty "tomato juice and raw egg" concoction.
  • Hitler Cam: Combined with P.O.V. Cam in the Season 1 flashback where Strike remembers losing his leg in Afghanistan. Strike remembers the boy with the gun who loomed above him with a gun, then looked over and saw Strike was missing a leg. The boy winked and walked away.
  • The Lestrade: DI Eric Wardle
  • Match Cut: One scene in Season 3 cuts from a lonely country road in English farmland as our heroes are coming back from investigating Laing, to a busy road in London, along the Thames at night with the whole city lit up.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: A very interesting example, as it's done deliberately by Holliday Grainger in-universe. In story 1, in several of her scenes at home with Matthew, Grainger's normal voice is replaced by Robin's childhood Yorkshire accent. In story 2, Robin's Yorkshire accent comes out again - only this time in a conversation with Strike about her becoming an investigator and more of a partner in the business. It signifies her initial intimacy with Matthew, and later her growing closeness with Strike. In stories 2 and 3 it doesn't show up in her private conversations with Matthew, foreshadowing their growing apart.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Silence in the Season 1 flashback where Strike is lying on the ground after an IED in Afghanistan has blown up their jeep and cost him a leg.
  • A Spot Of Tea: Just the thing for Robin when someone delivers her a severed leg in the mail.


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