BBC IPLAYER Crime Dramas Drugs Gangs Watch Guide

Why You Must Watch The Responder

When first seeing trailers and promotional material for this series, I was not optimistic about it, however, upon watching the first episode I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed all episodes. I was incredibly surprised at how good The Responder was, and I’m sure you will be too. Here’s why you must watch The Responder on BBC iPlayer.

Overview of The Responder

The Responder is about a corrupt cop from Liverpool, England who’s dealing with a number of shady individuals who lead him into a dark predicament later on as the series progresses. Starring Martin Freeman as the main character, and also Adelayo Adedayo as PC Rachel Hargreaves, his new partner. Chris is a hardline cop who has a different sense of justice in downtown Liverpool.

Although most English cops don’t exactly have a great reputation when it comes to working only within the confines of the law, the lengths Chris goes to in order to fulfil his role could be described as illegal but excusable. In this series, he is faced with a hard decision when a young girl he knows steals a large amount of cocaine from a local drug dealer who happens to be Chris’s old friend from school, and whose wife he also knows.

Main characters in The Responder

The main characters in The Responder were certainly very well written and they must certainly surprise me. Particularly with Adelayo Adedayo, who I had not seen in anything recently. However, in this series, she played her part really well, and her acting was really good. But I will come to that later. Here are the characters from The Responder BBC.

Chris Carson

Chris is a policeman stationed in Liverpool, currently working nights as a responder to urgent calls. The job is tough and has taken a serious toll on his mental health, with a programme of free therapy sessions doing little to alleviate the strain.

As his state continues to darken, Chris becomes distant from his loving wife and young daughter, while he also exhibits increasingly extreme outbursts towards nuisance callers. In the first episode, he saw an opportunity for redemption – but it could put him in the sights of some very dangerous people.

The Responder - Why You Must Watch This Thrilling Crime Drama

Rachel Hargreaves

Rachel, a rookie police officer, experiences the strain of long hours and intense encounters. Her idealistic outlook clashes with the world-weary Chris, who prioritizes procedure over all else. As they patrol together, Rachel’s perspective on police work may be challenged.

Adedayo, known for her lead role in Some Girls and comedy gig on Timewasters, also contributed to the crime thriller The Capture. Her exceptional talent shines as she brings depth to her characters in both comedy and crime genres.

The Responder BBC - Adelayo Adedayo


In the heart of Liverpool’s city centre, Casey, a desperate young addict, finds herself living a life of destitution on the streets. Motivated by her dire circumstances, she resorts to a risky act of theft, targeting a substantial quantity of cocaine. However, her ill-fated decision entangles her in a perilous situation, placing her at the mercy of dangerous individuals. She is played by Emily Fairn who does a great job portraying her character.

Amidst Casey’s desperate predicament, there is one person who becomes her only beacon of hope: Chris. As the sole barrier between Casey and a grim and potentially fatal destiny, Chris takes on the responsibility of safeguarding her. However, Casey’s willingness to help herself appears to be less than focused, adding an additional layer of complexity to their challenging dynamic.

Emily Fairn - The Responder BBC ONE

The Therapist

Elizabeth Berrington serves as a therapist employed by Merseyside Police, providing counselling to officers who have been psychologically affected by their demanding job. She gained recognition for her role alongside Martin Freeman in The Office (UK) Christmas special. Her career includes notable roles in Waterloo Road, Stella, Good Omens, and Sanditon.

She also appeared in Last Night in Soho and had a minor role in the award-contending film Spencer, inspired by Princess Diana. Berrington’s versatile talent and dedication make her an invaluable asset to both the entertainment industry and the well-being of the police force.

Elizabeth Berrington - The Responder Therapist

Sub characters from The Responder BBC

The sub-characters in The Responder were really great and I think the show did a great casting some of these characters, as they were believable and fun to watch. We had Josh Finan playing Marco, Ian Hart playing Carl, and MyAnna Buring as Chris’s wife Kate Carson. They all presented spectacular acting and I was surprised at how reliable they were, considering what the story was. The character was very believable and definitely make the series all the more worth watching.

All in all, you will have a great time watching these characters when you see them in the series, that’s for sure. So, if you’re interested in this series, give it a go. Anyway, moving on, we will take a look at some of the reasons why you should watch The Responder.

Reasons why The Responder is worth watching

There are many different reasons why this show is worth watching. Mainly it comes down to the characters, the plot and the execution. All, these were very well taken care of during the series. Anyway, here are some of the reasons that The Responder is worth watching.

Believable plot

First of all, the main aspect of the series that I liked was that the plot was believable, and not too hard to follow. It’s not too over the top and could most certainly happen in a city like Liverpool, that’s for sure. Without giving too much away the story focuses on a corrupt police officer called Chris. He does their best to protect their local community in his own way.

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A young girl he knows steals a huge quantity of cocaine. It has a street value of over £20,000 and tries to sell it off. Doing this leads the drug dealer she stole it off to start a campaign against her and Chris who is also his old school friend (it’s complicated). The story takes many violent and dramatic twists and this is what truly makes it worth watching.

Violence realism

In the world of drug dealing, violence is never far away, and that is most certainly in terms of The Responder BBC. There are different serval scenes which display violence at the hand of criminals and police alike. The series does not shy away from violence at all and uses it extensively to create tension between scenes.

Good character arcs

One character that I really liked in the show (and there are a few) was PC Rachel Hargreaves, who becomes Chris’s partner. She begins as a shy and inexperienced police officer who just wants to assist others. However, Rachel’s boyfriend is controlling and mistreats her, which creates challenges for her in her personal life.

The Responder - Why You Must Watch This Thrilling Crime Drama
© BBC ONE (The Responder)

I won’t ruin where Rachel’s story goes, but basically, her boyfriend locks her in a storage space & leaves her. Towards the end of the series, there’s a showdown between Rachel and her boyfriend, with his coworkers present. In brief, she stands up for herself in a remarkable way.

It was truly satisfying to witness this development and it brought more complexity to Rachel’s character. I assure you that Rachel’s journey makes the series highly enjoyable and adds an extra level of excitement to the already brilliant storyline.

Realistic dialogue

Another reason you must watch The Responder BBC is of course the dialogue, which is sweet, short and on point. Of course, in Liverpool, and dealing with the drug underworld, swearing is a part of life, and a frequent factor in any conversation.

The Responder BBC manages to showcase a high level of dialogue which is both relevant to the story and believable (they actually sound like how people talk).

Too much swearing is unfunny, annoying and pointless, too little is unrealistic and soft. The Responder BBC hits the nail on the head, making sure characters talk to each other how they would, but still, leaving enough room to convey and push the story forward.

Gritty tone

There are many urban-action, gangster-style movies, which involve gangs and criminals. Instead of portraying them in a realistic light, the series (which sometimes uses US producers etc) elect to glamourise the crime life, galvanising it in Western tropes and Gentrification. I would say this is totally true of the Top Boy Series 2 or Blue Story.

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The Responder BBC presents a barefaced, reality-driven yet still entertaining story of drug use, betrayal, gangland killings and more, all within 1 series. The scenes are raw, and brutal but still contain humanity, namely when Chris goes to see his therapist.

Conclusion – Why you must watch The Responder

In conclusion, “The Responder” is a must-watch series on BBC iPlayer. Its believable plot, well-crafted characters, realistic dialogue, and gritty tone make it a captivating and immersive experience. With a storyline that is easy to follow and characters that undergo compelling arcs, the series keeps viewers engaged from start to finish. It fearlessly portrays violence and drug underworld, while still maintaining moments of humanity. “The Responder” strikes the perfect balance between entertainment and authenticity, making it a highly enjoyable watch.

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