January 22, 2016

In gritty contemporary crime drama Fraud Fighters II, professional motor fraud investigator Vicki Mulholland finds herself plucked from the polite white collar world of Big Yellow Insurance Company for a secondment with hard-living tough-talking anti-fraud police squad, the FEDs. Sparks fly as the FEDs’ old-school get-things-done style clashes with Vicki’s no-nonsense whiter-than-white by-the-book ethos.

“The secondment programme is here to stay,” insists DCI Ollie Little as he faces down disgruntled colleagues in a noisy meeting at the FEDs’ downtown HQ. “Vicki brings a huge amount of experience with her,” he perseveres over raucous catcalls, ribald cries of “I bet she does!” and bawdy masculine laughter. Bringing in someone with a fresh perspective, he persists, over a chorus of disapproval, “can improve the way we work together, and ultimately bring more insurance fraudsters to justice, to protect the public and the wider economy.”

“Have you finished, Sir?”, asks hard nut plain-clothes fraud fighter DI Mickey Lonsdale with barely concealed contempt, “because there’s motor fraud going on out there right now, and – with all due respect to Miss Holland or whatever her name is – those villains ain’t gonna catch themselves.” To his colleagues’ murmured assent, Lonsdale snatches up his brown leather bomber jacket and storms out of the briefing.

As, one by one, the other fraud fighters get up and head for the exit, plucky Vicki calls after them, insisting that she is ‘excited’ to be working with the FEDs.“Hopefully I’ll be able find new ways the industry can help make it easier for you to secure convictions,” she calls vainly after the last few stragglers, “and make life even more difficult for those looking to commit insurance fraud.”

“Don’t worry, Love,” reassures an older officer. “They’re like that with everyone to start with.” Not sticking around to be patronised or insulted any further, Vicki speeds across London in her sporty red saloon. We sees her pounding the treadmills at a swanky gym, fire in her eyes, then (fleetingly) showering, then sitting up late in her hotel room, the million twinkling lights of the nighttime capital skyline twinkling through a floor-to-ceiling window behind her, as she scans intently through ream upon ream of motor fraud paperwork, jotting frequent notes in the margins. Finally, a look of determined confidence settles over her comely features.

As one day follows another in her challenging new role, we see the feisty lady fraud buster shrug off her co-workers’ sexist banter and thinly veiled attempts at intimidation. Then unexpectedly she wins the grudging respect of her former adversary, DI Mickey Lonsdale, when a motor fraud bust goes badly wrong and only her quick thinking saves Lonsdale’s beloved mentally retarded German Shepard from being run down by a renegade gang of crash for cash asylum seekers in a Peugeot. But side-lined senior officer Derek Darnby remains a thorn in Vicki’s side and behind a facade of false friendliness he secretly plots to undermine her position once and for all.

Just when Vicki appears to have won over her new colleagues, and her relationship with the formerly hostile Lonsdale blossoms, the devious Darby springs his trap and Vicki finds herself accused of tipping off fraud ring mastermind Danbash Darrawiddy, allowing him to flee the corrugated iron pallisade of his crooked claims compound seconds before the FEDs swoop.

Threatened with disgrace – with even Lonsdale doubting her – Vicki’s time with the FEDs looks set to end badly. But one last twist remains to be played out. When the entire force scrambles to take on an all-out assault by the notorious Crash Claims Crew, an unlikely saviour comes to Vicki’s aid, promising to produce exonerating evidence to disprove her involvement in the Darrawiddy affair – but there’s a high price to pay for this assistance. As Vicki wrestles with a seemingly impossible moral dilemma, news comes through that Lonsdale has been captured by the C3 Crew and his life could be in peril – leading to an unforgettable knife-edge dramatic conclusion.

Must-see crime drama coming this Spring.

Or something.

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