If Towie put out a crime special it might look a bit like this shoddy London thriller about an ageing gangster whose plans for a peaceful retirement go south. The characters have that same style of stiff, awkward delivery, as if they’re speaking lines to each other over a dodgy Zoom link.
The star is TV mainstay Billy Murray (The Bill and EastEnders) who plays John Morgan, a gang boss with the telltale mahogany suntan of a cockney hardman done good. Morgan, semi-retired in Turkey, flies into London on a private jet for a charity fundraiser. But on the night there’s a spot of bovver with an old foe, alcoholic detective Frank Conway (Nick Moran). Morgan and his wife Sadie (Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott) have also arranged a dinner to meet their Instagram influencer daughter’s new girlfriend – and there’s a horrifically sleazy scene when the girlfriend arrives early to find Sadie wearing only knickers.
Murray plays villain Morgan with the menace of a bag of spinach wilting soggily at the back of the fridge – it’s almost as if his contract has stipulated a charisma bypass is a condition for the part. And everything is let down by the script, which feels cobbled together from geezerish cliches. “You’re like a British bulldog,” an associate growls at Morgan. “You’re proud, defiant, tenacious, old-school. But there comes a time in every animal’s life when it needs to be put down.”
In the third act, the family dinner party turns into a home invasion nightmare that is an ordeal for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, copper Conway is downing whiskies in a gentrified East End boozer, getting all riled up for revenge. A twist at the end of the meal is ludicrous. In cockney rhyming slang, this is pony and trap.
Nemesis is released on 29 March on digital platforms.