Peacock Preview: CODE 404

Sep 29, 2020 Posted by in Features, Preview | Comments

This Thursday, October 1, Next Thursday, October 8 (the date has been pushed out a week), Peacock will launch its latest original series, the hilarious British police procedural comedy-drama Code 404, which first aired on Sky One in the UK this past April.

Set in the near future, the series opens in London as best friends/partners DI Roy Carver (Stephen Graham, The Murders at White House Farm, Snatch) and DI John Major (Daniel Mays, Temple, Good Omens)—the best team on the force—are working undercover on a mission for the SIU (Special Investigation Unit). As John works a gun deal, Roy is supposed to be on lookout. However, he becomes distracted when John’s wife Kelly (Anna Maxwell Martin, Motherland, Good Omens) calls him about their recent affair. He doesn’t notice the approaching danger until it’s too late to warn John, and his partner is shot and killed.

One year later, Roy is visiting John’s grave, still feeling guilty about the whole situation when he gets a massive surprise. It turns out that after he had died, John was whisked away to be the subject of an extremely experimental procedure. John was resurrected using stem cells and computer chips to rebuild his mind and body, and his system was augmented using A.I. However, from the outside John still looks the same as he’s still 90% human, and doesn’t seem all that different at first glance. While Roy is surprised and happy to see his friend again, he’s also feeling more guilty than ever as he and Kelly pursued a relationship a few months after John’s passing.

John’s boss, DCS Dennett (Rosie Cavaliero, Gentleman Jack, Black Narcissus), is thrilled to have her best cop back. She introduces the partners to American Dr. Alison Parfit (Amanda Payton, Trial & Error), the awkward nerd who performed the experimental procedure and who is now in charge of working the bugs out of John’s programming—which seems to get worse with each new upgrade she tries. While John’s major mission is to try to regain his memory and figure out who shot him, he also needs to prove his worth or risk being shut down and decommissioned. An A.I. ethics committee, led by Helen Chalmers (Tracy Ann Oberman, Friday Night Dinner), has been established to follow John’s progress and evaluate the program. Meanwhile, Roy and Kelly struggle with what to do about John, who still has no clue about their relationship and is eager to move back in with his wife.

As Roy and John try to find out who murdered John, they also find themselves mixed up in some bizarre cases-of-the-week, especially since John needs to prove that he’s been worth all the money and resources that have been invested in resurrecting him. While Roy and John often seem a bit dimwitted and stupid, they somehow always manage to get the job done, and are actually really good cops. Though John’s faulty software is causing him to be a little more erratic and egotistical than usual. And despite him being a super cop, John is somehow completely oblivious to the relationship between Roy and his wife, even though it is painfully obvious to everyone else.

I really enjoyed this series, binging through all 6 episodes in one sitting. The relationship between John and Roy is great, and develops nicely over the course of the season. Even though Roy had an affair with John’s wife, you can tell that he is sorry about it, and that there are true feelings there. However, he also loves and cares about his best friend and doesn’t want to hurt him with the truth.

Code 404 is also part workplace comedy, and there are some really fun running gags, such as the many fake-outs when Roy thinks John is about to announce that he knows about the affair, only to have things go in a different direction. At the station, there’s also wisecracking partners DI Ryle (Emily Lloyd-Saini, Catastrophe) & DI Gilbert (Steve Oram, The End of the F***ing World) who are constantly cracking computer-based jokes at John’s expense. And another running gag finds John constantly referring to coworker PC Williams (Michelle Greenidge) as “Judy”, which is not her name, and makes her grow increasingly more frustrated.

In general Peacock has been doing great with these British imports, especially the recent crime comedies like Hitmen and Code 404. These short self-contained seasons make for a fun, quick binge, taking the characters on a nice story arc while also leaving room for plenty more wacky cases and situations. A second season of Code 404 is already in the works, and I can’t wait!

At launch, all six 22-minute episodes of the first season of Code 404 will be available to watch for Peacock Premium subscribers, while those with the basic free tier should be able to at least check out the first episode.

Updated on 9/30, the release date was pushed out a week to Thursday 10/8