Welcome back Montalbano! Sicilian Salvo returns to salve our wounds of missing crime dramas in sunny climes. Turning Point is also one of the best – if not the best Montalbano episode – to hit our screens from the start of our on-screen Sicilian love affair.
Shockingly, at the start of Turning Point Salvo is considering departure from the police. With corruption recently exposed within the force he feels let down and at odds with his employer – less of a leader in his role and more of an individual. But, in a wonderful conversation with Mimi (Augello), another perspective casts a strong light across his agenda. Does he think again? Across just over 1.5 hours his later actions speak louder than words here.
Swimming in the sea – as he regularly indulges – brings Salvo closer to a corpse than usual. Taking the waistband tie from his swim trunks, he drags the body through the waves and brings it ashore. In a few moments of comedy, with which Montalbano viewers are now very familiar, those trunks hold up through the waves but fall suddenly when a shattered Salvo faces a gun-toting and endearingly misled elderly couple on the beach. (If you’d like to see the Montalbano posterior in all its naked glory, this is the episode for you.)
But mixed with that comedy is heart-touching humanity. While following up on the corpse, Salvo reaches out to an illegal and running away, immigrant child. And that proves key to the bigger picture of the episode’s plot as illegal immigrants are at its core.
Like other Montalbano episodes, Turning Point is not 100% perfect. We often have to wait to discover why Salvo has done what he has done, to be delivered in subsequent exposition tells. (Frustrating for the viewer.) We are also sometimes forced to wonder whether the production team takes advice from real professionals. When it comes to the dénouement for Turning Point, Salvo’s choice of dress for a sting is perfect for a night-time operation but so ‘Look-at-Me’ for a sun-baked, late afternoon engagement. Why the head-to-foot black? A faded shade of beige would have done the trick there.
But these frustrating points are minor within the bigger scheme, for Salvo is a good person and a man with a heart. He may feel he has to involve an imaginative application of the laws and rules now and again, but he’s always on the right side for justice and that’s why we love him. He may encounter the rot in society but he also knows so many who have values like his own and like ours, and that’s why we seek to devour more of him.
Inspector Montalbano has humanity at its heart at all times; Turning Point is the showcase for this. Don’t miss it. Now on BBC iplayer for your delectation until 10:39PM Sat, 1 Sep 2012.