BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
One complaint the non-Nollywood-watching Nigerian has had consistently about Nollywood over the years has been the absence of crime thrillers like their Hollywood counterparts. While this grouse is understood, it is also overreaching, considering that these detective comings and goings do not frequently happen in the Nigerian society. A society’s stories are most often the reflection of its realities, so movies based on family dramas are more reflective of our melodramatic society, comedies are reflective of our easy sense of humour, and supernatural thrillers are reflective of midnight happenings many believe to be a given, among other common genres. Still, Red TV’s Inspector K has created something for this complaining sect that manages to reflect our society’s humour while still going about a detective plot, a move that is both witty and risky. Whether this works out in the end or not is another matter entirely.
Inspector K is a 2017 crime comedy series that tells the story of a murder committed in a house party. An arrogant celebrity blogger, Lisa Maye (Ijeoma Aniebo), who has managed to acquire a lot of enemies by indiscriminate gossip visits this party with her awkward personal assistant, Nadia (Ade Laoye). She runs into an aggrieved Tosin (played by A’rese Emokpae), they exchange a few words that have the lady emptying a glass of wine in Lisa’s face and dress. She orders Nadia to get her a change of clothes from the car and goes upstairs to a restroom to clean up. Power goes out shortly after, and when it is restored, there is a piercing scream from upstairs, and a woman who tumbles down the stairs to her death. This woman turns out to be Lisa Maye, and the party is brought to an abrupt end.
Inspector K (Koye ‘K10’ Kekere-Ekun) and his two police officers, Officer Gambe (Demilade Olubanwo) and Officer Nathaniel (Ani Iyoho) arrive at the scene and attempt to figure out who the prime suspects are, and who the perpetrator is. They go on to question the eight suspects from time to time till they arrive at the culprit. The series is particularly about his unconventional methods, and alongside a medical practitioner, they find the final piece of the puzzle.
Inspector K starts with a party that gets your attention with its familiar faces and music in the first two minutes, then gets you drowsy the rest of its duration as it takes an eternity to begin. It brightens up finally with the arrival of the inspector who has on a ridiculous bow tie. It is even more ridiculous the way he begins to inspect the area, but it is also hilarious, especially as he begins to sort the suspects into categories. The rest of the film follows that order. For places where the inspector (or his officers) isn’t shown, one is left nearly snoozing.
Lisa is unreasonably erratic, and I find it typical that this is another bossy celebrity blogger story, following in the steps of Ndani TV’s Rumour Has It. While Inspector K snatches a couple of giggles, especially with the effeminate man who plays Inspector K’s neighbour and the medical examiner, the story is holey and feels unnecessarily rushed, like the writers were in a hurry to display all their cards. The general whodunit plot is supposed to have us guessing, weighing facts and playing detectives ourselves. Instead, it gives us no real motive on each suspect other than Nadia being her PA and Tosin being aggrieved for her published story. Everyone else is there to fill up space. The bases for the dismissals are weak as well.
The final episode ‘I Never Experred It’ is a frantic bid to resolve the story. We find that the culprit is, in fact, a character we saw briefly in the first episode, one we do not understand, and for the most stupid of reasons. The interrogations leading up to the revelation are baseless, and when a man suddenly appears to Inspector K telling him to read between the lines, he is neither explained nor followed through. Neither is the sudden power outage. The suspects are calm through the entire run, as though being suspects in a murder case is something they experience every day.
A number of things work for Inspector K apart from its occasional humour. The way the recaps are creatively done, the cinematography, the aerial shots of beautiful Lagos, and the intro music that holds promises of a treat. Inspector K also features Maurice Sam, Makida Moka, Sonia Irabor, Odunlami Ayodeji, Joseph Momodu, Gbolahan Bollylomo Olatunde and producer, Patrick Oke whose character has a strange obsession for butts. It is written by Folasayo Oke Sobo and Sonia Irabor and directed by Abiola Sobo.